Accessibility Compliance Center & Education Support Services

ACCESS (Disability Services)

The ACCESS offices have in-person services from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact information is listed at the end of this webpage.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or a Mental Health Crises, please immediately call the Oakland County Crisis Center at 248-231-1127.

Time management skills are integral to a student’s success; as such, students are expected to successfully manage time in order to attend class and participate in activities. 

In the college setting, students who disclose a disability under the American with Disabilities Act, must still be considered “Otherwise Qualified” to attend. This means that a student with disability, is able to meet all the technical standards and objectives of their academic program. This includes the ability to communicate with instructors, complete all homework assignments and tests on the dates outlined in the Course Syllabus. When you register for a class, you are stating that you are willing and able to meet the course requirements.

New Accommodate System

New Accommodate
STEP 1:  The Oakland Community College ACCESS Offices have implemented a new accommodation management platform called Accommodate.  All enrolled students requesting ACCESS Services must create an Accommodate account. ACCESS Request Form
STEP 2:  Students must submit documentation that follows ACCESS Disability Documentation Requirements before they can be reviewed for accommodations.
Returning to Accommodate
Returning Students: Students who already have an Accommodate account and wish to request accommodations for another semester, visit your existing Accommodate account.

Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to register with Accommodate. 

Note:  Students who are currently receiving accommodations through an OCC ACCESS Office do not need to re-submit documentation of their disability.  New students must submit documentation before receiving accommodation services.

The Accessibility Compliance Center & Education Support Services (ACCESS) program is designed to provide accommodations and services to students with a documented disability diagnosed by a qualified, licensed professional as required by the postsecondary students with disabilities component of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

ACCESS Resources

Prospective Students

Students who are not yet admitted, still in high school, or have questions before completing their Accommodate account can schedule an appointment with an ACCESS office to learn more about ACCESS processes and requirements. Before scheduling an appointment with an ACCESS office, prospective students should review the following documents on the ACCESS website:

  • Disability Documentation Requirements
  • Student Rights & Responsibilities - Classroom Accommodations
  • Disability Accommodation Guidelines  

Students who will be entering OCC directly from high school should also review High School vs. College Accommodations.    

Prospective students who need interpreting or captioning services for meetings with an ACCESS Coordinator should request these services by emailing an ACCESS office at least 2 working days in advance.     

Students with hearing impairments are encouraged to use Michigan Relay at (800) 648-3777 to communicate with ACCESS and other OCC departments.  

Student Rights & Responsibilities: Classroom Accommodations

The College provides reasonable academic accommodations for students who have followed the procedure for disclosing and appropriately documenting their disability, in compliance with State and Federal regulations.

In order to receive classroom accommodations at Oakland Community College, students must:

  • Provide current documentation that cites an active diagnosis and functional limitations for classroom and academic work.
  • Request accommodations through ACCESS each semester after registering for classes. Disability accommodations are not retroactive. They are provided from the date they are approved and communicated by ACCESS to faculty through the Notification of Accommodations process.
  • Alert the ACCESS Office if a schedule change occurs after enacting that semester’s accommodations.
  • Fulfill the objectives and requirements for each class, including attendance, note taking (if possible), abiding by due dates and adhering to the OCC Student Code of Conduct.
  • Students must be otherwise qualified and must meet the technical standards of the program they are pursuing. 
  • Discuss approved accommodation arrangements with instructors. Schedule testing accommodation appointments with ACCESS at least two (2) business days in advance of each exam. If using a reader or scribe, schedule testing appointments at least one (1) week before the exam.
  • Inform the ACCESS Office if approved accommodations are not being met in the classroom.


  • The College may request additional or updated documentation in order to provide accommodations or services.
  • The College honors the confidentiality of student records, including disability documentation, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • The College is committed to timely delivery of approved accommodations notification to faculty.
  • Only disability accommodations approved by the Oakland Community College ACCESS office will be provided in OCC classes.
  • The College will not discriminate against any student regardless of disability, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin as required by state and federal laws.
  • Accommodations are assigned on a case-by-case basis. 

