DSPS Faculty Resources - F.A.Q.


You can begin by asking the student what their experience with DSPS accommodations has been, and what they believe their current needs are. If they're not sure, you can refer them to the DSPS.  Here are general guidelines on working with SWD (students with disabilities):

  • Maintain role as an educator – not medical provider.
  • Be mindful not to “diagnose” students.
  • Respond appropriately to disclosure.
  • Respect students’ privacy
  • Discuss accommodations with the student in a private setting
  • Do not reveal to the class the student’s name or accommodation(s)
  • When sending emails to a group of SWD, blind copy (Bcc) all students
  • Include a well-written accessibility statement on syllabus 
  • Always provide approved accommodations.
  • Do not provide supplemental or “on the fly” accommodations.
  • Do not refer to accommodations as “special accommodations” 
  • Ensure testing accommodations are in place on time (extended test time, minimal distraction testing, rest breaks, etc.)
  • Be mindful to format documents and videos into accessible formats
  • Communicate with TA’s or coordinators to ensure accommodations are properly implemented.
  • Educate and instruct TA’s and coordinators on appropriate confidentiality.

Five Steps to Become A DSPS Student

Note: All services are provided on a request-based basis. This is one of the biggest differences between IDEA/504 (covering K-12 education) and ADA (for college and beyond).
For more information, please see the Differences in Disability Accommodations for K-12 Services versus College Services

  1. See a counselor
    To receive services, a student must meet with a DSPS counselor and provide verification of disability. This can take many forms, but is often done via an IEP or 504 plan. Diagnostic tests through English 116 are also acceptable, as is medical documentations from the relevant medical professional. If none of these verifications are available, still make an appointment with a DSPS counselor, and they will work with you to see if verification can be done through some other means.

  2. Request services
    Once the counselor and student have meet and determined what accommodations would be appropriate, given the individual student need, it is now up to the student to follow through with the necessary steps to receive those accommodations. In many cases this is extra time on tests, shared notes, or textbooks converted into accessible media. The various services each have their own needs, such as for alternative testing, an alternative test request form being submitted in a timely manner. Best practice is two weeks, but the minimum time to process the request is one week. Adjunct instructors are sometimes only on campus once a week, and so time to get the request to them once it is entered into the DSPS testing calendar is required.

  3. Follow through

    The best support staff can't help the student succeed if they don't do their part. Following through on test requests, alternate media requests, counseling appointments, and other aspects of DSPS services is vital for the student to benefit from the support structures in place here at Chabot. As an instructor who sees the student on a regular basis, the part you play can be simply following through with them that they have seen a DSPS counselor and requested their appropriate services.


Process of alternative testing (During COVID, remote instruction)

Alternative testing falls under Step 2 from the Process of Receiving Services.

Testing Accommodations

Students should share their Accommodations form with you and go over what accommodations they may need for your class. Double check the Testing Accommodations section to confirm available accommodations.

If a student wishes to use accommodations on an exam, they should check in with you two weeks before the exam to go over the test parameters and to determine the best way to apply their accommodations. Afterwards they should complete an Alternative Testing Request form and submit it to the DSRC by email (rramento@chabotcollege.edu). The testing coordinator will verify the form, and forward to you.

The most common testing accommodation you will see is Extended Time on tests. On the student’s accommodation form you will see a section for Objective Testing Time and Subjective Testing Time. Please determine the type of test that is being administered, and adjust the time for that student accordingly. An objective test is one that is completely multiple choice or true/false. A subjective test is a test that contains any short answer, fill in the blank, or essay questions.

You can adjust the time for an individual student by using the following guide: How to add extra time to a Canvas test.

Summary of testing accommodations

  1. The student will share their accommodations form with you and discuss how to best implement them.
  2. Two weeks before an exam the student should check with you about the exam and submit an Alternative Testing Request to the DSRC.
  3. Shortly afterwards you will receive the Alternative Testing request from the testing coordinator.
  4. Adjust the testing parameters as per the student’s request, request a remote or in person proctor as needed.


A remote proctor is available for tests where a student is requesting accommodations. The process for a remote proctor is the same as other testing accommodations. After receiving an Alternative Testing Request form from the DSRC, please email the testing coordinator to request a remote proctor, and to provide details for the test and proctoring environment such as the length of the exam with accommodations, a visual scan of the room with the webcam, etc.

