Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of a disability?

Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, a person with a disability is an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, such as caring for oneself, walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, and working, moving, bending, standing, communicating, sleeping, breathing, eating and concentrating.

Individuals are considered to be persons with a disability if they:

  • Have a verifiable disability,
  • Have a history of a disability, and/or
  • Are perceived by others as having a disability.

Disabilities can be :

  • Visible disabilities -- These include physical and sensory disabilities such as visual, hearing, or mobility impairments.
  • Hidden disabilities -- Non-visible disabilities include chronic health impairments, such as asthma, autism, heart disease, and seizure disorders. They also include disabilities affecting cognition such as learning disabilities, acquired brain impairments, mental health disabilities, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

How do I know I if am eligible for DSPS services?

You first need to be a De Anza College student.  Next you need to apply for disability support services (see #4 below). Basically, to be eligible to receive academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services, a De Anza College student must have a verified disability that:

  • Limits a major life activity and
  • Hinders the student's ability to equally participate in instruction or programs.

Students are required to provide documentation verifying their disability with the Disability Support Services (DSS) office.

How do I learn more about DSPS services?

For general information on services, programs and eligibility, attend and Informational Meeting held monthly.

How do I apply for DSPS services?

For step by step instructions go to How to Apply for DSPS Services.

How do I find out if I have a disability?

Attend one of the informational meetings about programs and services for students with disabilities at De Anza . If, after attending the meeting, you would like to enroll in the learning disability assessment class, you will be contacted as soon as an appointment is available. If you would like to have a private assessment, we can refer you to other outside resources.

Must I be a student at De Anza to get a learning disability assessment at the college?

Yes, an assessment is only available to registered De Anza College students.

I am graduating from high school. How can I get services at De Anza?

Attend one of the special Informational Meetings planned for high school transition students and their families. DSS and Learning Disabilities Support have special tips and strategies to help you prepare for your first quarter at De Anza College.

How do I get accommodations to take placement tests at De Anza?

Many times students can take the placement tests without special arrangements since some are administered on a computer and are not timed.  For more information and for assistance with arranging accommodations if they are necessary,  refer to Placement Testing for DSS Students.

I had resource services in high school. How do I get them at De Anza?

Bring a copy of your most recent IEP, 504 plan and/or most recent assessment reports and we will schedule an appointment for you to meet with a DSS Counselor or LD Specialist. Also plan to attend one of the scheduled Informational Meetings for an overview of the programs and services available to you.

What if I encounter an architechural barrier on campus?

Advise Disability Support Services and file a Barrier Report Form with them.

Are test accommodations available?

Absolutely!  A wide variety of test accommodations are available for students whose disabilities require a modification in testing conditions to demonstrate course content mastery.  Frequently used accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Additional time,
  • Reduced distraction environment, and
  • Use of assistive technology 

Test accommodations are recommended and approved by your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist and are based on your disability-related educational limitations and the nature of the test.  For more information, steps , and guidelines, see Test Accommodations on the DSS website and the Disability Information Student Handbook (DISH), Section 2, Test Accommodations and for Classroom Tests.

How are test accommodations decided?

You and your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist will discuss your disability-related educational limitations and decide what academic adjustments, auxliliary aids and services (accommodations) are most appropriate and reasonable. Course requirements and assignments in different classes may require different accommodations.

What is the best way to discuss classroom accommodations with my instructor?

Approach your instructor privately during the office hour or at an agreed upon time. Let your instructor know that you have a disability which requires accommodation. You do not need to share your diagnosis.  However, you do need to indicate that you have verified your disability with one of the programs in the Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) Division, and that the accommodations determined by you and DSS are appropriate. If you are unsure of how to adjust for a particular course requirement, you may share this with the instructor and offer suggestions that may have worked in the past for similar situations. Work with the instructor to find an alternative. If you need assistance with this, see your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist.

What if the instructor seems unwilling or unsure of the appropriate accommodations?

Bring this to the attention of your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist. They may assist you in how to present the situation, may help you develop alternatives, or may advocate for you, if appropriate.

Is there a student club?

The Disabled Students Unlimited (DSU) student club promotes disability awareness and activities for students with disabilities. They help fund special activities for its members, such as camping trips, kayaking events, and trips to scenic locations in California. All De Anza community members can join the DSU.

What extracurricular activities are students with disabilities involved in?

Students with disabilities at De Anza are involved in a broad range of campus life activities, including the newspaper, literary magazine, clubs, and student government. Students with disabilities have even served as the Student Trustee on the District's Board of Trustees.

The DSPS programs each offer a variety of extra-curricular activities for their own enrolled students. 

The Adapted Physical Education (APE) program hosts a Holiday Party annually, and such events as end of quarter barb-e-cues or ice cream socials.  The APE Outdoor Education class takes field trips to a variety of local parks and places of interest.  Disability Support Services often hosts  Open House drop-in events at holidays like Halloween and Valentine's Day.

The programs participate in outreach extracurricular events to the campus, such as in-service and awareness activities.  "Deaf Town" offered through the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) in 2007 was such a campus-wide event. 

In spring quarter, DSPS sponsors a Student Celebration reception honoring students who are finishing degrees or certificate programs or who are transferring to a four-year university.

Pictures of many of these events may be seen in the individual program's web-site Picture Galleries.

Does De Anza have a program for students with Intellectual Disabilities?

Yes, the off-campus De Anza HOPE program serves students with Intellectual Disabilities. For general program information, please visit the De Anza HOPE web site or contact:

Monice Sheirich (408) 282-0427

Where do I find the Disability Informaton Student Handbook (DISH)?

Look no further.  The Disability Information Student Handbook (DISH) is just a click away:

Disability Information Student Handbook (DISH)

Apply for DSSRequest Info

Visit us at DSS

registration and Student Services, home of Disability Support Services

Location: Registration and Student Services Building, RSS Room 141 (Map)

(408) 430-7681

(408) 864-5492


Office Hours:

  • Monday 8 am - 5 pm
  • Tuesday 8 am - 5 pm
  • Wednesday 8 am - 5 pm
  • Thursday 8 am - 5 pm
  • Friday 8 am - 3 pm
  • Closed weekends and School Holidays

Larger view of map

virtual map of De Anza College with Registration and Student Services Building highlighted

Disability Support Services

  • Building: RSS - 141
  • Contact: Patricia Whelan
  • Phone: (408) 430-7681

De Anza College Disability Support Services Instagram click here

De Anza DSS Facebook button click or select here

De Anza DSS YouTube button click here

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