Resources for Students with Disabilities

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a basic civil rights provision aimed at ending discrimination against citizens with disabilities. Specifically, Section 504 of the Act states, “No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States…shall solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Mount Wachusett Community College is committed to the following:

  • The college may not limit the number of students with disabilities.
  • Pre-admission inquiries as to whether an applicant has a disability are prohibited.
  • No student may be excluded from any course of study solely of the basis of a disability.
  • Modifications in degree or academic course requirements will be made to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate against qualified students with disabilities.
  • Prohibitive rules such as those barring tape recorders from the classroom must be waived for certain students with disabilities.
  • Auxiliary aids must be permitted in the classroom when they are required to ensure full participation of students with disabilities.
  • Alternate testing and evaluation methods measuring student achievement will be necessary for students with impaired sensory, manual or speaking skills, except where these skills are being measured.
  • Special equipment or devices used in the classroom, and in some cases, teaching techniques that rely upon sight, hearing, or mobility of students, may require adaptation by faculty for individual cases, including the switching of classrooms.
  • It is discriminatory to counsel students with disabilities toward more restrictive careers than able-bodied students, unless such counsel is based on strict licensing or certification requirements in a profession.

Criteria for identification

A person with a disability is defined in the federal regulations as any person who either (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially impairs one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment or; (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. This term “major life activity” includes such activities as walking, hearing, self-care, learning, working, and performing manual tasks. The impairment may be either permanent or temporary.

“By law, students who have disabilities are not required to identify themselves as having a disability. In order to receive academic adjustments, students with disabilities must submit appropriate documentation to substantiate their disability to the counselor for students with disabilities. See specific disability category for documentation guidelines on the left. The counselor will determine appropriate academic adjustments and make arrangements to provide auxiliary learning aid assistance and support services to students in accordance with their documented needs upon student request . Accommodations will never be set up “automatically.” Students must meet with the counselor to have a discussion about individualized accommodations. All provided accommodations will be defined via a meeting between the counselor and student. All services are provided at no expense to the student and are based upon the individual student’s need. The responsibility for determining a student’s eligibility for services rests with the counselor. Confidentiality of records is required by law and maintained in the office of the counselor for students with disabilities. Only upon the student’s written release can the counselor discuss a specific disability with the faculty member.”

Disabilities defined in section 504 include but are not limited to:

  • Blindness/Visual Impairment
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Deafness/Hearing Impairment
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Psychiatric Disability
  • Orthopedic Impairments (Paraplegic, Quadriplegic, Hemiplegic)
  • Specific Learning Disabilities (Perceptual Handicaps, Brain Injury, Dysfunction, Dyslexia, Minimal Brain Dysfunction, Developmental Aphasia)
  • Speech Impairment

College Services

There are various types of assistance available to support students with disabilities. Mount Wachusett Community College offers:

  • Adaptive Technology
  • Assistance in obtaining auxiliary aids
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Consultation with faculty addressing individual issues
  • Extended time exams/alternative testing
  • Notetakers/scribes
  • Personal/vocational counseling
  • Readers
  • Reserved Parking
  • Study skills
  • Taped lectures
  • Tutorial services

For more information, contact:

Mount Wachusett Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sexual preference, or disability to handle inquires regarding the nondiscrimination programs and policies as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehablitation Act of 1973. All inquires should be addressed to the college’s affirmative action officer.