Paths to Freel Library and Bowman Hall

Disability Resources

Accessibility is a core value at MCLA. Everyday our staff work with students who have a variety of disabilities ~ providing academic support services, individualized accomodations, and self-advocacy guidance. 


We are experiencing truly unique times. If you have questions about how the office is handling safety for COVID-19 please email us at

Tips for communicating while wearing a mask or physical distancing.

  • Make sure you have the attention of the person(s) you are talking to.

  • Face the person directly, and make sure nothing is blocking your view.

  • Talk a little louder or a little slower if necessary. 

  • Use your hands and your body language.

  • Ask the person you are speaking to if they understand you; if no, repeat yourself or say it in another way.  Offer to write it down.

  • Move to quiet space if possible.

  • If you are talking with someone new, ask if there is anything you can do to make communication easier for both of you.

Helping build pathways to learning for students with disabilities.

MCLA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities. We work to provide students with equitable access to all MCLA programs and services. Our philosophy and programs assist eligible students in fostering independence in college to the fullest extent possible, embracing self-advocacy, and in developing skills to transition and succeed in their careers. We believe that disability is a natural part of human variation and an essential aspect of diversity. 

The Office of Disability Resources, located in the Center for Student Success and Engagement, provides students with individualized support services based on the nature of the documented disability. A testing center, located on the garden level of Eldridge Hall proctors exams for students with approved testing accommodations. Disability Resources also provides one-on-one personalized training  on general technology and on assistive technology hardware/software.


The start strong academy

offered an Early Start to Success for 22 freshmen students this fall. This two-day academy  introduced students to college campus life while diving deeper into some of the common transition challenges experienced by freshmen students, " It is like the short, safe version of the beginning of freshmen year." Students gained a more in-depth understanding of what to expect in college and what would be expected of them, completed a formal assessment of their study habits/skills and heard tips from student leaders on how to balance school with other demands. 

Prospective students, if you are planning to attend MCLA you might consider enrolling in the Fall 2022 Start Strong Academy and get an early start on YOUR SUCCESS.  Details and registration information will be coming soon. 


How to begin Disability Support Services:

  1. Review the Office of Disability Resources webpage for information. A pre-admission visit to the college is highly recommended. 
  2. Complete the Registration form provided below.  Provide current and comprehensive documentation of your disability. Suggested documentation includes: High School IEP or 504, psychoeducational assessments, diagnostic documentation from qualified, licensed professional, medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker. 
  3.  Schedule an intake meeting with a staff member in the Office of Disability Resources.  Through an interactive process  the student and Disability Resource staff will determine accommodations that are appropriate and reasonable. Together they will formulate an Accommodation plan that lists approved accommodations.
  4. Student presents a copy of their accommodation plan to their faculty each semester. Students are strongly encouraged to schedule a meeting  with their faculty to discuss their plans. 
  5. Student should keep a copy of all disability documents and a copy of their accommodation plan. It may be useful for graduate school or professional licensure.   
  6. Student is encouraged to stay in touch with the Office of Disability Resources throughout their time at MCLA. Our door is always open. 

Typical Accommodation

Based on documentation, reasonable accommodations might include:

  • Priority access registration

  • Alternative testing

  • Note takers or recording devices

  • Accessible instructional materials

  • Assistive technology

  • On-campus housing

Please note that these represent some accommodations provided to MCLA students. Students' needs are reviewed on an individual basis and specific accommodations will reflect each individual student.

Success Coaching

Success coaches provide one-on-one support to students throughout their first year at MCLA. Coaches work with students on transition competency areas to develop the structure and framework necessary to be successful in college.  Coaches work in partnership with students to improve academic skills, to identify resources, and to address any obstacles to academic success.  Success Coaching is individualized, strength-based and holistic. 

Success coaches are currently available via TEAMS or in-person. If you would like to opt into the coaching program please email or call us at (413)662-5314.

Don't forget to ask about taking the LASSI (Learning & Study Skill Assessment). Become more aware of what areas you can work on to improve your academic and  study skills. 

Assistive Technology

The Disability Resource Office provides screenings on a variety of assistive technologies and software applications. Screenings provide an opportunity for students and the Disability Resource staff to review and discuss various assistive technologies and software  that may be useful. Screenings are also a chance to discuss any current or past challenges with different technology.  Introductory sessions on how to get started are available by request.

Helpful Links and Resources for Parents and prospective students

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities This publication from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights is relevant to  any postsecondary student going to any college or university. Be familiar with the information in this booklet as you begin to look at colleges and universities for your student. 

Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities This booklet can give you more specific information about the types of assistance that are generally available to students with disabilities at the postsecondary level. 

Family Guide to Transition Services in Massachusetts,   Brought to you in partnership by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Federation for Children with Special Needs. 

make it mcla

Dear Prospective Student: The Office of Disability Resources understands that student's rights and responsibilities change considerably from high school to college. We want you to make a successful transition. We welcome prospective students with disabilities to schedule a meeting with us to discuss some very important transition items !

These include: 

  • What are the differences between IDEA nd ADAAA provisions?
  • When do I disclose my disability?
  • What type of documentation am I required to provide?
  • Will my IEP and individualized support carry over?
  • How do I request accommodations?

If you are interested in scheduling an early transition meeting  or attending one of our family forums "How Families Can Support Their Student's Transition To College" please contact Cindy MacDonald at (413) 662-5314 or email   


Additional Resources

Disability Resource Handbook (Word)

Disability Resource Handbook (PDF)