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Disability Services and Programs for Students (DSPS) Office

We offer specialized services and academic accommodations are provided to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities to help them achieve successful completion of their college goals.

DSPS Services, Programs, and Info

DSPS Alternative Media

The Alternate Media Office provides support for students who need instructional materials such as textbooks made available in alternative formats. Upon DSPS Counselor approval, receive digital copies and in some circumstances, audio (through LearningAlly), braille, or enlargement of your required textbooks. Here is a helpful Alt Media Checklist for Students to guide you through the request process.

Students must submit proof of purchase to the Assistive Technology Lab staff for requested texts in order to receive alternate media.

A DSPS Counselor needs to approve alternate media as an accommodation. Once approved, the next step is to meet with Alternative Media Staff to complete the Alternate Media Policies and Procedures Form and the Alternate Media Request Form. Once your request is received, we check to see if we already have the media in your preferred format. If we do not have the media, we request it from the publisher. We can also convert media to your preferred format.
Once we have received counselor approval, your proof of purchase for the requested media, and the media in your preferred format, we will contact you for delivery.

Processing time on media will vary by type, availability, and by the order in which your request was received. For alternative media inquiries, contact

Supported eBook and Document Readers

Kurzweil 3000

Platform:  Windows & Mac
Price: Free for approved ARC students, $1,395 for individual license

  • Text to speech using high-quality Acapela voices
  • Embed audio, notes, highlighting, and other notation into the text
  • Integrated dictionary, thesaurus, and translator
  • Access to Firefly cloud-based library
  • Scan directly into Kurzweil 3000 and use text to speech
  • Create audio books using text to speech
  • Other, numerous learning tools

Download:  Go to the download page for Kurzweil 3000.  Note: You must have an account created by Alternative Media to use this software.

Kurzweil Firefly

Platform:  Web-based and iPad
Price:  Free for approved ARC students

  • Web-based reader with cloud-based library
  • Content can be uploaded by the user and by American River College
  • Aside from Adobe Flash, no software is needed in order to utilize the reader on any computer
  • Text to speech using high-quality Acapella voices
  • View notation added in Kurzweil 3000
  • Import documents from Google Drive, Bookshare, and your computer
  • Highlight text
  • Integrated dictionary, thesaurus, and translator

Firefly Login:  Access the Firefly login page.  Note:  You must have an account created by Alternative Media to access Kurzweil Firefly.

Kindle Reader

Platform: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Kindle
Price:  Free

  • Make notes and highlight text
  • Text to speech
  • Access to any text in the Kindle Store (for students purchasing textbooks through the Kindle Store)

Download:  Download the Kindle Reader for Windows. To download the Kindle reader on other platforms, please visit the App Store (iOS and Mac) or Play Store (Android).

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Platform:  Windows and Mac
Price:  Free

  • Reads PDFs
  • Capable of magnifying documents
  • Text to speech Speech capabilities

Download:  Visit the download page for Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Microsoft Word

Platform: Windows and Mac (also available for iOS and Android without built-in accessibility features)
Price:  Varies

  • Rich text editor
  • Magnify text
  • Text to speech

Read instructions to enable text to speech in Microsoft Word for Windows
Read instructions to enable text to speech in Microsoft Word for Mac.

Voice Dream

Platform: iOS and Android
Price: About $10

  • Text to speech with a variety of high-quality voices
  • Capable of magnifying documents
  • Includes the ability to draft documents within the app

Product Page:  Visit the Voice Dream product page.

DSPS Testing Services

Please follow directions below, and watch the "How to Use DSPS Testing Services" video.

How to Receive DSPS Testing Services

  1. See a DSPS Counselor at the beginning of the semester. Accommodations must be authorized by a DSPS Counselor each semester because your classes change each semester.
  2. You will need to bring a letter of accommodation to your instructor. The letter identifies you as a student with a disability but does not specify your disability, and it provides the instructor a list of accommodations you have been authorized to use. A pink Instructor Authorization Form will be attached to the letter.
  3. You will need to provide both documents to your instructor to review. The instructor must acknowledge and authorize the information. Instructors are under no obligation to use DSPS Testing Services and are welcome to proctor their students. However, once authorized, the student is legally entitled to receive the accommodations either by the instructor or the DSPS department. Once the Instructor Authorization form has been signed, the student should return it to the front counter in DSPS to file in their records.

