Access Office (Disability Services)

Northwest Vista College is dedicated to creating opportunities for success for many different kinds of students. Some students may have physical and/or mental challenges or impairments that interfere with their ability to succeed in the classroom. The Access office offers services to help "level the playing field" and create opportunities for success for students with these challenges. Please call 210-486-4466 for information.

To be eligible for disability-related services, students must have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under the ADA and Section 504, a person has a "disability" if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (walking, standing, seeing, speaking, hearing, sitting, breathing, taking care of oneself, etc.). 


Classroom accommodations are designed to help level the playing field for students with disabilities. Accommodations should not offer an unfair advantage to a student because the student has a disability.  Refer to the list below for the most common approved accommodations.

Exams Accommodations
  1. One of the common accommodations approved by the Access Office involves alternative conditions in which to complete exams. This accommodation is offered through the Assessment Office on the campus of Northwest Vista College. In order for a student to utilize these accommodations, an Exam Request Form must be completed and turned in to the Assessment Office in Cypress Campus Center, Room 207 (CCC-207). If desired this form can be submitted electronically via e-mail (first, download the form and fill it out then, second, attach the pdf to an email and send to: with Subject: Exam Request Form).
  2. The Assessment Office will monitor the student’s exam if desired.
  3. The Assessment Office must be notified four working days prior to the exam if the student needs a reader, scribe or use of a private room.
  4. If the student is approved to listen to music during the exam, the testing center may spot-check the music player to ensure test integrity.
Evacuation Assistance

The instructor will designate another student in class to help evacuate the disabled student to the main stairwell or out of the building. 

Use of a Recording Device

Student will provide his or her own electronic recording / note taking device to record information.

A Volunteer Note-taker

The student will obtain his or her own note taker. Volunteer note taker may receive extra credit.

A Reader or Scribe
  1. A Reader is simply a person who will only read for the student and a Scribe is a person who will write for the student.
  2. The student will secure in-class Readers or Scribes as needed. Readers/Scribes may also receive extra credit.
  3. The Assessment Office will secure testing Readers/Scribes for exams after student gives them four working days notice. 
Interpreting Services
  1. Deaf and/or hard of hearing Services at San Antonio College will coordinate and secure sign language interpreters for all colleges of the Alamo Colleges District. Please contact Jo Hilton at Phone: 210-486-1110 VP: 866-634-7829 Email:  
  2. Services include: Sign Language Interpreters, Oral Interpreting, Closed Caption related services.
  3. Interpreter Requests must be made at least 3 working days before the class or meeting. 
Adaptive Equipment

Several different types of adaptive equipment technology are available at Northwest Vista College.

  1. Students with visual impairments or reading difficulties, screen reading software is available.
  2. Students with physical limitation have larger chairs available.
  3. Students with hearing difficulties an FM system is available to adequately hear their instructors in class.
  4. For students who struggle with writing, software is available that converts spoken words into written text. 
Opportunity to leave the class suddenly
  1. The student may need to leave the classroom because of their disability.
  2. The student is responsible for any information that is missed. 
Student may be late to class due to walking difficulties

If a student has disability related mobility issues it may be difficult for him or her to move to class with many other people on campus. Therefore, the instructor is notified that the student may be a few minutes late to class. 


Additional accommodations may be added on an individual basis. 

Service Requests

TSI/Assessment Exam Accommodations:

In order to receive TSI/Assessment accommodations from the Access Office, please do the following:

Click here to learn more about the TSI/Assessment Exam

Academic Accommodations:

In order to receive academic accommodations from the Access Office, please do the following:

  • Complete and submit the following request form, Request for Disability Services for Class/Course Accommodations, identifying the disability and the specific accommodations requested.

  • Submit documentation regarding the disability for which accommodations are being requested. 

  • Make an appointment with an Access Office staff member to review documentation and discuss accommodations.

Accommodations offered through the Access Office are designed to equalize the instructional environment for students with disabilities, not to give students unfair advantages.

Refer to the list above for the most common approved accommodations.

Documentation Guidelines for Hearing Impairments:

Please provide any of the following:

  • A Certificate of Deafness from the Texas Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (TCDHH).

  • A recent audiogram by a professional audiologist that occurred within the last two years.

  • A signed statement by a licensed professional, on that person’s professional letterhead, whose license or credentials are appropriate to diagnose the disability.

  • A completed Certifying Professional Questionnaire.

If you want services for a disability other than hearing loss, please provide any of the following:
  • A signed statement by a licensed professional, on that person’s professional letterhead, whose license or credentials are appropriate to diagnose the disability.

  • A statement indicating the disability for which accommodations are being requested.

  • Results from a psycho-educational evaluation.

  • Results from a Comprehensive Individual Assessment.

  • A completed Certifying Professional Questionnaire.

