Tag Archives: 504

Fund Community College Gov. BROWN!


Jerry Brown needs to hear that Disability Service Programs need to be better funded in California.  With funding more students can access and succeed.  Implications include independence, quality of life, and all that good stuff.  Write to him and let him know to support accommodations and services!

I got the following letter from College of Alameda’s DSPS office so I thought I would share it here with others.   Fax to 916-445-2841.  


The Honorable Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814


Dear Governor Brown:


I am a(explain that you are a student with a disability, DSPS Coordinator or counselor, representative of a disability rights organization, family member, interested citizen, etc. and briefly describe your organization, or why you are interested in services for students with disabilities.)


I am writing to ask you to approve the budget for the California Community Colleges sent to you by both the Senate and the Assembly. I support the Legislature’s decision to restore funding for several critical student service programs including a $50 million augmentation for Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS). I realize you have many difficult decisions before you but believe the approval of this item is particularly compelling for the following reasons.


First, the 40% cut to DSPS and other student service programs, which was made during ”the great recession”, was never intended to be permanent. Senate President Pro Tern Steinberg and other leaders who participated in the budget negotiations in 2009 have confirmed that their intention was that the funding for these critical programs would be restored when the state’s economy and budget recovered.


Second, this staggering cut to DSPS and other student services programs was disproportionate to the 12% cut taken by the California Community College (CCC) system as a whole. Moreover, significant funding increases have almost fully restored the cuts to the rest of the CCC system and funded new programs such as Student Success and Student Equity, but insufficient funding has been provided to DSPS to provide for the basic services and accommodations needed by students with disabilities if they are to complete college successfully.


Third, a study by the Community college Chancellor’s Office and numerous discrimination complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education document that students with disabilities are not receiving timely or effective services to which they are entitled by state and federal laws. This puts individual colleges and the state of California at legal risk. Examples of the service deficiencies include long wait times for services, lack of alternate media such as braille, electronic text, or large print books, lack of sufficient test proctoring services, lack of notetaker and disability related tutoring services and closure of DSPS offices during certain hours or days of the week.


Fourth, while we understand that local flexibility in determining spending priorities is generally desirable, this flexibility has never benefited students with disabilities who are far too often at the end of the list for or not on the list at all. For this reason, the Legislature passed AB 77 (Lanterman) in 1976 and you signed that bill into law establishing the DSPS program to ensure the consistent and equitable provision throughout the state of services essential to effectuating the civil rights of persons with disabilities mandated by Government Code Section 11135 et seq., the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.


Finally, restoring funding to DSPS is an investment in California’s future because it will provide students with disabilities, including thousands of ”wounded warriors” returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the services and accommodations they need to help them succeed in college. Research shows that the completion of higher education significantly increases the chances that a person with a disability will become employed and contribute to California’s economy rather than remaining dependent on public services.


For these reasons, the Board of Governors, the Community College League, the California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability and many other community college and disability rights organizations support restoration of funding for DSPS. The Legislature clearly saw the value of this investment and the need for fairness and equity when it voted to augment the DSPS budget by $50 million. I urge you to consider these same factors and support this augmentation as part of the final budget.





Sign or type your name Indicate your address if the letter is not on letterhead

Nina G’s book helps individuals with Learning Disabilities

Oakland, California— Nina G knows first hand what it means to meet the challenges of having a Learning Disability.  Diagnosed in third grade as well as having a stutter, she has met the academic as well as personal challenges as person with a disability.  Nina is considered the only female stuttering stand up comedian in the world and is also a disability awareness educator.  She uses humor as a tool for activism and education. 

Nina passes her knowledge onto readers in the new book Once Upon an Accommodation: A Book About Learning Disabilities.  Her book is a soft cover with illustrations by comedian/musician Mean Dave.   The latest edition of the book includes a workbook to help the reader better understand their particular needs and how to advocate for them.

“Many adults and children are diagnosed with Learning Disabilities (LDs) but don’t know what that means for them.  They are expected to understand what their LD is, why they need accommodations and then advocate for themselves,” says Nina.  “With all the excellent help I received as a kid from supportive parents and teachers, I don’t think I really understood my LD until my early 20s!”

Nina attempts to demystify what it means to have a LD in terms of the diagnosis but also explains what an accommodation is and why people with LD receive them.  She states, “most people with and without disabilities are not taught about the histories of people with disabilities.  As a result they don’t know how this history is connected to civil rights laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Some powerful activists fought for my right as a person with LD and I want kids with LD and adults who are newly diagnosed to understand this!”

Although the book is written so children can understand it, adults can also benefit from Once Upon an Accommodation’s story and campy humor.  Many books about LD are difficult for children and even adults with Learning Disabilities to read.  Once Upon an Accommodation was designed to address multiple modes of learning.  The writing and illustrations are simple to understand while also conveying complex information.

Once Upon an Accommodation helps people of every age understand the process of being diagnosed with LD, why accommodations are needed and why advocacy is some important.  Nina explains, “it is my hope that this is not only read by kids but also by parents, family members, teachers, and helping professionals so that they understand the context of what having an LD means.”  Nina helps the reader see what it means to have a LD and to be part of a larger disability community.

Nina G is currently living in Oakland, California.  Nina is a humorist who performs with The Comedians with Disabilities Act who bring disability awareness to night club and college audiences through comedy.  She is also an educator and disability activist educating people through workshops, keynote addresses, and trainings.  Workshop topics include universal design in teaching, disability awareness, and humor as a coping strategy. 

Once Upon an Accommodation was published by Create Space and is also available through Amazon.com.  Link to purchase: https://www.createspace.com/4173946.  Contact your local bookstores and libraries to request that they include it in their collection. 

Become a fan of Once Upon an Accommodation at http://www.facebook.com/onceuponanaccommodation.

There is also an effort to get Once Upon an Accommodation into the hands of children at schools and agencies.  To donate go to www.gofundme.com/LDhumor