By AMARIS ENCINAS and DRAEDON LEDBETTER
Access and Disability Resources is open to students with disabilities at Pima Community College at every campus.
ADR offers low, medium and higher forms of technologies. Screen reading and voice recognition software are examples of some forms of higher technology. Digital recorders or smart pens can be considered medium technology. Lower technology includes adjustable desks or ergonomic seating.
“ADR offers many access technologies for students depending on what a student might need to have equal access to college activities and programming as well as the provision of training for the use of these access technologies,” said Jonathan Howe, director of ADR.
Coaching and Pathways Program Support Services is an academic coaching program that works in conjunction with ADR and provides support and helps students become confident and independent learners by building skills that helps both in and outside of the college setting, according to the Pima CAPPSS website.
Some of these skills include organization; study/test taking; self-advocacy; communication; prioritizing; and finding/using PCC resources.
ADR covers a spectrum of disabilities such as arthritis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, speech and processing disorders as well as or psychiatric disabilities and autism or ADHD, according to the ADR website.
Section 504 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that receive federal financial assistance and set the stage for the enactment of ADA in 1990. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973 was the first disability civil rights law to be enacted in the United States.
In terms of education, a 504 plan is defined as blueprint or plan “that provides services and changes to the learning environment to meet the needs of the child as adequately as other students,” according to Understood.org. Each federal agency issues, administers and enforces its own set of Section 504 regulations tailored to its programs, although all such regulations share common requirements. Which means that Pima has its own set of regulations and standards for they operate and is unique to what is needed.
As far as a newly proposed agreement that pertains to Pima and ADR services, Pima has entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement as of Nov. 14, 2018, between ADR and the Department of Economic Security. The agreement’s goal was to “improve the access of PCC students registered with ADR to VR services offered by ADES that are not available through ADR, and to enhance the educational experience of PCC students receiving those VR services,” according to Governing Board documents.
Vocational Rehabilitation services is a state program which assists people with disabilities to obtain services that help them prepare to obtain and maintain employment, according to DDS.dc.gov.
Only students who are registered with ADR at Pima can benefit from these newfound services with ADES, and it provides easier access for facilitating referrals between the ADR office and ADES. The IGA will also optimize the provision and coordination of support services to ADR students already receiving VR through ADES by facilitating communication and programmatic information-sharing, according to the Governing Board documents.
However, PCC will provide occasional use of college office space and Wi-Fi connectivity to designated ADES staff conducting scheduled IGA-related activities at PCC campuses.
“The Intergovernmental Agreement is new, but it was created with the expectation that it would be a benefit for students in that it would make the services of rehabilitation services more accessible to students registered with ADR,” Howe said.
For its intents and purposes, the IGA agreement is supposed to benefit first the student body and be used to increase the opportunities and the probability that ADR students will hit the ground running when they leave Pima.
ADR’s additional services include note-taking services to students with disabilities. Any Pima student can apply to become a notetaker for ADR for any course if ADR determines if it is necessary. The student will receive payment at the end of the semester after the courses reaches completion. The cost starts at $30 per credit hour.
“As ADR director, I try to make sure that the talented, dedicated, well-trained staff have what they need to successfully collaborate with students, staff and faculty to create an equal learning environment for students with disabilities at the college,” Howe said.