Northwest College

Disability Support Services

Academic Accommodations

We are here to help you succeed in your program of study. We can help you learn to feel more comfortable talking to your instructors and how to coordinate accommodations. We encourage you to come to us with questions or concerns at any time.


Alternative Media for Books

If you require books on DVD or in a downloadable format, we will help you obtain those. This type of accommodation requires time to secure the material so notify us immediately after you register for classes by contacting your disability coordinator. Provide the course and name of text as soon as possible before the start of the term.

Note Taker

If you qualify for note taker assistance, this will be listed on your Accommodation Plan and given to your instructor(s). During your initial meeting, let the instructor know you will need notes from a classmate. The instructor will make an announcement in class that a volunteer note taker is needed to share his or her notes. (Sometimes the instructor may need to make the announcement a few times before someone volunteers.) If you want to remain anonymous, the instructor or Disability Services staff can meet with the volunteer and retrieve the notes. The notes will be given to you at the next class period. If confidentiality is not an issue, you may get the notes directly from the note taker. Carbon paper can be provided to the note taker.


If you qualify for a reader, you will arrange those services through Disability Services. Most readers are utilized for quizzes and exams, although reading software is also utilized for tests in Word format. If you require a reader for all your tests, make arrangements at the beginning of the term by providing a list of scheduled tests for the term via the online test accommodation request form. Disability Services will notify you of the specifics once the test notification is received. The student must immediately communicate any changes to the test schedule, since readers and private rooms are arranged well in advance of the testing dates. You must request a reader at least four days in advance of a test. Read & Write Gold and other software are available for use as well. Students may also request testing accommodations and reader via a web request form.


If you have a visual or motor impairment that impedes writing skills, the services of a scribe can be arranged. Most students use a scribe in testing situations or certain classroom situations that require writing projects during class. It is a good idea to arrange for a scribe before the beginning of the term, especially if you need one in class.

Recorded Lectures

It is a matter of courtesy to get the instructor’s permission before recording a class lecture. When permission is granted, you may check out a  digital recorder or SmartPen from Disability Services. Recording devices are returned at the end of each term. Sit where the recorder has the best chance of catching the instructor’s voice clearly. If the recordings are fuzzy or have a lot of background noise, you may wish to purchase a small microphone to attach to the recorder to enhance sound quality. Digital recorders and pens are available first come, first served.

Assistive Hearing Device

The “Hearing Helper” personal FM system is designed to provide hearing assistance for anyone with mild or moderate hearing loss. The instructor wears the transmitter and clip- on microphone. The instructor’s voice is broadcast as an FM radio signal to the pocket receiver and earphone or headphone worn by the student. Since the instructor’s voice is transmitted directly to the earphones, background noises are reduced. A neckloop telecoil coupler allows the system to be used with telecoil (T-switch) equipped hearing aids.

Assistive Computer Software

Students with limited hand mobility may utilize voice recognition software. Once trained to your voice patterns, spoken words are transcribed onto your screen and into your document. You can also start programs, open menus, and click buttons via voice activation. Students with low vision also may benefit from the magnification and reading software at Disability services. A software program which meets many reading and writing needs can be downloaded to a personal devise. Documents can also be imported and read with this or other software. Hand held and page magnification devices are also available for use.

Assistive Devices and Accommodations

Assistive devices, such as book/paper holders, and forearm supports are available. Students with low or light sensitive vision can use anti-glare computer screen filters. If you require magnified notes or textbook pages you may contact Disability Services in advance to have copies made. Enlarged keyboard letters, numbers, and symbols are available to affix to your classroom computer keys. Students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia may consider using colored templates when reading, as some studies have shown it helps readers with dyslexia focus and make sense of printed text.

Equipment Modification

If you have a physical disability or use a wheelchair, you may require a special seating arrangement in the classroom. Most computer classrooms and the open facilitative lab are equipped with an adjustable computer table to accommodate a wheelchair. If you are scheduled in a classroom housing desk/chair combination seats, you may wish to request a separate desk that will accommodate a wheelchair or ergonomic chair.

Testing Accommodations

You may request extended testing time in a distraction-reduced environment if it is determined to be a reasonable accommodation. Consult the course syllabus for projected test and quiz dates to arrange your accommodations for the upcoming term in advance. A forty eight (48 hours) advance request (weekends are not considered business days) is required for testing at the Disability Services Center or if you require a reader or scribe to assist you during the test. The reader or scribe cannot clarify or answer test questions for you; his or her sole responsibility is to read the presented material and/or record your responses. When scheduling your test be sure to indicate you require a scribe or a reader.

We will consult with your instructor to receive the test, test instructions, approved materials, means of return the completed test, etc. Check in with Disability Services at the designated time of your test. Be sure to return the test to Disability Services to return to the instructor.

If you do not request testing services in advance, you will be asked to take your test with the class under regular conditions. If you are taking a test through Disability Services, you must be aware of the following policies and procedures:

Interpreters or Captioning

Students with a hearing impairment may request a sign language interpreter or captionist. The captionist – at the discretion of the disability coordinator -- may be in the classroom with the student or caption the lecture via remote services off campus. The student uses a laptop or other personal device to receive real-time captioning of the class. The student will be supplied with a hard copy of the lecture within the week.


Jennifer Cannizzaro
Disability Support & Student Success Program Specialist