Remote proctoring is available during normal DSRC operating hours.

Monday – Thursday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.
Friday, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Please consider any additional time when scheduling the exam to ensure the entire test stays in these bounds. Please work with the student to find an acceptable time for both parties within these hours.


In person test proctoring is available for classes with mandatory on-campus meetings. After receiving an Alternative Testing Request for from the DSRC, please email the testing coordinator to schedule a time or time range that is acceptable for the exam, and to specify that it will require in-person test proctoring.

On Campus testing is only available during the following hours due to COVID 19 restrictions.

               Monday – Thursday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

               Friday, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Testing Coordinator Contact information

Name: Renato Ramento

Email: rramento@chabotcollege.edu


Process of alternative testing (During regular, in-person instruction)

    1. After seeing a DSPS counselor and determining eligibility, a student submits an alternative testing request to the DSPS.
      To receive alternative testing, a student must submit an alternative test request form, in a timely manner. This request form has two sides, and is printed on a goldenrod sheet of paper. Side A is filled out by the student (personal information, class and testing information, and accommodations requested). It is then submitted to our office, where it is reviewed and added to the testing schedule, and then sent forward to the instructor. The default delivery location is in faculty mailboxes in building 200, but can also be directly to the faculty's office, or division mailbox. If faculty have a preference, that can be indicated to us for future deliveries.

    2. Instructor indicates parameters of test
      Once receiving the request form with the student's request information, the instructor fills out Side B with the information specific to the test. This includes whether the test is open or closed book, whether notes are allowed (and what kind, such as size of note paper, single or double sided, etc.), whether a calculator is permitted, and other instructions. It is very important to realize that we will work directly from what is written here. If it is not written down on the request form, or noted in an email to our testing staff, we do not allow it. This can lead to frustration on the part of the student if the instructor told the class a particular aid would be allowed, but forgot to write it on the testing form for the DSPS student. All instructions need documented.

    3. The test is administered in a distraction-reduced environment in a DSPS space
      After filling out Side B of the request form, the instructor will return the request form, with the test, to our office. Most instructors will walk the form and test to our offices (Building 2400), but some instructors prefer to email their test to us, which is perfectly acceptable, as long as two rules are followed: A) Include the same information in the email about the test as requested on Side B of the form, and B) if you are a Mac user make sure to save and send the test to us as a .doc or .pdf file, NOT a .pages file. We do not have an Apple computer to open .pages files in our center. Once we have received the test, the student will then come in at the designated time, and take the test in a distraction-reduced environment (usually our testing lab, but occasionally in one of our overflow locations, when necessary). Testing in our center is remote video and audio monitored, or with an in-person proctor (such as during finals or when using alternative locations). If we have multiple student taking the same exam, they will be split up as best as possible, occasionally in different rooms.

      1. Once completed, the test is returned to the instructor
        Once the student finishes the test, it will be returned to the instructor for grading. This can happen in multiple ways. Many instructors simply walk to our office and pick up the test, some prefer to have it returned via the same method it was delivered, and a few like to have the test scanned and emailed to them as a PDF. This is especially popular for finals when many instructors leave directly after their class ends. As long as you indicated on the bottom of Side B of the request your preferred return method, we will try to ensure it is done in your requested manner.

Chabot doesn’t have dedicated note takers, instead we utilize volunteers from the class. There are two common routes when seeking a note taker: the direct route where the student contacts a classmate asking them to act as a note taker, or the anonymous route where they ask you to make a generic announcement to the class. Generally if a student is approaching you for a note taker, it is because they aren’t sure what the process is, or they are hesitant to talk to another student directly. Student serving as a note taker can be paid a one time stipend for the semester. The amount depends on the number of units of the class.

If you have multiple DSPS students in one class, a single student can act as a note taker for all of them, but they’ll be paid the same amount as if they shared their notes with only one student.

Direct Route:

In this method the DSPS student would approach one of their classmates and ask that they share their notes. If a student wants to use this method, you may be able to help them by identifying a prospective note taker. Generally a good note taker would be someone who is attentive, participates in class, is well organized, and most importantly, attends class. It may also help to organize a meeting between the two students if the DSPS student is anxious about reaching out.

