Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Cerritos College

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSP&S) on the Cerritos College Campus date back to the fall of 1969. The Program was one of the first on-campus community college programs designed to provide accommodations for students with disabilities. From an initial six students that first semester, the program has expanded in scope and size to include educational, vocational and social services to over 1,200 students in the 2003 - 2004 school year. Here is a listing of the most frequently asked questions regarding our services.  In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this information is available in an alternative format by calling (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2335.

Please take the time to look at it to become more familiar with the opportunities offered to you through DSPS. This information will assist you in discovering how the college can assist you with classroom accommodations, campus activities, and in learning about student rights and responsibilities.

We wish you all the best while you are here at Cerritos College and want you to know that we are here solely for the purpose of arranging accommodations to make your experience a successful one.

The DSPS Staff


"First I have some basic questions"

  1. This is a lot to read. What's the bottom line?
  2. What is Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSP&S)?
  3. What services does DSP&S offer?
  4. How do I apply for DSP&S accommodations through Central Intake and Accommodation Services
  5. How about those DSP&S campus centers?
  6. Who can receive services from DSP&S?
  7. How is a verification of disability completed?
  8. How do I contact DSP&S?
  9. When are you open?
  10. What does the program cost?
  11. Is transportation provided for students with disabilities?

"Before I sign up for classes I need to know"

  1. Are there placement test accommodations for special needs?
  2. Are there special counselors for the disabled?
  3. How do I make an appointment with a counselor?
  4. What is a disability specialist?
  5. What is a student educational contract (SEC)?
  6. Is there registration assistance for students with disabilities?
  7. What if I need financial aid?
  8. Is there special parking available?
  9. What if I need to borrow a wheelchair?
  10. Are there elevators available for student use?
  11. Will the Department of Rehabilitation support me at Cerritos?
  12. How will I be informed about early registration dates, special events and other activities for disabled students?

"Once classes begin what about"

  1. Is there testing support available?
  2. Do you have tape recorders and calculators for loan?
  3. Can I get my textbooks on tape?
  4. What if I can't take my own notes?
  5. Can I get assistance in my science lab?
  6. Is modified seating available in the classroom?
  7. Can my instructors be notified if I am ill?
  8. Do you have any special magnifying systems?
  9. What other services are available to the visually impaired?
  10. What services are available for the deaf and hard of hearing?
  11. Does Cerritos College have Video Phones (VP) and/or TDD devices?
  12. What about electronic/computer access?
  13. What about access to distance education courses?
  14. What if Cerritos College courses are too difficult for me?
  15. Is adaptive physical education available?
  16. What if I have a learning disability??

"But there is more to school than coursework, so"

  1. Can I receive counseling for personal problems?
  2. And if I have a psychological disability?
  3. Where can I get information on such things as hand controls, ramps, grab bars, van conversions, or other adaptations I might need?
  4. Can I get minor repairs done on my wheelchair?

"And here are some general questions"

  1. Is the campus physically accessible?
  2. Is there an emergency evacuation policy?
  3. What are my rights and responsibilities?
  4. Is there a policy concerning academic accommodations for disabled students?
  5. Do you have a complaint policy?
  6. What if I still need an answer to my question?

Accommodations available through DSP&S

"First I have some basic questions"

1. This is a lot to read. What's the bottom line?

Here is a summary in three paragraphs

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Cerritos College will take all necessary steps to ensure that no student with a verified disability is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination because of the absence of auxiliary aids or academic accommodations.  The decision to authorize such aids or accommodations is the responsibility of the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) director, disability specialist, or DSPS counselor after a review of documentation verifying the disability and any resulting educational limitations.

It is the responsibility of the student with a verified disability and resultant educational limitation to apply for DSPS assistance in the Santa Barbara Building and to file a request for accommodations with DSPS via the college form entitled Disabled Student Programs and Services Application for Services.   The request should be completed with adequate notice provided for an effective response.   Classroom related requests will be reviewed for approval on the Service Request Form and, upon approval by DSPS, notification will be sent within 3 days to any involved instructor by DSPS staff.   The instructor will respond to the request in writing in a timely manner.   Non-return will be construed as agreement. 