DSPS Resources for Instructors

Please see the forms link below to access the Instructor Authorization Form and Exam Cover Sheet.

Instructor Guidelines

Your DSPS student will first present you with a letter of accommodation and a pink Instructor Authorization Form for you to acknowledge and sign. If the student is taking an exam at the DSPS Center, the in-class time is critical to calculate the student's allowable time for the exam. Always initial (rather than check off) accommodations. All exams must include each student's name. It is important that you list a contact number on the Exam Cover Sheet if we need to call you regarding a question on the exam or other allowances not authorized. The front counter is student employed, and they need the Exam Cover Sheet to follow your instructions.

DSPS Exam Envelopes

We provide envelopes for instructors or students who are delivering exams. It is very important that you complete the information on the envelope to assure proper delivery. All tests sent with students must be sealed.

How to Email Exams

Email with an exam cover sheet for instructions of exam allowances and returning of the exam. A proctor is always at this email address during office hours to print and file your exams. Do not send to DSPS email or DSPS-ALL email. Should you do that, the email will be delivered to all DSPS employees of the Los Rios Community College District. Also, email exams 24 hours prior to the date of the exam. Important: type all test instructions on the first paragraph of the first page for your student to read.

View the DSPS Student Guidelines handout.

If you sense that a student may benefit from DSPS, please send them to the DSPS check-in counter to schedule an appointment with a DSPS counselor. Together, we will ensure the American River College student's success in their education.

Contact information

Phone: (916) 484-8944
Fax: (916) 484-8888

Students with Hearing Impairments

Support services include the following:

  • Sign Language Interpreters
  • Real-Time Captioners
  • In-class Aide (such as notetakers)
  • A limited number of assistive listening devices and tape recorders

Requests for support services

Requests must be made through the DSPS office by completing a Letter of Accommodation Request form, available at the front counter in the DSPS office.

Interpreters and Real-Time Captioners are also available for class-related assignments such as orientation meetings, tutoring sessions, meetings with instructors, and other college-related activities.

Please inform In-Class Support Services located in DSPS office under the following circumstances:

  • You are not going to class.
  • You add or drop a class. (You are responsible for adding and dropping your own classes.)
  • Your classroom number changes.
  • You change your address or phone number.
  • You need an Interpreter or RTC for any field trips or meetings with your teacher.


Interpreters help to communicate what the instructor and students are saying. Often, the interpreters need to sit in front of the classroom to hear the instructor clearly.

Real-Time Captioners

The captioners will give you the full lecture notes. The notes will be put in your folder at DSPS. If you do not show up for class, you will not be given the notes from that day. Also, if you leave the class early, the captioner will not stay in the class. Please do not give your notes to other students from the class.

No Shows

Please call In-Class Support Services for Interpreter and RTC services or In-Class Aide Services if you are not going to be in class. If you are late for class, your Interpreters, RTC, or In-Class Aide will wait 15 minutes for an hour class and 30 minutes for classes over an hour.

Two no shows in a row for a class or tutoring session without informing In-Class Support Services and your services will be temporarily discontinued for that class. These services include Sign Language Interpreting, Real-Time Captioning, or In-Class Aide. If you would like services reinstated, you must schedule an appointment to meet with a DSPS Counselor or Coordinator to discuss student responsibilities and your academic progress. Please note that if services are reinstated, the same provider may or may not be available, so a replacement provider may be scheduled.

Faculty Tips to Support Students with Hearing Impairments

Visual Aids are a tremendous help to students with hearing impairments. Make full use of dry erase boards, film projectors, films, diagrams, and printed materials. If possible, write key vocabulary on the board or overhead projector. Words such as here, there, these, and this one, which do not identify the actual article or subject, do not translate well. Using phrases such as the box, the square, the color, which are much more visual cues.