While we can work to develop strategies for all potentially-eligible students for academic success and provide internal and external referrals as appropriate, Limited English Proficiency does not constitute a disability. 

OCC does not provide personal assistants.

The Americans with Disabilities Act supports that all students meet the technical standards, or functional requirements, of their academic program.  Therefore, lab parameters that constitute essential components of the program of study, and lab parameters concerning safety, will be upheld.

Student Rights & Responsibilities: ASL Interpreting and Captioning Services 

  • Interpreters or captionists are provided to students to facilitate communication in class and for OCC course related activities. The interpreter or captionist does not: assist with course work; provide tutoring; advisement, counseling, advocacy; services of a personal nature; or other such services.
  • Students must request interpreting or captioning from the ACCESS office a minimum of 10 business days in advance. (However, more notice is appreciated.)
  • ACCESS interpreting or captioning services are provided for OCC class related activities only. 
  • ACCESS interpreting and captioning services require regular attendance at the times ACCESS has assigned the interpreter or captionist.
  • If students will be unable to attend a scheduled class, they are responsible for notifying the ACCESS office 2 business days in advance.
  • If students arrive more than 30 minutes late to class or do not attend the meeting or class for which the service was requested and the ACCESS office was not notified in advance, the session will be regarded as a no-show. The interpreter or captionist will have no obligation to remain for that session.
  • If two (2) no-shows are received in a given semester, ACCESS interpreting or captioning services will be suspended for that semester until students meet with an ACCESS Coordinator. The ACCESS Coordinator will discuss and review the situation with the student at this meeting. If interpreting or captioning services are still needed, the ACCESS Coordinator will reinstate services after securing the student’s agreements to follow ACCESS policy.
  • Students must notify ACCESS immediately if there is a change in class enrollment status or if ACCESS interpreting or captioning services are no longer needed for the semester.
  • Students assume responsibility for their academic performance. Interpreters and captionists are not responsible for student class work, test scores, or grades.

Note the policies presented above may change or be modified in the future. ACCESS will notify students, interpreters, and captionists if and when such changes are made. 

High School vs. College Accommodations

Differences Between
High School & College Accommodations
for Students with Disabilities

Applicable Laws

High School College
I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) A.D.A. (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
I.D.E.A. is about high school completion. A.D.A. is about access.

Required Documentation 

High School College
I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) and/or 504 Plan High school I.E.P. and 504 may not be sufficient.
Documentation guidelines specify information needed
for each category of disability
School provides evaluation at no cost to student. The college does not provide an evaluation. Student is
responsible for obtaining an evaluation from resources
outside of the college. 
Documentation focuses on determining whether student
is eligible for services based on specific disability
categories in I.D.E.A.
Documentation must provide information on specific
functional limitations, and demonstrate the need for
specific accommodations.


High School College
Student is identified by the school and is supported by
parents and teachers
Student must self-identify to an ACCESS Office 
Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations
belongs to the school
Primary responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging
accommodations belongs to the student
Teachers approach you if they believe you need
Instructors are usually open and helpful, but most
expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance

 Parental Role

High School College
Parent has access to student records and can participate
in the accommodation process
Parent does not have access to student records without
student’s written consent
Parent advocates for student Student advocates for self


High School College
Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace
of assignments
Instructors do not modify curriculum design or alter
assignment deadlines.
You are expected to read short assignments that are
then discussed, and often re-taught, in class.
You are assigned substantial amounts of reading and
writing which may not be directly addressed in class
You seldom need to read anything more than once, and
sometimes listening in class is enough
You need to review class notes and text material

Grades and Tests

High School College
I.E.P. or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading.

Grading and test format changes (i.e. multiple choice vs. essay)
are generally not available. Accommodations to HOW tests are given (extended time, test proctors) are available when supported by disability documentation.

Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material. Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.
Makeup tests are often available. Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them
Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates. Instructors expect you to read, save, and consult the course
syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected
of you, when it is due, and how you will be graded.

Study Responsibilities

High School College
Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an I.E.P. or 504 plan.

Generally, students with disabilities should use tutoring resources available to all students through the Academic
Support Centers (ASCs).

