Disability Services

St. Philip's ensures ACCESS. YOU create SUCCESS!

When you're a student, learning is your job!

The Disability Services (DS) is a hub of activities, support, referrals, and encouragement for our St. Philip's College students with disabilities. SPC ensures access so you can create success! The Disability Services department ensures reasonable academic support to eligible students with disabilities. At the Southwest campus, contact us at The LIFEspace Center. We follow national best practices to ensure that our students have access to the latest information and technologies.

National Autism Awareness Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month. Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, speech, and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors, as well as by unique strengths and differences. The number of individuals with ASD continues to rise sharply and is not distinguishable by any physical feature. In 2012, about 1 in 68 children were identified with ASD, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Disability Services office is dedicated to promoting advocacy and support, increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, and provide information to the campus community. Contact our office for more information. Visit www.autismspeaks.org for additional information.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), approximately 11% of undergraduate students have a disability. Considering that around 20.2 million students are enrolled at U.S. colleges, an estimated 2 million of them are likely living with some type of disability. This may include visual impairment, a specific learning disability, an orthopedic impairment, hard of hearing/deafness, or speech disability, among others. Many of these students receive federal financial aid while some work part-time and/or receive financial assistance from their families to help pay for college. There are a large number of scholarships for students with disabilities from outside sources. To assist in this search, Affordable Colleges created a list of the current disability scholarships being offered from various foundations and organizations. Select scholarships to visit the list.

Disability Services Overview

The disability services office is always looking for ways to share information with our faculty, staff, and community about our process to include general information. We are happy to conduct a 5 to 7-minute presentation to your students or your staff/faculty at department meetings. If you are interested, please submit your request to Maria Botello at mbotello@alamo.edu. A presentation on disability services was offered as one of the sessions during the All College Meeting. If you missed that presentation, you may view the power-point.

View Disability Services Overview Presentation

Getting Ready

  • The ADA and Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual, a record of such an impairment, and is regarded as having such an impairment.

    • Mental or Physical Impairments Include:
    • Communication Disorders
    • Learning Disabilities
    • Physical Disabilities
    • Psychological Disabilities
    • Visual or Hearing Impairments
    • Major Life Activities Include:
    • Walking, Seeing, Hearing,
    • Sitting, Standing, Breathing,
    • Reading/Math, Learning,
    • Thought Processing, Concentrating, Interacting with Others
  • In college, disability-related decisions and related activities fall solely on the student, not on parents or others. 

    The student is responsible for making all decisions regarding programs of study.

    The student is responsible for disclosing a disability. Once a disability is disclosed the appropriate academic assistance can be addressed.

    All students are to follow the syllabus given to them by their instructor. No accommodations will be made which change the content of a course.

    All students are expected to follow classroom rules and procedures as well as the Code of Conduct at the school.

    Students with disabilities are encouraged to attempt a class without additional support. Many times students choose programs that work with their strengths and require no additional support.

    If a student feels the need for support, it must be requested.

    High School to College Transition and Accommodations


  • First-time students who need disability services must complete this process.

    Application Process:

    1. Complete a Disability Services (DS) Initial Request for Disability Services Form.
    2. Return the completed Initial Request for Services Form to the Sutton Learning Center, Rm 102, or ITC, A-135 at SWC.
    3. Provide a copy of your disability documentation.
    4. Provide a copy of your course schedule
    5. Schedule an appointment to meet with the coordinator to review eligibility.
    6. If eligible, you and the service provider select accommodations.
    7. Letters of Accommodations will be emailed to each instructor.
    8. Be advised letters of accommodation are generated a few days before each semester due to schedule changes.  In general, letter of accommodations take 5 to 7 business days but during peak times it may take a couple of days more.  

    View Documenting Your Disability Brochure

    Note: Accommodations will be selected in a collaborative effort between you, and the DS staff, however, students should take a lead role in this effort. Accommodations must be requested at the beginning of the semester, each semester they are needed. The day-to-day arrangements and implementing the adjustments made to your plan is between you and your instructors.

