Office Hours & Location

Kirkland Building
Room 156
Open during regular business hours throughout the school year

To provide evening services, our office hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Special Needs Disability Services
Watts, Regina Regina Watts
Special Needs Director
Kirkland Building, Room 156
O: (229) 430-2854
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Access is a College-wide responsibility. The Faculty plays a major role in the instructional needs of all students. Providing access to the courses at Albany Technical College requires the active participation of each instructor.

Working With Students to Address Their Accommodations Needs

When a student who has provided documentation of a disability submits a request for accommodation form, the instructor will be sent a letter listing the approved accommodations/services. If you have questions regarding accommodations it is useful to request a meeting with the student to discuss these and mutually work out the best way these can be provided in a timely and non-intrusive manner.

Once a student has self-identified through an accommodation letter and/or requested a meeting with you, discussion can begin with the student explaining their past experiences and the best ways they have found to deal with academic demands. Utilizing past information can facilitate developing a plan for your class that meets both of your needs.

Students Who Claim a Disability Without a Letter From the Special Needs Coordinator (SNC)

Faculty should not provide accommodations for students which are not accompanied by a letter from the SNC. Informal arrangements can lead to possible abuse, expectations of further accommodations and raise issues of fairness to other students in the class. In addition, students may not request accommodations in addition to those listed in the letter. If further accommodation is necessary, the student should contact the SNC for an appointment to discuss the situation.

Discussing Disability Issues with Students Who Have Not Disclosed a Disability

If you have cause for concern over student academic performance or classroom behavior, you can refer the student to the SNC which provides both disability and counseling services to students. The Special Needs office also can screen for possible disabilities and provide follow-up referral for evaluation if necessary. In addition you can contact the SNC by email or phone to discuss a student concern. (hyperlink to contact us)

Special Needs Coordinator Proctored Exams

When a student requests extra time and/or a quiet location for an exam it is generally best if arrangements can be made to administer the exam near the regular exam site or in the department office. This allows students to have access to the instructor if questions arise. In those instances in which this can not be accommodated, arrangements can be made for exams to be proctored by the SNC.

About Learning Disabilities

What Is A Learning Disability?

Learning disabilities are difficulties related to the reception, processing, or expression of information that is not the result of lack of intelligence, past experience, or sensory difficulty. A student with a learning disability has a specific and significant achievement deficiency in the presence of adequate overall intelligence. Learning disabilities affect the ability to either interpret what is seen or heard or to link information from different parts of the brain. These limitations are manifested as difficulties with spoken and/or written language, coordination, self-control, attention, or mathematical reasoning or calculation. Signs of learning disabilities

What Should the Instructor Know?

Accommodations for students with learning disabilities will vary according to the student and his/her disability. Some common accommodations made for individuals with learning disabilities are providing a note taker or allowing the student to tape-record lectures, alternate texts, and accommodations in testing, such as the use of a Franklin speller or calculator, extended time on tests, or allowing the test to be proctored outside of the classroom to avoid normal distractions. Disability Services will identify for you the accommodations a student in your class is requesting. You should encourage dialogue with the student to arrange accommodations. Disability Services will facilitate accommodations where possible. If a separate room is needed for testing, Disability Services can arrange the room and proctor. Taped versions of textbooks and materials are also coordinated through the DS office. If a student in your class has need of this service, we will request a list of texts used for the course. Your prompt attention to this will facilitate the process of obtaining and/or recording books. A minimum of three weeks lead time is necessary to provide timely recordings. Any questions or concerns that you have about the accommodations requested should be directed to the Director of Disability Services.

What Should the Student Know?

Documentation is required to verify that a student has a learning disability. This documentation should be brought to the initial appointment with the Director of Disability Services or mailed in advance. From this documentation, the Director and the student will develop a plan to aid the student's success at Albany Technical College. With the student's permission, the Director will notify instructors of the need for accommodations. The student is also encouraged to communicate his/her needs to the professor as well.
Guidelines for Documentation:

  • Disability Services aids students in obtaining alternative text. Providing taped texts can be a long process, so we encourage students to schedule classes as early as permitted and notify Disability Services of classes for which recorded texts/materials will be needed.
  • NCR paper can be requested for volunteer note takers in class. The student should work with the professor in obtaining a volunteer note taker.
  • Testing accommodations should be made with the instructor well in advance. If the instructor prefers an alternate test site, please contact SNC.
  • Tutoring services are provided on campus through the Special Population office- (229) 430-2753

About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobiological disorder characterized by chronic inattention, and/or hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It is associated with central nervous system dysfunction. Once considered to be a childhood disorder, it is now known that many symptoms continue into adulthood. Adults with ADHD are often restless, easily distracted, have difficulty sustaining attention and concentrating, are impulsive and impatient, have frequent mood swings and short tempers, are disorganized and fail to plan ahead. An abnormal sense of time passage may lead a student to delay work on a project, while organizational problems delay completion. A student with ADHD has difficulty in focusing attention, problems sustaining attention, or difficulty shifting attention from one task to another.