Anonymous Route:

In this method you would make a generic announcement to the class requesting a note taker without mentioning the student. It can be something as simple as:

“I’m looking for a note taker for this class. As a note taker, all you would have to do is submit your notes to the Accessibility Center for Education (ACE, building 2400) once a week. If you’re interested please contact me after class.”

You can also incentivize them by telling them they can be paid for their service. The ACE can make copies of the notes at no cost to the note taker.

Once a student has stepped forward, please direct them to Renato Ramento by email (rramento@chabotcollege.edu) at the ACE to fill out the paperwork for payment, and to work through the process of submitting notes.


  • Interpreting or Captioning Services will be provided for students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with documented profound hearing, and/or speech impairments, but only for required course activities through DSPS. Access needs for student clubs or events must be handled by the organizing entity.
  • Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, and who require captioning or sign language interpreting to participate in class, must meet with a DSPS counselor and related staff to arrange for these services. No services will be provided without request, and all requests must be made in a timely manner.
  • All interpreting or real-time captioning requests should be done during priority registration, or at least four weeks before the beginning of the semester. It may take several weeks to arrange captioning or ASL interpreting services, and any delay in making the request may delay the start of services.


  1. Discuss your need for ASL interpreting or captioning accommodations with your DSPS counselor. If you will need ASL services for the counseling appointment, please notify the DSPS when making your appointment.
  2. Fill out a "Request for Captioning/ASL Interpreting" form for each class and return it to the DSPS. At the same time, make an appointment with Shawna Crawford in the DSPS to go over the Interpreting/Real-time Captioning Process and Procedures Agreement.
  3. Notify Shawna or the DSPS office immediately of any changes you make to your schedule, including adding or dropping any classes, or skipping classes due to vacation or sickness.
  4. Meet with Shawna each semester when you register for new classes to review your interpreting or real-time captioning needs for that semester. Not all student request services for all classes, it completely depends on the individual student and what their specific needs are.

Process for alternative media accommodations

1. Requesting: After seeing a DSPS counselor and determining eligibility, a student submits a request for alternate media to Thomas Dowrie in the DSPS
To receive e-text, a student must submit an Alternate Format Book Request form. This form is available on our DSPS PDF forms page. The request must be submitted in full, and should be accompanied with any kind of documented receipt of the books themselves for proof of acquisition. If Braille is required, or if we have to convert a textbook for you that we determine isn't available through our normal database services, then we request that you provide a syllabus or class reading schedule so that if we produce your textbook in parts, we can do so in a timely manner. Other requests for alt media, including Braille, tactile imagery, enlarged print, file conversion, or audio, are also made through Thomas Dowrie in the DSPS. You may contact Thomas via email at tdowrie@chabotcollege.edu or contact him through our DSPS Virtual Chat page. The form may either be emailed or dropped off in person.

2. Processing: For e-text, if available, a digital version of your book will be requested from one of several online databases to create the format best suited to your need
Other requests (i.e. Braille, tactile images) are processed by Thomas on campus.
Over 90% of books requested are normally available, however, if your book is not available, you may need to arrange to send it to Thomas so it can be processed into a digital version. After processing is finished, you can have the book back. All requests should be processed within two weeks, although many are completed much sooner. Students are encouraged to make their requests as soon as possible rather than waiting until well into the semester, etc. Thomas will contact you by email or phone to inform you that your files are ready. At this time, files may be downloaded via DropBox.com. We encourage you to create a basic, free Dropbox account at Dropbox.com to prepare to download your files. 

NOTE: we do not provide "audio books," or books pre-recorded by a human voice. E-text files can be loaded into free reader applications (Windows and Mac OS) that produce live, computer spoken audio. MP3 or WAV files can be created from books we source, however the voices that are reading the text are still synthesized, or computerized. Students will need to work with Thomas to identify exactly what type of voice they will want to use before an entire book is created from audio. This process also adds time it takes to complete the request.