  • An evaluation administered and interpreted by a qualified professional whose license or credentials are appropriate to diagnose that disability, such as:

    • State Licensed Psychologists
    • State Licensed Professional Counselors
    • School Psychologists
    • Vocational Rehabilitation Division Diagnosticians
    • Staff of postsecondary institutions, disability services offices & departments of special education

Online Resources

Northwest Vista College offers the following resources. NVC does not fund or endorse any of these resources and encourages readers to seek additional information as needed. 


ADA and Facilities Access (Texas)

Affordable Colleges Online: College Guide for Students with Disabilities

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

Americans with Disabilities Act Homepage (ADA)

About Autism (Autism Speaks)


Disability Resources for College Students 
Campus & Community Support, Advice, and Rights for Students with Disabilities

Graduate School Success for Students with Disabilities 

Higher Education for Students with Disabilities
Rights, Resources and Accredited Online Schools

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Learning Toolbox

Motivational Speaker with Disabilities
Encourages others to believe anything is possible...

National Center for Learning Disabilities

Service Animals and the ADA (Frequently Asked Questions)

Service Dogs/Animals (Texas Disability Law)

Succeeding in College

Wildcat Wisdom


Dyslexie Font
A special font developed and designed for people with dyslexia to make reading, learning and working easier...

International Dyslexia Association

Kurzweil Firefly Reading Tutorials

Learning Toolbox

National Center for Learning Disabilities

Online Speech-to-Text Resource (FREE)

Reading Tips

Study Tips for Students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia


Learning Toolbox

Math Tips

National Center for Learning Disabilities

AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder):

Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)

Learning Toolbox


Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

Diagram Center

DO-IT (Disability, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology)

Learning Toolbox


Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

NVC Counseling Services
Resources to help with mental health, sexual violence, drug abuse, suicide and more.

Sleep and Sleep Disorders

Web MD
Medical information to identify conditions, symptoms, treatments and definitions of health conditions.


ADA and Rights in the Workplace

Employment for People with Disabilities in Texas

Job Accommodations Network (Ask Jan)
Employment and Accommodations Support for People with Disabilities

Special Education Guide
Career paths for students wanting to go into the special education field.

Information for Parents

College is different from the Secondary (K-12th grade) system with regard to students with disabilities. Whereas the law (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2004) requires parents to be actively involved in the student’s education in K-12, College does not require parental involvement. However, the law (Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990) does require that students with disabilities be offered reasonable accommodation for college in order to have equal access to services such as education.

Another difference between  the secondary education system and college is that Colleges are not authorized to release information about students to anyone, including parents. The Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 prohibit such disclosure without written consent from the student. Therefore, neither the Access office, faculty, or staff of Northwest Vista College may disclose information about a student including (but not limited to) grades, attendance, or behavior. Click here for more information about FERPA.  

As adults, students now have different rights and responsibilities. The rights of a student include:

  1. A qualified student with a documented and approved disability has the right to reasonable accommodation for equal access to the services provided by Northwest Vista College.

  1. The student has the right to not disclose his or her disability to any instructor or staff.

The responsibilities of students in college include:

  1. The student is responsible for meeting the academic or technical standards of the school. At Northwest Vista College the student must have graduated from high school or received a GED. Click here for more information concerning admission to Northwest Vista College.  

  1. The student is responsible for identifying him or herself as a student with a disability to the Access Office at Northwest Vista College. Although a guardian may participate in this process, the student must identify him or herself. The Access Office is located in Room 204 in Cypress Campus Center. The student may also call (210-486-4466) or send an e-mail to

  1. The student is responsible for providing adequate documentation to support his or her claim of having a disability. Click here for more details concerning documentation of disability.

  1. Once approved, the student is responsible for working with instructors and staff in order to receive the accommodations that are agreed upon by the student and the Access Office staff.

Making the transition from the secondary system to College can be an important step for students quickly becoming independent individuals. As a parent, here are a few important steps suggested by the National Center for Learning Disabilities that are involved in making this transition.

  1. Develop self-determination skills in terms of understanding disability, how the disability impacts learning, and being able to discuss areas that are challenging as well as areas of strength. Also important is being able to disclose the disability when appropriate.

  1. Learning the strategies that are most effective to compensate for the disability.

  1. Knowing which technologies can help to compensate for the disability.

  1. Identifying needed resources, disability-specific and general, and using those resources that help the students academically, personally, and financially. This is a much-needed needed skill at the college level.

  1. Understand the general difference between high school and college. Click here for details.

The Access Office would also like to be a resource for you and your son or daughter in making this transition. Please contact us via e-mail at or by phone at 210-486-4466 if we can be of assistance to you.

Contact Us:

Sharon Dresser, M.S.
Senior Coordinator


JoDee Cortez
Senior Advisor