If the instructor denies the classroom related request(s) the DSPS director, or designee, will intervene with the appropriate academic staff and attempt to resolve the matter.  In the event of continued denial of an accommodation request or request for course substitution or waiver DSPS will provide the student with the policy, procedures and form entitled Academic Accommodation Request Form.  The DSPS director or designee will concurrently inform the student that he/she has the right to file a grievance under the college's discrimination grievance procedure and/or the Office for Civil Rights and will provide the student with the information necessary to do so. 


2. What is Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSPS)?

DSP&S is a Cerritos College program designed to assist the student with a disability to become fully integrated into the regular campus academic, social and vocational offerings without compromising the integrity of the course curriculum.


3. What servicesdoes DSPS offer?

Here are a few of the services available through DSP&S: Campus Orientation, Academic/Vocational and Personal Counseling, Financial Aid Liaison, Placement Test Assistance, Pre-registration, Registration Assistance, Instructional Aide/Writer, Mobility Assistance, Interpreter, Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART), Note taking Assistance, Test Taking Assistance, Large Print, Braille or Text on Tape, Brailler/Typewriter, Print Magnifier/CCTV, computer access equipment and training, Video Phone (VP), TDD Phone Device (available upon request), Elevator Access, Office Liaison, Parking Assistance, Study Area Assistance, Instructor Liaison and Notification of Illness, Community Agency Liaison, Disability Management, Activities Access, Intake Disability Evaluation, LD Eligibility Assessment, Vocational Evaluation, Basic Skills Mediation, Adaptive PE, Modified Seating and a Newsletter.

The services are made available through several campus centers as determined through our Central Intake and Accommodation Services process. For further information visit our web site at or contact us as described in Question #7.


4. How do I applyfor DSP&S accommodations through Central Intake and Accommodation Services?

Central Intake and Accommodation Services (CIS), which is located in the Santa Barbara building, will be your first point of contact with DSPS. Here you will be assisted in applying for DSPS services and will learn about other campus offices and services. You will meet with a counselor and disability specialist to discuss the educational accommodations and auxiliary aides that are best suited for your disability.

Services available through CIS include campus orientation, priority registration assistance, academic, career and personal counseling, limited disability management, access to key locked elevators, access to special campus parking, liaison with financial aid, placement test accommodations and Department of Rehabilitation liaison. If you need assistance with classroom activities due to your limitations you will be referred to the appropriate DSP&S specialist in one of the centers described in Question #5.

We will ask you to sign an authorization for release of information regarding your disability. All forms are confidential and your responses will not affect your admission to the college. However, you must provide verification of your disability in order to be qualified for our services.


5. How aboutthose DSP&S campus centers?

The Alice Collins Resource Center for Students with Disabilities (ACRCSD) is also located in the Santa Barbara Building. This center assists students with mobility and other health limitations, as well as those with psychological disabilities. The services available include disability management, in-class aides, note takers, test taking assistance, referral to textbooks on tape, liaison with instructors and access to a variety of on and off campus agencies such as the Department of Rehabilitation. All classroom-based support services which involve either testing accommodations or the use of hourly DSP&S student personnel (other than interpreters) are also provided by the Service Facilitator housed in the ACRCSD.

The Instructional Support Center (ISC) is located in the Student Center Complex next to the cafeteria.  There are three distinct yet inter-related programs.  First, the Independent Mediation Lab offers specialized instruction that emphasizes approaches to develop techniques that ameliorate the impact of a disability.  Students go through a brief computerized assessment process then meet with the ISC counselor to assist them in developing and implementing a study skills/compensatory strategies plan.  The Assistive Tecnology Training and Information Center trains students so they will be able to use the access technology equipment such as screen readers, visual amplification devices and reading machines placed around the campus. Students will be referred to the ATTIC by the DSPS specialists once there has been a discussion of alternate media options that may or may not include training in assistive technology.  Finally, Short Term Alternate Media Production has been established to meet immediate needs for alternate media such as brailled, digitized or large print tests and syllabi.  Large projects such as complete textbooks will be completed through Information Technology by our Alternate Media Specialist.

