Disability Services Office aids students

After a journey from Ethiopia to Texas, Addis Gonte found an open door at Richland College.

Each year, between 1,300 and 1,500 Richland College students make their way to the Disability Services Office. Keysha McCloud, director of disability services, saidthey provide accommodations to students who self-identify as having a disability. 

“The services include note taking, extended time on exams and a reduced-distraction testing environment. If you are deaf we provide you with a sign language interpreter, cart providers and if you have a visual impairment we have assistive technology. And that’s just a very small amount of the accommodations we offer,” McCloud said.

Services are based on documentation provided by a student from a psychologist, a doctor, a diagnostician or someone who diagnoses a disability issue. 

“One thing that most people don’t realize is that if you are deaf, you can come to college and we will provide you with a sign language interpreter,” said McCloud. “We also have cart providers who provide real-time captioning.” Everything said is typed so the deaf student can read it. A lot of students prefer this approach because they may not know sign language. McCloud said, “Some of our students who are completely deaf and taking a math class want to have a cart provider so they can read instead of watching hands and they also get a transcription.” Everything that is typed into the cart is emailed to the student.

Help with accommodations leads to success. 

“Disability Services assisted me by providing me the materials that I needed as a visual and an auditory learner so I can better comprehend the materials that I am studying,” said Gonte. The Disability Services Office is all about helping students. “One thing I would like for people to know about Disability Services is that our students are some of the most successful students on campus. “We have a very good retention rate with our students and our students graduate and transfer to universities,” said McCloud.

Gonte is already thinking about where he is headed next.

 “My current goals are to continue my education at either UTD and the reason why, it is easier to commute there, or SMU, if possible,” said Gonte.