What Should the Instructor Know?

Students with ADHD may become impatient while waiting. Impulsivity may lead to nonproductive activity. In some cases, the "harder they try" to attend, the less productive they become. For some students, relaxation and moving slowly into the work allows them to be highly productive for a time. Awareness of time and personal organization are often disrupted. A student may hand in careless work. showing little attention to details, have difficulty with organizational skills, and may be forgetful and impulsive.

Verbal and visual instruction combined will aid the student with ADHD

  • Activities or group projects may prove more productive than lectures
  • Extended time on tests is often requested, or testing in an alternate, less-distracting location. In some cases, an oral examination will prove more successful than a written format
  • The instructor may notice performance variability from day to day.
  • What works for one student may not work for another. Inquire of the student about specific strategies that might be most helpful to them.

What Should the Student Know?

  • Students can benefit from learning to structure their environment. This may involve using an appointment book, personal computer, or tape recorder.
  • Making a daily list of tasks, posting and carrying schedules, learning time management skills, and setting up a personal reward system may improve productivity.
  • Medications alone are often sufficient to bring about substantial improvement in performance.
  • Coaching may help the student work through organizational difficulties.
  • Sitting near the front of the classroom can help the student avoid distractions. The study room should be a quiet workspace free of distractions.
  • NCR paper can be requested for volunteer notetakers in class. The student should work with the professor in obtaining a volunteer notetaker.
  • Testing accommodations should be made with the instructor well in advance. If the instructor prefers an alternate test site, please have them contact SNC if they cannot provide this adjustment in the department.
  • Tutoring services are provided on campus through the Special Populations Office-(229) 430-2753.

Hearing Impairments

What are the educational challenges for a student who is deaf or hard of hearing?

Because exposure to verbal communication is limited for students who are deaf/hard of hearing, even those with superior intelligence and abilities are at a great disadvantage in acquiring language skills. English, being a phonological language, is often a second language to sign language, a visual language, for students who are hearing impaired.

Through amplification, many students who are deaf/hard of hearing are able to hear at an acceptable level. Personal hearing aids and assistive listening devices, using a radio link between instructor and student, in many cases enable the student to participate in the classroom without the help of an interpreter or aide.

What Should the Instructor Know?

A student who is deaf/hard of hearing may use a combination of techniques to comprehend what is spoken in class. They may use sound amplification, lipreading, sign language interpreting and "real time" captioning.

  • Transcribing services using a transcriber who keys in what is spoken in class. The student is able to read it as it is typed.
  • If an interpreter or other aide is present, look at the student when speaking rather than the aide.
  • If a student is lip reading, be sure that the student is able to clearly see from his/her seat.
  • Providing the student with a copy of lecture notes may help the student to better follow the lecture. A volunteer note taker in class may also be helpful.
  • If an assistive listening device is utilized, the instructor will wear a small wireless microphone on the lapel. The student will demonstrate its use to the instructor.
  • Discuss the preferred method of accommodation with the student. The student will be able to suggest the best methods for individual learning success.

What Should the Student Know?

  • An initial planning session with the Director of Disability Services will assist in planning proper accommodations for a student who is deaf/hard of hearing. After review of proper documentation of the disability, the student and the director can develop a strategy, using the student's preferences in accommodations, to ensure the success of the student.
  • Assistive listening devices are installed in all campus meeting rooms or classrooms which seat 50 or more.
  • Interpreter services can be arranged through Disability Services.
  • A text telephone (TTY) is available by contacting Disability Services.
  • Writing Workshop may be able to offer assistance to students in need of improving their written language skills.
  • Volunteer note takers can free the student to more closely follow visually without the distraction of taking notes.
  • Visual fire alarms will be installed in the dormitory room of a student who is deaf/hard of hearing to aid in evacuation in case of an emergency.

About Vision Impairment

What are the types of visual impairments?

The most obvious impairment would be blindness, but partial vision impairment is far more common. Examples include extreme myopia, lack of peripheral vision, lack of central vision, sensitivity to light, impaired movement of the eye, and problems with focus.

What Should the Instructor Know?

Most college students will have already learned to cope with the disability and will have made adjustments in note taking and study habits.