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, in Downey, affords the opportunity for patients to attend Cerritos College courses at that facility. In addition to assistance in the basic skills of reading, writing and computation, instruction in clerical areas is available. The satellite campus at Rancho is designed for students who are affiliated with specific hospital services, either on an inpatient or outpatient basis.


6. Who can receiveservices from DSPS?

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, a person with a disability is described as (1) having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities, (2) having a record of such an impairment, or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment.

Types of disabilities can include: Physical, Communication, Learning, Acquired Brain Injury, Developmentally Delayed Learner, Hearing, Vision, Psychological or even Multiple Disabilities. There will be a need to verify your disability and identify the related educational limitations at the beginning of your involvement with DSPS.

To be recommended for DSP&S support services a prospective student should demonstrate at least the following abilities:

A. Potential to benefit from instruction in a group; 

B. Ability to do simple work independently with some cues/assistance;

C. Ability to follow directions and to attend to learning tasks for a reasonable period of time; 

D. Adequate attention span to profit from an hour of continuous instruction in a setting with distractions; 

E. Sufficient language comprehension skills to benefit from the educational program; 

F. Ability to perform meaningful classroom activities, using some form of both receptive and expressive language; 

G. Behavior and emotional responses that are usually appropriate to the situation; 

H. Sufficient independent living skills to allow independent on-campus functioning, unless routinely accompanied by a personal assistant to perform necessary activities of daily living functions.


7. How is a verificationof disability completed?

Verification of a primary disability is necessary to establish eligibility for participation in DSP&S services. The disability will be verified by certificated DSP&S personnel based upon observation or documents provided by appropriate credentialed, certificated, or licensed professionals. The verification will need to identify the disability and the educational limitations that result.


8. How do Icontact DSPS?

Your first point of contact, Central Intake and Services, is located in the Santa Barbara building. Call us for an appointment at (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2335.

Our mailing address is:

DSPS Cerritos College
11110 Alondra Blvd.
Norwalk, CA 90650

Other ways that you can reach us are:

FAX: (562) 467-5006

VP: (866) 971-0948


Refer to the "DSPS Staff" listing on our web site for locations and contact numbers for all staff.


9. When are youopen?

Each of our Centers maintains its own office hours. The Santa Barbara building has the most accessible times including some evening hours. Check with each Center for hours of operation.


10. What does theprogram cost?

There is no additional cost to the student for DSPS services.


11. Is transportationprovided for students with disabilities?

The college does not provide transportation to or from campus. However, several local cities do provide accessible transportation to Cerritos College for their disabled residents. Each city has its own criteria and operating schedule. RTD and ACCESS also transport students to the campus. For further information call the City Hall where you live or contact us in the ACRCSD.


"Before I sign up for classes I need to know"

12. Are there placementtest accommodations for special needs?

If you need accommodations, these tests can be administered to you following verification of your disability. If your disability affects the speed with which you take tests, you can be given extended time. The tests can be written or recorded for you if your disability creates such a need. Large print and Braille editions are also available.


13. Are there specialcounselors for the disabled?

DSP&S counselors are available to advise students with disabilities. Students also have the option of seeing academic counselors in the college Counseling Center.


14. How do I makean appointment with a counselor?

Appointments with DSP&S counselors may be made through the Santa Barbara building at Ext. 2335. You can also call the Counseling office at (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2231. Give them your name, phone number and student body number and you will be given an appointment with the counselor of your choice.