    1. Complete the Renewal Request for Services Form.
    2. Bring in any updated documentation of your disability.
    3. Bring in a current printed schedule of classes.
    4. If needed, schedule an appointment to meet with DS advisor for assistance or for advising questions.
    5. If needed, schedule an appointment to meet with the DS Coordinator to review your status and any accommodations.
    6. Letters of Accommodation will be emailed to each instructor.
    7. Be advised letters of accommodation are generated a few days before each semester due to schedule changes.  In general, letters of accommodation take 5 to 7 business days but during peak time it may take a couple of days more.
  • What we do for you is provide information and available accommodations, act as a liaison between student and college, and provide academic support where necessary.

    Assistive Technology

    General Learning Support

    • Internet Access - Wired and Wireless
    • 24/7 Online Tutoring Access - Brainfuse.com
    • Tutoring & Technology Center (NTB 116) - Walk-in Tutoring

    Listening & Communication

    • FM systems
    • Sorenson video phone


    • Talking Calculators
    • 3-D Models of Various Shapes
    • 24/7 Online Tutoring Access - Brainfuse.com


    • Adobe® Acrobat® Reader “Read-Out-Loud”
    • Kurzweil® 3000 Reader
    • Firefly by Kurzweil Reader
    • JAWS® Screen Reader Software
    • Open Book™ Text Reader
    • SARA™ Scanning & Reading Appliance
    • Large Visual Display Computers
    • Magnifiers: Portable and Desktop
    • Zoom Text® & MAGic® Software


    • Ergonomic & Special Use Keyboards (Left-hand, Right-hand, Large Print)
    • Graphic Organizing Software (Inspiration®)
    • 24/7 Online Tutoring Access - BrainFuse.com
    • Speech Recognition Software (Naturally Speaking®)

Frequently Asked Questions

Are support services available?

A variety of support services are available to a St. Philip's College student with a disability. These services may include, but are not limited to, interpreters, note taking paper, assistance with securing texts in digital format on CD, reader/scribes, assistance with the registration process, technological tools and testing accommodations. Arrangements for services must be made directly through Disability Services, SLC 102, MLK Campus, or Building 1, A135 at the Southwest Campus. All services are elective and must be requested by the student.

How do I apply for services?

To determine if you are eligible for accommodations through DS you need to: 1) Identify circumstances that interfere with your learning or access To receive assistance at St. Philip's College, you must register for services through Disability Services, SLC 102, MLK or Building 1, A135, SWC. 2) Complete the Initial Request for Disability Services form. You must complete the Initial Request form and present current documentation of your disability. 3) Provide evidence of current disability. You must bring current documentation of your disability or disabilities to your meeting with a DS advisor or coordinator. Depending upon your disability, your documentation may need to be renewed on a periodic basis by your health care provider or support agency. See the Documenting Your Disability brochure information for guidance. Acceptable forms of documentation include:

Letter from a medical doctor. An evaluation summary from a psychologist, educational/ testing specialist, specialist in the area of disability. Report from Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Diagnostic results from any branch of the armed services Letter from rehabilitation clinic/hospital 4) Meet with DS Coordinator to determine appropriate accommodations. Once all the documents are collected you’ll meet with a DS staff member to review your situation. If accommodations are needed they are identified and a Letter of Accommodation is prepared for you. Your letters of accommodation will be emailed to each instructor. 

Who will be responsible for arranging accommodations?

Choosing accommodations is a collaborative effort, and you should take a lead role. It is YOUR life. You bear the responsibility of making your abilities and limitations known to the appropriate person within DS. You, and the designated person from DS, will then decide together the best accommodations for you. You will receive a letter outlining the accommodations you need at the beginning of each semester. The day- to-day arrangements are between you and your instructor

What should I expect in the classroom?

