Disability Support Services

Disability Support Services envisions a college community that is universally accessible to all members of the campus community; provides an equal opportunity to students with disabilities; and recognizes all individuals for their talents, abilities, and contributions.


Accessibility for All

Our team facilitates access to college programs and services for students with disabilities through accommodations, education, consultation, and advocacy. We recognize disability as a valued aspect of diversity and strive to design more welcoming, inclusive spaces.

New Student Support Community Support

Contact Us

  • Disability Support Services
  • (815) 921-2371
  • RVC Main Campus
    Student Center, Ground Floor
  • Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


For Current Students

Students who are already registered with the Disability Support Services office can view their accommodations via the Accommodations Portal.

Accommodations Portal

Accommodations Resources


student at laptop

Testing Accommodations

Accommodations for course exams and quizzes is the most frequently utilized category of accommodations by all students with disabilities. This type of accommodation allows the student to more accurately demonstrate their knowledge and achievement as opposed to measuring the impact of a disability.

Exam and quiz accommodations available to students with disabilities may include:

  • Alternate Format (large print, Braille, cassette, or electronic)
  • Extended Time
  • Student Aide Services (readers, scribes, lab assistants)
  • Specialized Environment (reduced-distraction room, soft lighting, white noise machine)
  • Adaptive equipment and assistive technology
  • The Testing Center offers a variety of specialized testing services including: readers, scribes, distraction-free work areas, and assistive technology.

A scheduled testing appointment is required for students using any of the following accommodations:

  • Student aide services (readers, scribes, or lab assistants)
  • Specialized environment
  • Adaptive equipment and/or assistive technology
  • Alternative text formats
  • Students requiring the assistance of testing staff (to read, transcribe, etc.) OR the use of a distraction-free work area must schedule an appointment to test.

Students requiring special testing assistance or accommodations must obtain pre-approval from Disability Support Services.

Appointments are required for disability accommodations beyond extra time. It is your responsibility to take an exam by the instructor-specified deadline, within the Testing Center's hours of operation.

Please refer to the following guidelines:

  • Students are responsible for notifying their instructor(s) regarding the delivery of the test to the Testing Center.
  • Students requiring only extended time for tests/quizzes may test during regular Testing Center hours without a scheduled testing appointment.
  • Course examinations and quizzes are normally administered during the regularly scheduled class periods when other students are testing, unless there are extenuating circumstances, or as indicated by the instructor.
  • Testing appointments are scheduled through the Testing Center at least three days in advance of an exam/quiz by phone, email, or in-person. Students should be prepared to indicate the test date, time, course name, and instructor name.
  • Students are advised to confirm their appointment with the Testing Center and verify test delivery with their instructor one day prior to the test via phone, email, or personal visit.

Accuplacer, the college's placement test, is an untimed, computer-based exam. Therefore, students who only require extended testing time for exams, can complete this test without needing to register with Disability Support Services.

However, if additional accommodations are required beyond extended time, please contact DSS prior to scheduling your placement test.

group of students outside

Classroom Note Takers

Assistance with note-taking is an accommodation that may benefit students who need to focus their attention and concentration on listening, or who find taking notes difficult due to a physical, visual, learning, or hearing limitation.

There are a variety of options for students to consider for note-taking assistance, including the use of technological devices (ex., digital recorders and LiveScribe smart pens). Some students, however, may request a student to take notes for them.

The role of a note taker is very important to ensuring that the student has equal access to the course content. Note takers should possess the ability to focus and take comprehensive and well-structured notes. In addition, it is essential that note takers maintain confidentiality at all times. To become a note taker:

  1. Contact Disability Support Services to request the Note Taker and Student Agreement Form, which includes a Code of Ethics.
  2. Pick up carbon paper from Disability Support Services, if desired.
  3. Review the Tips for Successful Note Takers and the Collaborative Process forms found in your packet.
  4. Optional, but recommended: Complete a one-hour, online note taker training through the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) and provide DSS with a copy of your "Verification of Training Completion Certificate".

Note: Typically note takers are volunteers and are not compensated for their service. However, the DSS Director will provide a letter of acknowledgment to students upon request.

Accessible Technology & Software

Rock Valley College is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access to all College programs and activities in accordance with federal and state law. This includes ensuring that all information and communication technologies (ICT) used in college programs and activities are universally accessible.

Ensuring equal and effective information and communication technology access is the responsibility of all College administrators, faculty, and staff, and keeps the College in compliance with federal and state law, which includes the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Amendments Act of 2008, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Section 508 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act as amended.

On January 18, 2017, the United States Access Board adopted new guidelines and standards for information and communication technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act. These standards, established as a baseline by the federal government, are effective January 18, 2018 and provide a solid framework for making electronic and information technology accessible.

General information about accessibility guidelines may be found at World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)or WebAim websites.

Specialized software or equipment, generally referred to as assistive technology (AT), is available to students with a variety of disabilities. AT products provide alternative ways for a student to access a program or service, complete a task, and/or to improve their efficiency by minimizing the effect(s) of the disability. AT products can range from low-tech (e.g., an alternative keyboard or a magnifying glass) to high-tech (e.g., screen reading software or a recording device). Computers located throughout the RVC campus have various AT software programs installed. In addition, the DSS office has a large inventory of equipment that may be checked out free-of-charge by students with disabilities on a loaner basis. For more information on AT, call our office at (815) 921-2371.

There are many different types of assistive technology products available for students with disabilities to utilize. Various software programs, such as screen reading, magnification, and voice recognition programs are installed on computers across campus.  The DSS office also has a large inventory of various AT products and equipment available for students to check out on a loaner basis.  Equipment may be loaned on a semester basis and is free-of-charge to students.

The software listed below is provided by Rock Valley College Disability Support Services (DSS) in different locations throughout campus.

  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a speech recognition program designed to allow users to dictate documents, send emails, search the Internet, and to control their computer by the use of their voice. It provides new levels of personal productivity with ease.
  • JAWS is a powerful accessibility tool that reads text on your screen using synthesized speech. JAWS provides many useful commands that make it easier to use programs, edit documents, and read web pages.
  • Kurzweil 3000 is a text-to-speech learning tool that makes reading, writing, test taking, and accessing a curriculum accessible to all students. It is particularly appropriate for students with learning disabilities such as: dyslexia, those who require reading intervention, students who are struggling with reading comprehension, and students of English as a second language (ESL).
  • ZoomText is a fully integrated magnification and screen reading program that enlarges, enhances, and reads aloud everything on the computer screen.

This software is available in the Woodward Technology Center Lab 145, Educational Resource Center Room 1114, Student Center Lab 1100, and Stenstrom Center for Career Education Lab 161. 

Need help using the software? Each company that provides the software will have a support page that contains useful resources for their product. You can also request to have one-on-one time with the Assistive Technology Specialist to get familiar with the software available. You can call (815) 921-2371 for assistance.

Contact Disability Support Services to loan one of the following devices:

  • Digital Voice Recorders
  • iPads
  • Livescribe Smartpens
  • C-Pen Readers
  • Portable Electronic Magnifiers
  • Talking Organizers
  • Portable Audio Bookplayers
  • Intel Reader (portable device to scan and convert printed text into audio)
  • Mobile Text Scanner (Scan, store, and transfer text to computer)


Report an Issue

We are committed to making our website as accessible as possible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Let us know if you have any concerns!

Submit Accessibility Concern