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Disabilities Support Services

John Tyler Community College has an institutional commitment to serving students with disabilities and to assisting those students in pursuit of their education beyond high school.

To support this commitment:

  • The College has designated a counselor as a disabilities support services specialist at each campus.
  • The College’s campuses and physical environment are fully accessible.

Support services available:

  • Testing Accommodations to include placement testing
  • Instructional accommodation plans
  • Consultation services for faculty and staff
  • Assistance with registration
  • Career counseling
  • Books in alternate format
  • Assistive Technology

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

Service Animals

Service Animal: a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind; alerting people who are deaf; pulling a wheelchair; alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure; reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications; calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack; or performing other duties. Service Animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals under the ADA.

The student (handler) or individual (handler) is not required to register a service animal with the Disability Support Services (DSS) Office nor may the College require documentation for review by the DSS office before the dog is allowed on campus. An individual with a service animal is not required to obtain permission to bring the service dog on campus. Service dogs are not designated on the student’s Individual Accommodation Plan (IAP). Students who have service animals may or may not have other accommodations.

When a student appears with a service animal, the college may ask only two questions:

1.)  Is the dog required because of a disability?

2.) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

These are the only two questions that may be asked. The college may not inquire as to the nature of the student’s disability. The College may not attempt to verify or confirm that the animal performs the service indicated by the student (handler).

The student (handler) or individual (handler) is expected to maintain control of the animal at all times. If the presence of a service animal causes a disruption, please call the DSS office on either campus as soon as possible to enlist their assistance in resolving the matter.

If there are any other problems or concerns about having a service animal present-i.e. allergies or fear of the animal- please contact one of the DSS Professional Counselors on either campus as soon as possible to their assistance in resolving the matter.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

Emotional Support Animal (ESA): an animal that provides emotional or other support that mitigates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. An ESA is not a Service Animal and thus not entitled to the same privileges as Service Animals. For example, the companionship of a dog may reduce the anxiety level of a war veteran empowering the veteran to attend college. ESAs are not trained to perform a specific task.

Emotional Support Animals (“ESA”) are not service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and John Tyler Community College (JTCC) may deny ESA/pets on campus.  JTCC shall treat any ESA request as an accommodation request under ADA guidelines and determine whether it is reasonable.  As with all accommodation requests, the JTCC DSS office will engage in an interactive process with the student making the request.

An individual who wishes to bring an ESA to campus must obtain approval through the College’s DSS office on either campus and, if approved, the ESA accommodation must be listed on the student’s Instructional Accommodation Plan (IAP). The IAP must be presented to the instructor before the ESA will be allowed in the classroom.

As with a service animal, the student (handler) is expected to maintain control of the ESA at all times. If the presence of the animal causes a disruption, or if there are other concerns, contact the DSS office at either campus as soon as possible for assistance in resolving the matter.

See the Disabilities Support Services Handbook for additional information.

Differences between high school and college

As students make the transition from high school to college, it is important to recognize the significant differences between the two education levels.

By law, public high schools guarantee all students an education up to age 21. Schools are required to screen and evaluate students who may have a disability. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) must be developed for any student identified as having a disability, and schools must provide appropriate fundamental services and accommodations to meet that student’s needs.

While they are not guaranteed an education at a college, students cannot be discriminated against. Colleges are not obligated to screen or evaluate students for possible disabilities. Students are responsible for providing documentation, when requested, to the College’s disability support specialists, and colleges must provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities.

Taking a lead role

Self-advocacy is key for any student entering college. Students are encouraged to articulate their needs. Doing so will help students gain confidence, assist them in taking responsibility for their college choices, and help them realistically plan for their futures. Family members can help with the transition by offering support and encouragement.

The student’s obligations

A student with a disability has an obligation to:

  • Meet with the Disability Support Specialist in the Advising Center to identify that she/he has a disability;

  • Identify the need for accommodations;

  • If needed, provide documentation that supports the request for accommodations at least 30 days prior to the need for accommodations, and

  • Utilize support services and accommodations in college.

The College’s obligation

Under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the College has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations in order to afford the student an equal opportunity to participate in the college’s programs, courses and activities.

Initiate Disability Support Services

To initiate Disability Support Services download and fill out the Intake Interview Form. (*Please note that the form requires the newest version of Adobe Reader.)

You may email the form to a professional counselor below or feel free to print it and bring it to your intake interview meeting.

To request a reservation to take a proctored test with Disability Support Services using your accommodations, please submit the Proctored Test Reservation Form.

For more information:

Heather Atkinson
Professional Counselor and Disability Support Specialist
Chester Campus, Moyar Hall, Room M107

Dr. Mark Miller
Professional Counselor and Disability Support Specialist

Midlothian Campus, T Building, Room T115



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