Program offers aid, guidance

Disabled Student Programs and Services provides support to students on campus

By Mayra Garcia, staff writer/ illustrator

The Disabled Students Programs and Services Office provides the extra support needed for students with physical and psychological disabilities.

DSPS helps increase opportunities for students throughout the semester by providing guidance through programs and an array of support services.

Though DSPS offers assistance for students at Contra Costa College who need it, many students are unaware of the available help.

“A syllabus tells students where to go if they have a disability or feel they have a disability,” Richard Stollings, senior instructional aide, said. “Students do not take advantage of the information presented to them, and many times they are unaware of the aid that is out there.”

It is unfortunate that students walk into the DSPS Office mid- semester seeking help, he said. While workers in the DSPS do all they can to help at any time in the semester, he said it would make it easier on the students if they came in earlier.

Accommodating to the students’ needs is an attribute Nichole Solis, DSPS student worker, has developed and found pleasure in doing.

Students often come unprepared and so it makes helping them a bit difficult, Solis said. Making sure they come in with verification of their disability can expedite the process, she said.

When walking into DSPS there are plenty of workers who students can talk to for assistance.

Yvonne Farr, coordinator of Supported Education Services, said, “I am always here to help ease the (burden of the) college experience.”

Farr helps students by referring them to community resources. Big on advocacy, she said she likes to help close the gaps students are dealing with and does all she can to assist them with their various personal challenges.

Only at times does Farr find herself overwhelmed. Generally she helps students with simpler tasks. Students can receive help registering for classes or are referred to other areas to get help, she said.

Students are constantly coming in, sometimes only looking to be heard, she said. Hearing them out is important in times of stress, she said, and by understanding their issues she can better help students figure out what exactly what they need to do to get help.

Lending a hand has been the ultimate goal for DSPS workers. In order to further provide assistance, a Behavioral Assessment team has been organized.

“Our campus is not equipped with mental health counselors,” Single Stop program Coordinator Teresa Archega said.

The team, comprised of CCC staff, teaches how to better approach the areas of professional development when handling mental health concerns, Archega said.

“We are neither specialists nor professionals,” she said, highlighting the mental health information packet commonly used as reference material while assisting students.

She said the packet serves some good in helping the team to further help students.