Notetakers are often necessary because students with hearing impairments must constantly watch the interpreter. Notetakers may be fellow students from the class who are volunteers or people from outside of the class who are paid by DSPS. If you have a suggestion for an appropriate notetaker, please let the student know and the student will explain the process. If we are unable to obtain a notetaker from the class, In-Class Support Services will attempt to provide notetaking services.

Tutors will be provided upon request through In-Class Support Services.


As an academic adjustment or accommodation, students with hearing impairments may require extended time for written tests. Our office is available to proctor tests if requested. Students should meet with their counselors to discuss specific accommodations. If students need to take the test or quiz outside the classroom, their counselor needs to fill out a proctor form that requires your signature. Once the form is filled out, students will return the form to DSPS. DSPS will be more than happy to answer any questions regarding testing accommodations

Communication Strategies to Use with Students Who Have Hearing Impairments

  • Address the students directly. For example, you can say, “What do you think about this chapter?” rather than what they think about this chapter. The interpreter or RTC will facilitate communication for you and the student.
  • Interpreters or RTCs are required to interpret and record everything that is occurring in and around the assignment setting. This includes the instructor’s lecture and other students’ comments. Interpreters will verbalize comments from the students with impairments. To maintain their neutrality, Interpreters or RTCs do not participate in classroom activities.
  • Interpreter or RTC services are provided free for any college-related function such as speeches, instructor conferences, tutoring sessions, special events, etc. Interpreters will also be provided for field trips, if available. Students are responsible for making arrangements through In-Class Support Services at least two weeks in advance.
  • Interpreters will interpret what the instructor and students are saying. Often, the interpreters need to sit in front of the classroom to hear the instructor clearly. A copy of handouts can also be greatly beneficial so that the interpreters can glance at the handout and more fully understand the context of the lecture.

Using Interpreters for Quizzes and Tests

Students with hearing impairments have the right to request an interpreter for tests and quizzes. The interpreter never provides assistance in answering the questions.

Instructors, please be advised: If a student has two consecutive unexcused absences, support services will be suspended for that class. Students must contact DSPS in order for services to be reinstated. The Interpreters and Real-Time Captioners working in your classroom should not have access to personal information regarding the student or their progress in their classes.

If you have any questions, please call In-Class Support Services Specialist: Mike Warner

Videophone (with translation to voice available): (916) 993-3087

Learning Disabilities (LD)

Welcome to the Learning Disabilities Program Office. Our commitment is to provide every student with learning disabilities access to all academic programs and college resources by providing assessment, accommodations, and services.

Learning strategies and support are available to students individually, in groups, and in classrooms. In addition, the LD staff works with faculty to provide assistive technology for students.

About Learning Disabilities

A learning disability is a condition that interferes with an individual's ability to store, process, or produce information. Learning disabilities can affect one's ability to read, write, speak, spell, compute math, and reason, and also affect an individual's attention, memory, coordination, social skills, and emotional maturity. (From Title 5: California Community Colleges)

Students with learning disabilities face problems with information processing. Academic adjustments such as the way a course section is conducted, use of auxiliary equipment (such as taped textbooks, computers, and lecture notes), extra time to take tests, and recording of lectures would be some of the ways in which instructors can help students with learning disabilities.

California Community College Eligibility Model

There is a statewide operational definition of learning disabilities used in the California Community Colleges. The Learning Disabilities definition has six eligibility components, including an Intake Screening Component, four assessment-based components, and an eligibility component.

How to Receive LD Services

If you meet the California Community College Learning Disabilities Criteria, you will be eligible to receive academic accommodations.

Students with Prior Testing: Make an appointment with LD to discuss prior testing
 Bring current LD Testing records to appointment

Students without Prior Testing: Make an appointment with LD to complete application and conduct intake

If your application is accepted, you will complete the LD evaluation process.