  • It is helpful to verbalize as much as possible when using the chalkboard or overhead.
  • It may be helpful to the student to tape record lectures.
  • Announce reading assignments well in advance to facilitate obtaining taped materials or making alternative arrangements.
  • If a student in your class has need of alternate texts, Disability Services will provide the materials the student needs. Initiate discussion with the student to discover how best to facilitate success in your course.

What Should the Student Know?

  • Disability Services will aid in obtaining any recorded texts or materials. Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic is our first source for obtaining taped texts, but if the text is unavailable, we will provide alternate text. Since this can be a long process, we encourage you to schedule classes as early as permitted and see that Disability Services is aware of your schedule and classes for which you will need texts recorded.
  • Albany Technical College’s library has a closed-circuit television (CCTV) available and magnification software for two computers.
  • Reprographic Services can enlarge the print on printed materials. This expense will be covered by Disability Services. Enlarged print can also be obtained through use of E-text and screen enlarger software.
  • Disability Services will provide you with a letter to make your professors aware of any accommodations you request. You should speak with your instructors directly to ensure mutual understanding in accommodations.

About Health/Mobility Impairments

What Accommodations are Needed for a Student with a Chronic Health Impairment?

A chronic health problem may require accommodations in classes or campus life. A health problem may cause a student to occasionally be absent from class.

Attendance issues are perhaps the most troubling problem for both students and faculty. Instructors have the right to determine how flexible they may be on attendance. Occasional absences might be accommodated, but a student whose health condition leads to “excessive” absences (determined by the instructor) may be penalized for their absences. Only the instructor can determine when the number of absences has sufficiently reduced the student’s mastery of content that accommodation can no longer be made. There should be no expectation that having a disability somehow eliminates those penalties. The Office of Disability Services will never ask an instructor to lower course standards because of a student’s disability.

Chronic health problems may require a student to take a lighter course load, schedule periods of rest or arrange to make up classes during brief periods of illness. Students must communicate regularly with their instructors to be sure their work is completed within any agreed upon scheduled time.

If a student will need to be absent from campus for an extended time for treatment or recovery, ODS will coordinate mailings of assignments to help the student stay more current with classes. The student may need to request an Incomplete for the course and finish the work at a later time. Courses, where attendance and participation are essential, may require a student to drop the class if absences are deemed excessive by the professor.

What Accommodations May Be Needed For Students With Mobility Impairments?

Mobility impairments vary greatly among students. Some may have reduced stamina or strength. Others may require use of crutches, a wheelchair, braces, or a motorized vehicle to move around campus. Travel between buildings or within buildings is sometimes restricted, although the College continues to work toward full physical accessibility.

Classroom accommodations might include helping the student obtain a volunteer note-taker. If requested by the student, instructors should ask for volunteers without revealing the student who has made the request, take names and phone numbers, then discretely give that information to the student in need after class. The student with the disability will make contact with the volunteer(s) outside of class. Information packets are available to the student to share with their instructor and volunteers.

Other accommodations might include facilitating making a desk or table wheelchair-accessible, providing copies of instructor notes or lecture outlines, providing for alternative tests or in-class written essays, and pairing the student with an able-bodied student when manipulatives are used in instruction. This applies to lab courses as well.

What Should the Instructor Know?

If a student will need to be absent from campus for an extended time for treatment or recovery, DS will coordinate mailings of assignments to help the student stay more current with classes. The student may need to request an incomplete for the course and finish the work at a later time. Courses where attendance and participation are essential may require a student to drop if absences are deemed excessive by the professor.

A student who is mobility impaired will need to have access to the classroom. A new classroom may need to be assigned if a student is enrolled in a class that meets in an inaccessible area. Modifications may need to be made in expectations for students in physical education classes.

What Should the Student Know?

  • Access - Albany Technical College is working to improve campus accessibility. Most buildings have accessible restrooms, water fountains, ramps, and/or elevators. Proper signage is an area that is being studied at this time.
  • Library – Albany Technical College provides wheelchair-accessible computer stations. The library staff will assist in retrieving materials from hard-to-reach shelves and displays.
  • Documentation - As with all disabilities covered under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), proper documentation verifying the presence of the condition is necessary before accommodations are approved by Disability Services.

About Speech/Language Disorders

What is a Speech/Language Disorder?

There is a difference between speech disorders and language disorders. Symptoms of speech disorders are difficulty in articulation, voice disorders (such as dysphonia),or fluency disorders (such as stuttering). Aphasia is an acquired speech disorder caused by brain damage which affects a person's ability to communicate. Language disorders are recognized as problems in understanding or using the symbols and rules people use to communicate with each other. Developmental expressive language disorder and developmental receptive language disorder are examples of language disorders. A student with a language disorder may not be able to think of the name of an object or call it by the correct name, may have difficulty following directions, may seem inattentive, or may struggle to compose complete, grammatical sentences.