15. What is a disabilityspecialist?

Each student in the DSPS program will be assigned a disability specialist depending upon what his or her accommodation needs are. The Specialist is the person who has been trained to assist you to obtain services designed to accommodate individual limitations.



16. What is a studenteducational contract (SEC)?

When you apply for DSPS services, you and your Specialist will develop a personal plan for your education. This is called a SEC (Student Education Contact). It will include information about your academic and career goals and objectives, a description of the courses, programs, or activities decided upon by you and your Specialist, accommodations for the use of appropriate instructional materials and equipment, and a description of how your progress in the program will be monitored.


17. Is there registrationassistance for students with disabilities?

Priority registration for classes is held every semester, usually one day prior to the beginning of regular registration. This can be done in person on campus or online with New students should contact DSPS or the Counseling office or the schedule of classes online for exact times and dates--advance arrangements are necessary. (Continuing DSPS students are notified by mail.)


18. What if I need financialaid?

Grants, loans, and private scholarships are available through the Financial Aid Office. Make an appointment at the Financial Aid Office (Ext. 2397) for more details. You may wish to consider the "Alice Collins Memorial Scholarship", which is available exclusively to students with disabilities.


19. Is special parkingavailable?

Upon request, DSP&S facilitates students' applications for DMV Parking Placards. Medical verification of disability requiring such parking must be on file. During the DMV application process, qualified students will be assisted in obtaining a two-week parking permit from Campus Police for use in student or staff parking lots only. Parking in Blue Curb (disabled) Parking on campus without a Disabled Plate/Placard will result in a substantial fine.  Students with both a DMV Placard and a Cerritos College Student Parking sticker may use Staff parking stalls if an extra-wide Blue Curb stall is not needed.


20. What if I need to borrowa wheelchair?

The ACRCSD maintains a manual wheelchair for use by students on campus on a temporary or emergency basis. Prior arrangements must be made and they are loaned on a first come, first served basis. They are available for 'on campus' use only.


21. Are there elevatorsavailable for student use?

Yes. A Speedpass card operates elevators in the Social Science, Liberal Arts and Science buildings. Applications for Speedpasses are available in the Santa Barbara Building. The elevators in the Library and Health Sciences Buildings do not require Speedpasses.


22. Will the Department ofRehabilitation support me at Cerritos?

The Department of Rehabilitation is a service of the State of California that helps prepare disabled persons for employment. Services provided to clients who are college students include funding for enrollment fees, books, supplies, and a transportation allowance, as well as counseling and job placement. A Department of Rehabilitation counselor is on campus once a week to answer your questions. Call Ext. 2335 for details.


23. How will I be informedabout early registration dates, special events and other activities for students with disabilities?

DSP&S sends out frequent newsletters and postcards to all students registered in the program. They will inform you of priority registration activities, student organizations and events that may be of interest to you. These publications are also available in alternative formats. You may also visit our web site as identified in Question #7.


"Once classes begin what about"

24. Is there testingsupport available?

With prior approval from your instructors and Disability Specialist, exams for courses can be administered in the ACRCSD on an appointment only basis. Depending upon the functional limitations of your disability, accommodations can include use of a quiet location, extended time, reading assistance, large print/CCTV, Braille, computer presentation, tape recording of tests or writing assistance. Also see Question #53.


25. Do you have taperecorders and calculators for loan?

Yes. The ACRCSD maintains cassette recorders and RFB&D cd & 4-track players for loan to students whose limitations necessitate their use. There are also graphing and scientific calculators available. We do not provide batteries or cassette tapes for this equipment. There is also a variety of adapted equipment housed in the center.


26. Can I get my textbookson cd/tape?

The major source for textbooks on tape/cd is Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Inc. (RFB&D). They offer recordings of most college textbooks. New students will be referred to the library to enroll and to order their textbooks as they would any other library book. At the current time there is an enrollment fee for RFB&D. In the event that RFB&D doesn't have the recorded book you need you will need to supply them with two copies of the text for their use in recording it. 