After the testing process is completed, an appointment will be made to review results

Contact LD

Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm

To contact our Learning Disabilities office, please contact the following:
Kathleen Cronin, LD Coordinator: (916) 484-8756 or email
Anita Kuharski, LD Student Personnel Assistant: (916) 484-8938 or email
For fax info, please contact: (916) 484-8888


We are located in the DSPS building in the North Entrance of the Student Services Building.

FROM PARKING LOT A/B: Go west, past the Student Center and Library. DSPS is located north of the Student Services building.
FROM PARKING LOT C/D: Go south, pass the Arts and Science building or Fine and Applied Arts Offices. DSPS is located north of the Student Services building.

Academic Accommodation Appeals Proccess

Either the student or the instructor can appeal the academic accommodation recommended by the DSPS staff.

1. Appeal to the College Accommodation Appeals Board

(i)   An appeal is filed with the appropriate dean within five instructional days after the issuance of the Accommodations Letter.
(ii)   Appeals are heard by the Accommodation Appeals Board.
(iii)  The chair of the Accommodation Appeals Board issues a written decision within ten instructional days of the filing of the appeal.
(iv)  If the student or instructor disagrees with the decision of the Accommodation Appeals Board, a second appeal may be filed with the Dean of Student Support Services.

2. Appeal to the Associate Vice President of Student Success

(i) An appeal is filed with the Dean of Student Support Services within five instructional days after issuance of the decision by the Accommodation Appeals Board.
(ii) The Vice President of Student Services shall confer with the Section 504 Coordinator and shall review the record and issue an opinion within ten instructional days of the requested appeal. The decision of the Vice President of Student Services shall be final.

DSPS Student Rights and Responsibilities

DSPS Student Rights

  1. As a qualified student with a verified disability, the student has the right to receive reasonable academic accommodations and support services in order to have access to instruction and program participation without any fundamental alteration of the educational program. The college faculty and staff shall not automatically reject an accommodation unless other effective more feasible ones exist, or the identified accommodations have been determined to lower academic standards or otherwise fundamentally alter the nature of the program in question. American River College faculty and administration will establish fundamental academic requirements in a reasoned, deliberative manner utilizing relevant expertise.
  2. Participation in Disabled Students Programs and Services shall be entirely voluntary.
  3. Receiving DSPS support services or DSPS instruction shall not preclude a student from also participating in any other course, program or activity offered by ARC.
  4. All records maintained by DSPS personnel pertaining to students with disabilities shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure.
  5. Failure in the responsible use of DSPS services or to adhere to written procedures and responsibilities pertaining to the service will initiate a written notification from DSPS of possible suspension of the service. The student will be invited to discuss the issue in a meeting with a DSPS counselor. Written notice will be sent to the student before any action is taken to suspend services.
  6. A student may file a formal complaint or grievance regarding discrimination on the basis of disability by contacting the college's Vice President of Student Services or the campus ADA/504 Coordinator. The student may also contact the California Office of Civil Rights in San Francisco.

DSPS Student Responsibilities

  1. Initiate the request for academic accommodations and/or support services by making an appointment with a DSPS counselor.
  2. Provide DSPS with the information, documentation, and/or forms (medical, educational, etc.) deemed necessary to verify a disability.
  3. Meet with a DSPS counselor to complete proctoring forms and requests for note taking, aides, and e-text for each class. This process must be repeated each semester.
  4. Meet academic standards established by American River College.
  5. Comply with the Student Code of Conduct adopted by American River College.
  6. Use DSPS services responsibly and adhere to written procedures and responsibilities.


ADA Compliance Officer:
Cheryl Sears

Kolleen Ostgaard 

Admin. Asst.:
Ana Lukawski
DSPS Joe Sjolund (Interim)

Learning Disabilities - TBD

Supervisor: Clint Allison
Video Phone: (916) 993-3087
Fax: (916) 484-8888

Remote Services


Monday, Thursday, Friday:
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Tuesday to Wednesday:
8:00 am to 7:00 pm


North Entrance of the Welcome and Support Center Building