Your time and assignments are structured by others You manage your own time and complete assignments
You may study outside of class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation. You need to study at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class
for each hour in class.

Temporary Accommodations 

Students with temporary injuries (such as a broken limb, concussion, or surgery recovery) may receive services through ACCESS on a temporary basis. Students seeking temporary accommodations must follow ACCESS Disability Documentation Requirements. Temporary accommodations, if appropriate, are typically approved for up to 1 semester.   

Guidelines for Use of Memory Cards and Calculators as Accommodations

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act guidelines for testing accommodations are as follows:

Testing entities must ensure that the test scores of individuals with disabilities accurately reflect the individual’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever skill the exam or test is intended to measure. A testing entity must administer its exam so that it accurately reflects an individual’s aptitude, achievement level, or the skill that the exam purports to measure, rather than the individual’s impairment (except where the impaired skill is one the exam purports to measure).

Memory Cards
While the use of 3 x 5 note-cards can be acceptable, information contained shall not fundamentally alter the course or what is being measured.

Student's responsibility: Please provide your completed 3 x 5 note-card to your instructor at least two days prior to the exam for review.

Instructor’s responsibility: Please review content of 3 x 5 note-card and remove information that may fundamentally alter the course or what is being measured.

If the exam is being proctored outside of the classroom (ACCESS, ASC, Testing Center), send the approved card with the exam to the proctor entity. Instructors must complete an EDU-54-W form for accommodated exams proctored outside of the classroom. The form is available on Inside OCC.

If the objective of an exam is to measure the understanding of and ability to perform math computations (such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) it is not appropriate to permit a calculator as a testing accommodation.

If the object of the exam is to measure the ability to solve algebra equations, for example, and the ability to perform basic math computations is secondary to the objective of the exam, then a basic calculator may be an appropriate testing accommodation. Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Technology Requirements for OCC Courses 

Students who enroll in online courses are responsible for obtaining technology that will allow them to access the online learning management system and resources.   The ACCESS Offices do not loan technology for online learning and do not offer technical support for online learning technology. 

All online and many on-site courses require students to use D2L, the online learning management system at OCC.  D2L has a number of built-in accommodations for timed tests, assignments, and online forums.  

Contact the ACCESS office for information about electronic and audio versions of textbooks and supplementary materials.  

Students interested in exploring free text-to-speech applications for online class materials may want to try Natural Reader and those who are blind or low-vision interested in exploring screen-reading software may want to try NVDA.  Microsoft Office 365 is available free of charge to current students and contains the Read Aloud text-to-speech feature.   

ACCESS Policies and Guidelines

Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (Board Policy) 

Board Policy

Policy Type: Board
Policy Title: Disability Accommodation
Related Policy: Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment

Policy Statement
A. Students
The College shall accommodate the disabilities of students so as to enable them to participate in educational programs and activities as required by law. The scope and nature of accommodations are to be address through policies and guidelines of the ACCESS Department.

B. Employees
Under applicable law, the College must accommodate employees and job applicants with disabilities provided the accommodation is reasonable and does not cause the College an undue hardship. Employees and applicants seeking an accommodation should contact the EOC Officer as soon as the need for the accommodation becomes known. Under Michigan law, if a request for an accommodation is not made within 182 days of the need being known, the obligation to grant an accommodation under state law may be waived. Learn more...

Information Technologies Accessibility Policy 

Administrative Policy 

Policy Type: Information Technologies
Policy Title: Information Technologies Accessibility Policy
Office Responsible: Information Technologies
Related Policies/Procedures: Information Technologies Accessibility Procedure
Related Laws: Section 504 & 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

Oakland Community College (OCC) is committed to making its information technology ("IT") resources, which includes all information provided though the College's website, online learning or e-learning environment and its learning management systems, accessible to students, prospective students, employees, guests and visitors with disabilities, particularly those with visual, hearing and manual impairments or who otherwise require the use of assistive technology to access information provided through the College IT resources.  Learn more ... 

