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Disability & Academic Accessibility Information

As part of Gordon's commitment to the holistic education and personal development of each student, the College provides a variety of support services to students with documented disabilities. It is the College's policy that no qualified person be excluded from participating in any College program or activity or otherwise be subjected to discrimination with regard to any College program or activity.

To that end, the Academic Success Center exists to provide services to students, working in conjunction with departments, offices, and faculty, assuring efficient and equitable delivery to all qualified students. The ASC provides updates on available support, heightens appreciation for various learning styles, and alerts instructors about specific student needs.

Assurance of equal educational opportunity rests upon legal foundations established by the federal law. In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 including Section 504 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its amendments, the College is committed to providing students with disabilities equivalent access to a Gordon education. By federal law, a person with a disability is any person who: 1) has a physical or mental impairment, 2) has a record of such an impairment, or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If you have any questions regarding physical accessibility, please contact the physical access coordinator, Terry Charek, in Student Life at 978.867.4072.

Every student with a documented disability has the right to:

  • equivalent access to courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, and college facilities available
  • reasonable and appropriate accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids determined on a case-by-case basis
  • appropriate confidentiality of all information pertaining to his/her disability with the choice of whom to disclose his/her disability to except required by law

Every student with a documented disability has the responsibility to:

  • identify him or herself as an individual with a disability when seeking accommodation
  • provide documentation from an appropriate professional that verifies the nature of the disability, functional limitations, and the need for specific accommodations
  • follow procedures for obtaining accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids

The Academic Success Center is the designated spot on campus for students who are requesting academic accommodations because of a documented disability. Students who intend to request accommodations must submit written, current documentation from a specialist. Ideally, the student should send his or her documentation to the Academic Success Center before arriving in their first semester. For information on what constitutes appropriate documentation, please refer to the links on this page. 

The ASC will review submitted documentation and meet with the student to discuss appropriate accommodations. Please note: An IEP or 504 plan alone is insufficient for documentation, but is helpful as part of the documentation submitted. 

Accommodations may include recorded books, alternative format text, extended time for exams, a quiet testing area, taping of lectures, copies of notes, access to assistive technology, and special advising.

Assistive technologies available include licenses for Bookshare.org and Read&Write and LiveScribe smartpens which can be borrowed for short term use.

Obtaining Alternate Format Texts

Students with disabilities who are registered with the ASC and have documentation that substantiates the need for alternate texts and/or other print materials must follow the procedure below. The student must:

1. Register with the ASC
The student is required to be registered with the Academic Success Center. This means that the student has submitted recent documentation (see documentation guidelines to the right) and has met with a staff member of the ASC to determine what accommodations are appropriate. At this meeting, the ASC staff will also orient the student to the accessibility resources Gordon has and determine what, if any, instruction the student may need to use them.

2. Obtain textbook information
The student is responsible for finding the necessary textbook information for his/her classes each semester. As soon as the student registers for classes (in April for fall classes or November for spring classes), the student should obtain this information from the professor, the College bookstore, or the division administrative assistants.

3. Contact the ASC
Submit this Alternative Text Form to share textbook information with the ASC. Please note that it may take 1–2 weeks to obtain these materials. In the case of Braille, it can take longer. Please contact the ASC as soon as possible. Late requests and/or incomplete information may result in a delay in the procurement of materials.

4. Purchase texts and present receipts
Prior to receiving alternate format materials, the student must purchase his/her books and show proof of purchase (e.g. receipt) to the Academic Success CenterThis is required by the publishers. The one exception is Bookshare.org - students with an account can search for books and obtain them for free.  ASC provides accounts to students who qualify.

5. Learn how to access alternate textbook formats
You may meet with an ASC staff member to learn how to access materials from Bookshare, and other sources if you don't already know how to do so. Alternate textbook formats may include audio recording, Braille, e-text, and text enlargement. Learning how to access materials on your own will make the process easier and often faster for you in obtaining the textbook formats you need each semester. You may sign up for a $99 individual membership with Learning Ally.

If you are requesting an electronic text (e-text), the ASC will work with you to contact the publisher to determine availability. In the event that the material is not available, permission will be obtained from the publisher to scan and edit the material. Please note that in order to scan the material, the binding will be cut and the book returned to you in a plastic spiral binding. Once the book is scanned, you can access it through your computer and have it read via the software program, Read&Write or by any other text to speech option.

6. Once alternate textbooks are acquired by the ASC, students will be notified via email and may need to come to the ASC to retrieve the book. Students are reminded that alternate texts provided are to be treated the same as any other copyrighted material.

If you have any questions about obtaining alternate format texts, please contact the Academic Success Center at 978.867.4743 or [email protected].

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