What Should the Instructor Know?

Computerized speech devices enable students who would otherwise not be able to communicate vocally to express themselves. An instructor of a student using such a device should assume the student has normal language skills in communicating with the student and display patience in waiting for the student to key in a response.

Course requirements need not be altered for a student who stutters, but adjustments in class expectations may be necessary. Some students have had success in demonstrating understanding of course knowledge via E-mail. An office or phone conversation with the instructor may also be a helpful adjustment without compromising course standards.

Use of a Franklin Speller when taking exams may help a student who has a language disorder.

What Should the Student Know?

Alternate text will be helpful to some students with language disorders. Disability Services will assist the student in obtaining texts and course materials. The student should register for classes as early as possible and notify Disability Services of courses for which they will need alternate texts/materials.

It may also be helpful for students with language disorders to tape lectures for later review or to use the services of a volunteer note taker. Recorders with variable playback speed are recommended.

Library assistance is available. Any of the librarians can assist you.

The student should discuss the disability with instructors of courses to aid in proper accommodation to ensure success in the course.

About Psychological Disabilities

“Psychiatric disabilities” is a term used to refer to a variety of conditions involving psychological, emotional, and behavioral disorders and syndromes. The terms psychological disabilities/disorders, psychiatric disabilities/disorders, and mental illness are used somewhat interchangeably. While Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are considered psychological or psychiatric disorders as well, due to the prevalence of ADD/ADHD, information is provided separately at this link.(hyperlink to Attention Deficits)

Most psychiatric disabilities fall under one of the following three categories: anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and schizophrenia. The most common of these, anxiety disorder, is characterized by fear or anxiety associated with particular objects and situations. Panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are forms of anxiety disorders. Depressive disorders are characterized by mood changes, usually involving either depression or mania (elation). With appropriate treatment, most people with depressive disorders improve substantially. Depression, bipolar, dysthymia and seasonal affective disorders are forms of depressive disorders. Schizophrenia is characterized by difficulty processing information. Symptoms include social isolation, loss of motivation, hallucinations, and delusions.

The unpredictable nature of psychiatric disabilities can make consistent school patterns difficult to maintain. Psychiatric disabilities may interfere with thinking skills, judgment, short-term memory, processing of information, concentration, reading, writing, organization and study skills, motivation, and social skills.
To be eligible for accommodations, the documentation must support the ADA definition of a disability. A psychiatric or psychological disability is a diagnosed mental illness or disorder that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A mental disorder is not necessarily a disability. Many psychological disorders can be controlled with medication and/or psychotherapy so that they do not “substantially limit” a student’s success in the academic environment.

Appropriate accommodations are determined based upon the recommendations in the documentation of the disability provided to Disability Services. These may include priority registration, reduced course load, extended time for exams, proctored testing, note taking assistance, alternate text, and special housing.

About Traumatic Brain Injury

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury most often occurs from a head injury. Insufficient oxygen, poisoning or infection can also cause Traumatic Brain Injury. Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury include: seizures, loss of balance or coordination, difficulty with speech, limited concentration, memory loss, and loss of organizational and reasoning skills. Symptoms may lessen with time or recur episodically.

What Should the Instructor Know?

Obviously, the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury can make learning a difficult process. The symptoms can be similar to those demonstrated by students with learning disabilities. Instructors can help the student better organize work by using more than one means to present instructions in class. Other accommodations that students with traumatic brain injury may request include:

Exam modifications - It may help the student to have untimed exams or perhaps to take the test in a separate room, free from distractions.

Time extensions - A student with Traumatic Brain Injury may benefit from having additional time to complete assignments.

Taped lectures or Note takers - The use of a recorder or a note taker may help the student who is unable to concentrate and/or organize thoughts well enough to take complete notes.

Alternative assignments - In some cases, it may be beneficial to modify the assignment to meet the limitations of the disability.

What Should the Student Know?

Disability Services can help identify and obtain the accommodations necessary for success in college.

Training in study skills is available by appointment. Students with Traumatic Brain Injury may want to begin the college experience in the College Life program which will teach the skills necessary to succeed in college. Additional organizational/study skills counseling is available by appointment with the Director of Disability Services.

Alternate text may be a beneficial option to the student with traumatic brain injury that finds reading especially difficult.

Note taking paper is available in the Office of Disability Services. A class volunteer can take notes in class on NCR paper. The volunteer will keep a copy and give a copy to the student with the disability, or notebook notes can be copied for the student needing assistance.