27. What if I can't takemy own notes?

There are several ways we handle note taking. One is the loan of a tape recorder as mentioned. Secondly, we have 'note taker packets' that allow you to have another student in class take notes and give you a copy. In extreme cases, if your disability, its corresponding educational limitations, and the class writing load warrants it, you can request a note taker paid by DSP&S who will assist you with writing and/or lab assignments. If you have an excused absence you will receive notes for that session at your next class meeting. These services are available through your specialist who can explain how they work. Also see Question #53.


28. Can I get assistance inmy science lab?

It all depends upon your disability related educational limitations. Students who are unable to perform the physical tasks assigned in lab situations should get approval from their specialist so that an assistant can be assigned to assist them. Also see Question #53.


29. Is modified seatingavailable in the classroom?

Again, yes, if your disability warrants it. First obtain approval from your specialist and then contact the ACRCSD even before you register for classes. We will arrange to have an appropriate chair and/or table placed in your classroom for your use. Note: You may have to position the chair and table in the classroom where it serves you best.


30. Can my instructors benotified if I am ill?

If you have a disability-related absence, either call your instructors directly at his/her extension or call us and we will notify your instructors. Ask your specialist how to make these arrangements. Be aware that two unexcused absences can result in the withdrawal of your paid note taker, aide or interpreter.


31. Do you have any specialmagnifying systems?

There are visual magnifying systems available in the ACRCSD and the HTC. Also, special DSP&S computers in the HTC, the library and in selected computer labs offer large print on the screen.


33. What other services areavailable to the visually impaired?

DSP&S has access to Braille books and has RFB&D cd and 4-track players, two speed cassette recorders with variable speed units. In addition, there is a selection of Large Print Books and a wide variety of computer based support in the HTC.


34. What services are available for the deafand hard of hearing?

DSP&S provides sign language and oral interpreters, CART services, or Assistive Listening Devices (FM systems) for students and staff who require this service for their communication needs. Services are available by request for all Cerritos College related functions.

Requests for these services should be made at least 5 days in advance of any class, meeting, or event. To arrange for services call the SBB office at (562) 860-2451 x2335 and you will be directed to the appropriate staff member. You may also complete the online interpreter request form: DSPS Communication Services. You must be registered with DSP&S to receive these services. Also see Question #53.

For counseling support and services such as academic advising, setting up support services and accommodations, etc. Please contact DHH Counselor Jamila Guerrero-Cantor Email: (562) 741-5179 (VP), (562) 860-2451 ext. 2346 (V).


35. Does Cerritos Collegehave Video Phones (VP) and/or TDD devices?

There is access to Video Phones (VP) in the Santa Barbara Building (SBB) and the Instructional Support Center (ISC). There is not a public TDD available, however, students and staff may use a TDD located in the DSPS SBB and ISC offices.


36. What about electronic/computer access?

Educationally related material will be provided in alternative media, if requested. These alternate methods of delivery might include audio recordings, Braille, Tactile Graphics, large print, or electronic (computer) text. Students with verified disabilities may request materials from their Specialist in the format that serves them best.


37. What about access to distanceeducation courses?

Cerritos College has made great efforts to assure accessibility in all areas of the curriculum--including distance or distributed education courses.  Furthermore, there is an Innovation Center on campus that works with faculty and staff in the gamut of issues involved in distance education with access being a primary focus.


38. What if Cerritos College coursesare too difficult for me?

We maintain a referral list of other facilities in the community which may be more suited to your needs. The Regional Occupational Programs, Adult Schools, Library Literacy Programs and Regional Center, among others, are possibilities for you.


40. Is Adaptive PhysicalEducation available?

Adaptive Physical Education consists of a series of college courses that offer sedentary activities, swimming, aerobics, and circuit weight training for the disabled. Verification of disability is required just as it is for all of our other services. For additional information call us at Ext. 2335.