3. Download: The last step will be for you to download the files
A digital book is to provide access to a book you have purchased, rented or borrowed. Do not think of it as a free book. You will need to create a free, basic Dropbox account if you have not done so already in order to download the files. You may create a Dropbox account at Dropbox.com. Other materials - such as braille or tactile images - may either be picked up from a pre-determined location on campus, or will be mailed to you (this will be worked out by the student and Thomas).

Book Loan Program
If you are unable to find your textbook through the normal sources (Chabot bookstore, Amazon, etc.) and/or are unable to pay for your books, the DSPS offers a modest Book Loan Program in our library of approximately 500 titles. Books range from novels - such as "The Namesake" (Lahiri) - to textbooks, such as Pre Algebra (Lial, Hestwood), or "The Principles of Microeconomics" (Mankiw). Students may request books from Thomas Dowrie. Students MUST have a 2.0 GPA or better for all cumulative Chabot course work, and be in good academic standings. Students must return books by the end of the semester they were loaned. The DSPS will not purchase new books for students, sorry. We will only be able to loan what has been donated to our library. If you are interested in donating a book to the Book Loan Program, simply drop it off at the front reception desk or leave it with Thomas.

There are a number of ways to caption videos, depending on the source. Here are some notes and workflow suggestions:

3C Media


Grant funded captioning solution for instructors. Note: videos must be educational based, e.g. lectures and classroom discussions, etc. There is currently a 15 minute minimum length requirement for videos. Extremely user friendly - after creating an account, instructors simply send in a digital video file and get back a captioned version in a few days. Allows quick and easy compliance with legal requirements for captioning of videos for classes.

Canvas studio is a good resource for editing captions. Captions can be turned on and off. Playback issues exist for smaller video playback on desktop usage due to the fact that the captions take up far too much of the video real estate. Desktop users should be encouraged to select the Full Screen (or Extra Large) setting for playback. Phone users won’t have this problem. Captions and video always play back well. 

To do: (Canvas Media) 

  1. Insert (menu) » Media » Upload media
  2. Choose caption file (button: bottom right)
  3. Select your caption file (.SRT)
  4. Choose language
  5. Select ‘submit’ 

Instructors are recommended to add verbiage before their videos, such as “to turn on captions click the 'CC' button." 

Within Zoom, one can edit their audio transcripts and captions 
(Recordings) » Powered by Otter.ai


Go to Video Elements 
Choose "Add subtitles" (e.g. captions)

There are multiple options for adding your captions.... 
Upload file (lots of types of files but .SRT is most common) – pre auto-captioned 
Manual entry (enter spoken word) 
Manual entry (typing each caption) 

Captions can be edited. 

Downsub (used with Amara) is an example of a tool that will download a pre-existing YouTube video, separate and grab the captions. The auto-generated version is automated, not always accurate.  Can be re-integrated into Canvas.

Making your documents more accessible starts with authoring them for accessibility. The most accessible file format for documents is a Microsoft Word .DOC file. This is because not only can e-text readers use them, but they're also the most friendly format for screen readers, like JAWS and NVDA, used by blind students.  PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets can also be made acessible. Although over 20 different aspects of documents are analyzed in accessibility checkers such as Adobe (for PDFs) and Grackle (for Google products), the broad categories of accessibility are:

1. Formatting of styles, e.g use of Headers in a logical nested order, e.g H1, H2, H3, etc.

2. Reading order. If the reading order content is out of place, the document's content will also be read by an e-text or screen reader out of order.

3. Alternative text tags for images. All images must be "alt text" tagged. A screen reader (and some e-text readers) will read aloud the information contained within alt text tags.

4. Table formatting. Tables must be formatted carefully so they can be easly navigated.


General Tips

1. If creating a document from scratch, keep formatting as simple as possible. Keep everything left aligned (default), don't center text or force justify text, and author it as if it were being written for a blind audience.

2. If remediating something - that is, taking something existing and making it accessible, it's best to simply try and strip the formatting out a document and re-pasting the text using the Paste Special (text only - unformatted)

3. Don't scan documents unless you "OCR" (use Adobe Acrobat for Optical Character Recognition) the document to convert it into renderable text. That is, text that can be read by an e-text reader or screen reader. Image files (e.g. JPEGs) are not rendered text. They are images, and text is locked up in them, or embedded.  Embedded text cannot be read by screen readers. Images with text on them should have the text re-typed out, as Alt Text tags are meant to be very short and to the essential point.