As a student with a disability, the teaching environment directly affects your ability to participate and to keep up with course work. You are a “person first” and then a “person with a disability.” You will first be expected to maintain the standards that apply to everyone else in the course. In the words of the law, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you must be “otherwise qualified” to do the work with or without accommodations. With the exception of minor adjustments in presentation or requirements of the course, the content will not be altered. Changes apply to course procedures and processes. In this way you have the same opportunity as other students to gain the knowledge the class offers. You should only request alterations in course procedures that directly confront your disabling condition. Being penalized for having a disability is unacceptable. However, it is also unacceptable to expect more than reasonable accommodations for the disability.

I need to arrange for a volunteer note taker. What do I do?

First, speak with your instructor about your Letter of Accommodation which authorizes a volunteer note taker. Also, you take whatever notes you can. Record your class, if authorized, and fill in your notes later from the recording. You can also ask a classmate for a copy of their notes (explain what you need to about your disability). You may want to sit with the classmate for a while and fill in your notes from theirs. Usually you will find a classmate (or two) who are willing to share their notes. You can also bring their notes to the DS and we’ll make a copy for you. If no one steps up to help, you can ask the instructor to ask for a volunteer. If that doesn’t work contact the DS for more help.

When should I talk with my instructor(s) about the accommodations that I will need?

Specific adaptations will vary according to the student and the severity of the disability. Therefore, it is important that you meet with the instructor early in the term to discuss your disability and the specific accommodations that you will require. You should schedule an appointment with the instructor during the first or second week of the semester.

How can I tell my instructor about my disability?

After you and the DS Coordinator or Advisor decide on the accommodation(s) that may be appropriate for your disability, an “Accommodations Letter” will be prepared. This letter states those things that you are responsible for in the classroom, as well as what the instructor's responsibilities will be. The letter of accommodation is emailed to you and your instructor. Your instructor acknowledges receipt of the letter. If you need to, schedule an appointment with your instructors to discuss your accommodation(s) and how they will be implemented. Things work most smoothly when you both “have a plan.” You may still need to remind your instructor periodically that you have accommodations to implement so you can follow your plan.

I've been told that I should talk to my instructor(s) about my disability. What should I talk about?

Topics that generally need to be addressed with the instructor include: classroom accessibility and seating, test taking, and digital recording procedures (for students with learning disabilities, visual impairments, and mobility difficulties), reproduction of written materials and visual aids (for students with visual impairments and learning disabilities), and lecture procedures, such as lecture notes, or how to utilize an interpreter in the classroom (for students with hearing impairments and certain learning disabilities).

What if my instructor(s) asks questions about my disability?

If an instructor asks you questions about your disability, it is up to you how you choose to answer. People who don’t live with disabilities often learn about them from people who do. The more you can comfortably share about what works for you, the better your instructor will understand. On the other hand, if he or she wishes to find out more information concerning your disability from Disability Services, the information can be obtained from the Coordinator. However, this additional information can be obtained only after you have given your written permission.

What should I expect from Disability Services?

We believe that a person with a disability can succeed and can take control of his or her own education. We believe that self-understanding, self-advocacy and self-help are keys to empowerment. We believe that our role is to provide you with information about services and accommodations that are available, to explain the procedures to be followed, to coordinate the options that are chosen and to act as liaison, if needed, between the student and the College. We are determined to remove barriers to access. That means we’ll make every effort to have tools available for you to use (such as text readers and screen readers), clear pathways to your classes, advisors and tutors who can help you plan and understand your studies. We believe the rest is up to the student!

Contact Information

Senior Coordinator:
Maria Botello
MLK Sutton Learning Center (SLC), 102
Schedule Appointment:
Certified Advisor:
Margaret Houser
MLK Sutton Learning Center (SLC), 102
Schedule Appointment:

Office Hours:  
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (MTRF)
8:00 AM - 7:00 PM (Wednesday)

Southwest Campus
LIFEspace Center, ITC A-135
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (TR)