41. What if I have a learning disability?

Please contact DSPS and bring any other documentation that verifies your disability.  You will then go through our testing process to determine if you are eligible for services.   


"But there is more to school than coursework, so"

42. Can I receive counseling forpersonal problems?

Limited personal counseling is available through the Counseling Center. Inform the receptionist that you want to see a counselor about a personal problem and they will make an appointment for you with the appropriate person. DSP&S also provides limited personal counseling on a less formal basis. Your specialist may also be available to help you with problem solving. All personal counseling is meant to be short term only. DSP&S does not provide therapy.


43. And if I have a psychologicaldisability?

A psychological disability is defined by DSP&S at Cerritos College as a chronic moderate to severe mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia that affects one or more major life activities. Educational limitations such as difficulty concentrating can be addressed through DSP&S support services.


49. Where can I get information on suchthings as hand controls, ramps, grab bars, van conversions, or other adaptations I might need?

Your Specialist should be able to refer you to the appropriate center for the information you need. The ACRCSD keeps files on many resources. We have information on jobs, barrier removal, and public transportation for the disabled, among other items. Finally, the Alice Collins Resource Center for Students with Disabilities subscribes to several magazines and periodicals that may be of interest to you.


50. Can I get minor repairs doneon my wheelchair?

The maintenance of your wheelchair is your responsibility. However, if you have an on-campus emergency with your equipment notify the ACRCSD regarding the temporary loan of a wheelchair while you are on campus.


"And here are some general questions"

51. Is the campus physicallyaccessible?

Yes. Cerritos College is one of the most accessible colleges in California due to the natural terrain and the many modifications we have made to doorways, restrooms, classrooms and the like. However, if you have a problem with campus access please let us know.


52. Is there an emergency evacuationpolicy?

There has been an emergency evacuation plan in place for many years, which allows you to be assured that your evacuation needs will be met in an emergency situation. You will be told about the plan when you come in for your first appointment.


53. What are my rights andresponsibilities?

It is required that students benefiting from DSP&S will:

  • Make measurable progress toward an educational goal
  • Disclose any health condition that could affect the safety and welfare of themselves, other students, or staff members at the college
  • Be given all rights available to other college students
  • Be assured that all student medical-related health records and DSP&S records shall not be made available to anyone other than DSP&S staff,  college health personnel or other appropriate college personnel with a legitimate educational interest. Information may also be released to personnel from the Chancellor's Office and other State agencies.

You will also have the responsibility of notifying us of absences or class withdrawals if you use services involving staff such as note takers, interpreters and laboratory aides. If you miss appointments without notifying us you will be subject to suspension of that service.


54. Is there a policy concerning AcademicAccommodations for Disabled Students?

Yes. Cerritos College recognizes that a disability may impede a student from completing course requirements in the same manner as expected of non-disabled students. The college also recognizes the need to accommodate students with documented limitations resulting from verified disabilities to the greatest extent possible without compromising a disabled student's course of study and without compromising the integrity of any student's certificate or degree. As a result, an official Academic Accommodation policy has been developed. The policy provides a process to pursue accommodations not agreed to by staff and to request course substitutions and waivers. For more information about the college academic accommodation policy visit our WEB site at: or contact DSPS directly for a copy.


55. Do you have a complaintpolicy?

Yes. Cerritos College supports the idea that no person shall, on the basis of a physical or mental disability, be subjected to discrimination under any program of activity offered under the control of the college. Any student, applicant for admission, employee or applicant for employment who believes he or she has been subject to a discriminatory action on the basis of a physical or mental disability may file a complaint. Details may be obtained by contacting the 504/ADA Coordinator at Ext. 2334 or by accessing the DSP&S WEB site at:


56. And if I still need an answerto my question?

Contact us at (562) 860-2451, Ext. 2335 or visit our web site for more information.


Cerritos College, 11110 Alondra Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650, (562) 860-2451
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