Disabled Student Services Workgroup:
The Disability Support Services (DSS) Workgroup for the North Orange County Regional Consortium (NOCRC) for Adult Education researched the needs of Adults with Disabilities in the region and developed two implementation strategies.
One strategy has focused on the transition of K-12 students with disabilities to postsecondary noncredit and credit instruction:
- The workgroup has hired Transition Counselors who meet the California Community College minimum qualifications for DSS counseling faculty.
- The Transition Counselors meet students one-on-one on all of the K-12 member campuses.
- The counseling team has developed tools to help students and families understand transition.
- Counselors help students and families understand the differences between secondary and postsecondary services for students with disabilities.
- Examples of support include meeting with students, helping them to apply to postsecondary institutions, linking them with financial aid, connecting them with DSS offices, and much more.
Strategies to Respond to Regional Needs
A second strategy was broader and identified many needs for instruction, services and support for Adults with Disabilities:
- The ARISE Lab (Academics, Relationships, Independence, Self-Advocacy, Emotional Health) has opened at the Anaheim Campus, and ARISE lab support has been extended to the Cypress and Wilshire campuses. The lab offers specialized support through individualized and group instruction and counseling to better assist students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
- A job developer has been hired to help students with disabilities obtain employment.
- A DSS professional provides DSS counseling and assessments at off-site locations.
- The workgroup has sponsored many parent workshops and professional development seminars related to ASD, transition, workforce preparation, employment, person-driven planning, mental health, and much more.
- A peer mentorship program.
- Researching the needs of students with mental health disabilities in the region and making recommendations for new implementation strategies to better support these students in postsecondary institutions.
- A community conversation event bringing together employers and DSS professionals with the goal of providing information so that employers better understand the barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities, and the benefits of hiring them.