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Del Mar Disability Services helping students overcome obstacles

Posted at 10:05 AM, Sep 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 12:43:00-04

There has been significant growth in the number of students with disabilities, including those with mental health conditions or autism, seeking higher education.

Programs like the Del Mar College Disability Services are more than just providing services to students with disabilities, it’s about helping them reach their potential.

Community-based programs exist to help disabled students find work or to provide them with daily social activities. But for some students, there is a desire for more, an opportunity for higher education.

“We are constantly promoting our services so that allows us to grow our numbers here and provide services for more students that probably are not aware that we even have these available to them,” said Del Mar College student disability specialist Brenda Garcia.

For many students in classrooms, disabilities can be sources of shame, indicators of what students can’t do instead of what they can do.  Noah Cantu, a dyslexic high school senior and dual credit student at Del Mar College and sophomore Keith Grant, who is bound to a wheelchair, are both proving that anything is possible.

“My goal is to become a football coach,” Grant said. “When I wake up in the morning, I just have that go mode, just ready to go, and I motivate myself and get out there and try and chase my dreams.”

“School has always been tough for me because of my disability. Services like this have gravely helped me get to where I am today,” Cantu said.

The Del Mar College Disability Services office goes beyond procedural compliance to provide for their students with needs.

“Don’t be discouraged because there are people here that can help you and guide you through your continual education process,” said Cantu.

“That makes me feel great. I feel like I am out there like everybody else,” said Grant.

Over the past few years, the number of disabled students at Del Mar College has grown from a handful to more than 225 determined and dedicated students.

“The majority of our students, over 95 percent, happen to have disabilities you don’t see; ADD, PTSD, bipolar, anxiety, and diabetes,” Garcia said. “Those are just to name a few so our population has grown tremendously since we’ve made them very aware what they’re able to come see us for.”

Del Mar College faculty and staff in general — and the Disability Services Office (DSO) staff in particular — are committed to ensuring equal access to College services, programs, and activities for qualified students with disabilities in accordance with The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, The ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and applicable Texas state laws.

As such, students shall not be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of the College.


Eliminating physical, instructional, and attitudinal barriers across the Del Mar College community by providing support services including reasonable accommodations to promote maximum academic potential, participation in the college experience, and self-sufficiency for students with disabilities.

For more information, call(361) 698-1292.

The DSO is housed in the Harvin Student Center, Room 188, on the East Campus.


  • Report to the DSO to complete a Request for Disability Support Services form and schedule an intake appointment.
  • Attend the scheduled intake meeting to discuss disability diagnosis, life activity limitations, impact in an educational setting and appropriate/effective accommodations.
  • Provide documentation from a qualified professional (i.e., medical doctor, psychologist, licensed therapist, certified diagnostician, etc.) and/or Individualized Education Plans (IEP)/504 Proceedings/Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee minutes


As excerpted from The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008:

Disability means, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

The phrase physical or mental impairment means:

  • Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine.
  • Any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
  • The phrase physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, specific learning disabilities, HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism.
  • The phrase major life activities means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.