Accessibility of Materials

Administrative Policy

Policy Type: Learning Resources 
Policy Title: Accessibility of Materials
Related Laws: ADA (Sections 504 and 508)

Policy Statement
The College promotes collaboration between departments and disciplines to provide appropriate and reasonable accessibility to instructional material, information, and activities.  Learn more...


Recording of Class Sessions

Administrative Policy

Policy Type: Student Services
Policy Title: Recording of Class Sessions and Distribution of Course Materials
Related Policy: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99);

Policy Statement
This Policy provides basic guidance and directives regarding how to protect privacy and data while utilizing approved remote software tools for face to face or virtual modalities. This Policy describes the approval processes for and allowable uses of recorded class sessions, as well as the distribution of course materials. OCC is committed to protecting the privacy of faculty, students, and employees while working or participating in educational programs in all modes of instruction. Learn more...

Service Animals Procedure

Administrative Procedure

Procedure Type:  Risk Management 
Procedure Title: Service Animals Procedure
Office Responsible: Environmental Health & Safety/Risk Management 

Related Policy: Service Animals Safety in Laboratories Guidance for Students, Faculty & Staff

Related Laws: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended in 2010; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as applicable; U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division's 2015 "Frequently Asked Questions about Service  Animals"; Michigan PA 144 of 2015; Michigan PA 75 of 2022

Oakland Community College recognizes the importance of Service Animals to individuals with disabilities and has established the following guidelines for Service Animals to assist people with disabilities. These guidelines adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) of 1990 as amended in 2010, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as applicable, the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division’s 2015 “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals”, Michigan PA 144 of 2015, and Michigan PA 75 of 2022. These guidelines ensure that people with disabilities who require the use of Service Animals receive the benefit of the work or tasks performed by such animals.  
Learn more ... 

Service Animals in Laboratories 

Administrative Policy

Policy Type: Environmental Health and Safety/Risk Management and ACCESS
Policy Title: Service Animals Safety in Laboratories Guidance for Students, Faculty & Staff
Office Responsible: Environmental Health and Safety/Risk Management and ACCESS
Related Procedure: Service Animals Procedure
Related Laws: Americans with Disabilities Act as amended in 2010; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Michigan PA 144 of 2015 

This guidance is to be used in conjunction with the College’s current Service Animals Procedure which also provides the definitions of Service Animals. The College strives to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all of its students, faculty, and staff. These guidelines adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended in 2010, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as applicable, and the Michigan PA 144 of 2015. The College is committed to allowing persons with disabilities the use of a Service Animal on campus to facilitate their full participation and equal access to the College’s programs and activities. Learn more...

Disability Accommodations Guidelines

How disability services are determined
Oakland Community College (OCC) is committed to removing barriers to education that may be experienced by students with disabilities by providing appropriate academic support and accommodations. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulate the provision of services and accommodations for students with disabilities in higher education. The purpose of accommodations is to provide equal access to learning.

Students with disabilities must be "otherwise qualified"
Although these federal laws protect qualified students with disabilities from being denied the opportunity of participating at the college level, no law requires colleges or universities to accept or accommodate everyone who has a disability. The ADA indicates that applicants with disabilities must:

● Be able to satisfy the standards required by the university or college for all students. For example, if all students must have a certain high school GPA to be admitted, then the student with a disability must also have that GPA.
● Be able to perform the "essential academic and technical standards of the program with (or without) reasonable accommodations." For example, if the students at OCC are required to take certain courses in order to meet the graduation requirements, then the student with a disability should be able to also meet those requirements, either without support, or with the appropriate educational supports and accommodations.
● When provided with reasonable accommodations, students with disabilities must be able to maintain college level qualifications as referenced in the OCC College Catalog.

Reasonable accommodations provide access to the college educational programs and services
Under the ADA, students do not have to disclose a disability. However, disclosure is required at OCC for students to receive accommodations. Signed comprehensive medical documentation or test evaluations that indicate the nature of the disability and functional limitations of the individual are required. Guidelines for the documentation can be obtained from the Accessibility Compliance Center and Educational Support Services (ACCESS) offices. The ACCESS Coordinators will review the documentation, determine eligibility for services, and then coordinate the accommodations, auxiliary aids, academic support, and/or referrals as deemed appropriate, necessary, and within the current resources of the College.