4. In your presentations or handouts, try to avoid language that clearly only speaks to sighted people. Examples are, "as you can clearly see, " "as seen [above, below, right, left]," and related phrases. If you aren't sure, then err on the safe side, and figure out a different way to word it. 

5. The ultimate accessibility checker is to simulate the circumstances. Do the 'closed eye test' on your own documentation. Get a free e-text reader and test your own documents. If you can't understand what is happening with your eyes closed while the words are being read to you, consider making edits until it makes sense.

The short answer is yes. Canvas was designed with accessibility in mind, and therefore works quite well with commonly used screen-reading programs for blind students, such as JAWS. Here is a link to a Zoom recording (Summer 2021) featuring a Chabot DSPS student, Rosie Paulo, demonstrating using Canvas with JAWS:

Using JAWS with Canvas

Regardless of their specific status, every student with a disability is entitled to the same level of inclusion, course participation, and respect as their peers.

Today's academic experts stress the importance of practicing and promoting disability etiquette within all education settings, and of providing all necessary classroom accommodations for students with disabilities. Let's begin with a few general guidelines for engaging and interacting with people with disabilities in a courteous, thoughtful manner.


When introduced to someone with a disability, a non-disabled individual may react to this person's appearance or affected speech. These reactions are usually somewhat reflexive, but for the sake of inclusion it is important to refrain from looks, gestures, or statements that will make the individual feel uncomfortable.

  • Always be patient and considerate of individuals whose disabilities require them to move or speak at a relatively slow rate.
  • Make full eye contact when talking with someone who is physically disabled and avoid prolonged staring.
  • When meeting someone who is deaf or appears to have a cognitive or speech disability, be sure to address this person clearly and maintain a normal tone of voice.
  • Always be mindful of doors, stairs, and other everyday features that may impede someone who uses a wheelchair or has other physical limitations. Offer assistance if a person with disabilities appears to be struggling, but also be respectful if he or she prefers to be independent and declines the offer.

Person First Language

Disability advocates emphasize the importance of respectful terminology. Proper etiquette states that referring to someone as a "person with a disability" is more preferable than calling them a "disabled person." This can also be applied to specific disabilities; for instance, "person who is blind" is more respectful than "blind person." Putting the "person first" identifies them as a fellow human, rather than someone defined by a disability. Also, beware of terms like "person who suffers from blindness," "accident victim," and other labels that depict someone as weak and helpless.

The disability section of the University of Northern Iowa's Office of Compliance and Equity Management also notes that people should avoid apologizing for using "gotta run," "see you later," or other expressions that inadvertently relate to certain disabilities. "These expressions are part of everyday language," the author notes, "and it is likely the apology will be more offensive than the expression."

For more information on etiquette, follow this link:


There are also some videos and links about how to work with students here:


If you have

  1. A Departmental, Procedural, or Resource Information question related to Disability Services;
  2. A comment, question, problem, or suggestion; or
  3. An alternate media or academic accommodation issue needing attention,
    please contact DSPS Director: Nathaniel Rice

For general web accessibility issues, please use the reporting form on the Chabot College Web Accessibility webpage.


In general, an IEP is a plan for a K-12 student and how they will experience their special education classes, and a 504 plan is an outline of how a K-12 school will provide support and/or remove barriers for a student with a disability. They have different requirements and restrictions, but either can be a place to start the college DSPS accommodation process. Accommodations at the college level are significantly different, though with some similarities. A good place to review what is specific for college is the Differences in Disability Accommodations for K-12 Services versus College Services PDF. For more about IEPs/504s, please visit this page on The Difference Between IEPs and 504 plans.

So glad you asked! Yes there is, and it is the POUR method of reviewing content. POUR stands for Perceiavble, Operable, Understandable, and Robust, and it involves asking if the content being reviewed meets each of those criteria. There is an excellent slide deck created by Gaeir Dietrich that you can review for more specific information, called Accessibility for Webmasters, but it really applies to anyone creating web content, whether on a webpage or within a LMS such as Canvas.

As a bonus, it also has a second part that provides a very easy to understand presentation on the differences between Section 504 and Section 508 requirements, starting on page 35.