Students with Disabilities

There is no special application process for students with special needs. If you have a legally documented disability, our Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR), is here to help you with access and appropriate accommodations. Contact us for more information.

The OAR serves as the liaison with such agencies as ACCES-VR, and the Commission for the Visually Handicapped and Blind. The office assists agency counselors in monitoring clients’ progress, as well as assuring that necessary support services are available. If you are planning to use outside agency assistance we urge you to contact the agency well before your first semester to verify eligibility and determine services.

Contact Us 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who works in the Office of Accessibility Resources?
  • Nancy Carr, Director, 315-498-2834
  • Lori Doyle, Technical Assistant, - 315-498-2245
  • Brian Shepardson, Technical Soecialist, 315- 498-2426, Notetaking Coordinator
  • Daneen Brooks, Disability Specialist, 315-498-2190
  • Richelle Ciota, Disability Specialist, 315-498- 2535
  • James Berring, Coordinator of Adaptive Technology, 315-498-2053
  • Malisha Dewalt, Adaptive Technology Associate,

OAR is housed in the Student Services Division of the college. 

What documentation is required for a student to obtain services from OAR?

If the student had a disability in high school OAR requires the 504 plan, IEP and a copy of psychological testing. Other reports can be from a student’s physician, reports from ACCES-VR, Department of Veterans' Affairs, Worker's Compensation etc. The reports must detail the exact nature of the disability.  The OAR intake form is available on-line under Student Services on the college website.

Will OAR handle book and supply vouchers?

No, Questions regarding books and supplies should be directed to the Onondaga bookstore which is run by Barnes and Noble. Telephone number: 315-498-2246
Please note: College textbooks are so expensive some companies are beginning to rent them.

What about the College for Living?

The OAR is responsible for students taking college credit classes. College for Living is a separate program under Adult and Continuing Education and is staffed separately.

What types of disabilities does OAR serve?

OAR serves students with all types of disabilities. The two fastest growing groups are students with psychiatric disabilities and students on the spectrum.

What are the most popular programs at Onondaga?

The top ten programs at Onondaga are Humanities, Math and Science, Business, Criminal Justice, Human Services, Computer Studies, Nursing, Art, and Electronic Media.

What about the residence life halls? What if the student wants to live at Onondaga? 

Enrollment at Onondaga increased by 11% this year. Residence halls are filled on a first-come, first served basis. There are more students that want to live on campus than there are rooms. Freshman housing requests begin the first week of February. Students with disabilities can request accommodations but colleges are not responsible for personal care issues. Students with disabilities are expected to follow the Onondaga Student Code of Conduct. Onondaga has a zero alcohol tolerance policy.

Do Onondaga students all use bus transportation?

Full time Onondaga students are eligible for a reduced fare Centro bus pass. This does not mean that all Onondaga students can or do use the bus.  The bus does not run frequently, especially to further areas.  Depending on the student’s class schedule and personal obligations bus transportation may not be feasible for them. Many ACCES-VR staff authorize transportation monies for those students who cannot use Centro.

What types of programs are OAR students enrolled in?

OAR students are enrolled across the college. One third are in programs leading to employment through an associate’s degree and two-thirds are in transfer programs.

What services do OAR students receive?

Accommodation plans which detail each student’s services are determined jointly between the student and their OAR specialist. This plan is determined each semester. Certain services such as tutoring are free and available to all.  

How many students does OAR serve?

OAR serves about 800 students a year.

What are some trends in higher education and how do they effect OAR students?

On-line classes- 11 programs at Onondaga are now totally offered on-line.

Etext- Many students prefer their text in etext fashion,not just OAR students. This trend is expected to continue.

More use of adaptive technology programs, most incoming students arrive totally unfamiliar with adaptive technology. This requires the college to provide extensive
training and support in its use.

Does OAR work with the CAL Center?

OAR and the Career and Applied Learning Center work together. A new grant in collaboration with University of Tennessee and Syracuse University has begun its’ pilot year. The intent is to provide more employment information to college students with disabilities. 

Are there fees for OAR services?

No, but students must purchase books if they need e-text conversion.

When I transfer or get a job will my college transcript reflect my affiliation with OAR or use of accommodations?

No, participation in OAR is confidential and does not appear on your transcript.  

How can the OAR and ACCES-VR work together?

ACCES-VR counselors should refer clients attending Onondaga to the OAR.  Request that your client complete a release of information form if you will need information from Onondaga.  Send ACCES-VR vouchers as early as possible to avoid student stress. E-Text is very time consuming.  Many students are barely eking by and we hear stories of hunger and many other issues.