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines what accommodation requests are "not reasonable"
Accommodations are not required or given if they would cause the college to compromise the essential elements of the curriculum, or if they weaken the academic standards. Accommodations are also not reasonable if the accommodations create a safety hazard for the requesting student and/or other students in the class. Post-secondary education does not offer Special Education or curriculum modification.

The Americans with Disabilities Act also states that colleges need not provide accommodations if it would create an "undue burden"
OCC is committed to providing whatever accommodations are necessary and possible, given the resources of the College. However, sometimes the funds or resources might not be available if the accommodation is extremely expensive, or if the accommodation would change the fundamental nature of the program or create a problem that is considered an "undue burden."

Oakland Community College students who experience disabilities have rights
Students with disabilities have the right to equal access in all courses, programs, services, jobs, activities and facilities, and to be treated with due respect in the college environment.

Medical and counseling information is kept confidential
The student receiving services or accommodations decides what information is to be kept confidential and what is to be released to specific individuals. A federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), regulates release of student information. Consent forms are available for students who would like to disclose specific information about their disability or needs to professors, administrators, or parents/spouse. FERPA allows the ACCESS Coordinators to communicate basic information with other college personnel on an as-needed basis. Accommodation information is provided to instructors of each class for which an accommodation is needed.

Oakland Community College students who experience disabilities also have responsibilities
Students who receive support from the ACCESS Offices have the responsibility to:

● Meet the qualifications to be admitted to the College and follow the Student Code of Conduct.
● Be proactive and self-directed when needing an accommodation.
● Demonstrate and/or document (from an appropriate professional) how the disability limits participation in courses, programs, services, jobs, activities, or facilities.
● Complete all forms that are required for services.
● Maintain communication with the ACCESS Office and other relevant OCC personnel as indicated in the student's individualized accommodation plan.
● Keep all appointments with faculty, counselors, and the ACCESS Office.

Resolving disagreements
Any disagreement concerning eligibility for services or specific accommodations should first be addressed with the ACCESS manager. In the event that a resolution cannot be attained, the student may request a review of the disagreement by submitting a formal appeal in writing to the Dean of Learning Resources.   

Oakland Community College is committed to equal opportunity for all students and employees.

Oakland Community College does not discriminate, and will not tolerate discrimination, on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability as those terms are defined under applicable law, in the administration of any of its education programs, activities, or with respect to admissions and employment.

Responsibilities of Personal Care Assistants in the Classroom 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW  Personal assistants for students with disabilities are hired by families, students, or outside agencies to assist students with non-academic issues. Approval from an ACCESS office is required before a personal assistant may accompany a student to a classroom. Personal assistants are approved through ACCESS but are not the responsibility of or monitored by ACCESS. 


  • Tend to the ADLs (activities of daily living) and/or medical needs of the student. 
  • Accompany the student in the classroom as a personal, medical-related aid. 
  • Register with an OCC campus ACCESS office each semester. 
  • Agree to the parameters set forth for personal assistants. 


  • Interacting with class materials or the instructional process. 
  • Participating in class activities and instruction (including testing and tutoring).
  • Helping the student to whom you are assigned (or any other student) with his/her homework and in-class assignments. 

POLICY CONCERNING ABSENCES  Instructors need to be aware if a personal assistant will not accompany a student on any specific day. Students are responsible for notifying their instructor when a personal assistant will be absent. 

Contact Information

ACCESS main line:  (248) 341-2380

Auburn Hills - Room B-112B
Ammie Helling, MA, LPC

Highland Lakes - Room WH-220
Shawn M. DiCicco, MA, LPC

Orchard Ridge - Room K-111
Michelle McLane, MA

Royal Oak - Room B-106
Steven P. Messina, MA, LPC

Southfield - Room A-211
Steven P. Messina, MA, LPC

ACCESS Office Hours:
Monday-Friday: 8:30 am - 5 pm

Southfield ACCESS Hours: Monday - Thursday: 8:30 am - 5 pm.