Culture & Student Life

Programs and Services for Disabled Students: The EAC is here to help you

Image of the Educational Assistance Center building

You may have heard of the DSP&S/EAC on Ventura College’s campus but not be familiar with what it is or what they do. I know I wasn’t familiar with this acronym. So, I did a little digging and found a wonderful program that is here to serve the students at Ventura College.

The official name is Disabled Students Programs & Services / Educational Assistance Center (DSP&S/EAC). For short, known as the EAC. The EAC promotes the educational and vocational potential of students with disabilities by supporting each student’s integration into the mainstream of college life.

Recently, I spoke with Patty Wendt, the EAC coordinator, who has been with EAC for 26 years, and has a wealth of information on what the EAC offers Ventura college students.

Goals in serving the student

The EAC serves on average, over 1,200 Ventura College students each year. Their primary goals are:

  • To provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in the educational activities at Ventura College.
  • To provide qualified students with disabilities the required services and accommodations to meet their educational needs.
  • To provide qualified students with disabilities the special classes needed to prepare them for success in the general college classes.

EAC provides services to students with:

  • Physical disabilities
  • Deaf and hard of hearing
  • Blind or have low vision
  • Learning disabilities
  • Acquired brain injuries
  • ADHD
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Mental health disability

So, what services do they offer?

  • Priority Registration to students who qualify for services through EAC. This ensures students get access to the classes they need; with the accommodations they need.
  • Classroom accommodations, such as sitting at the front of the class.
  • Note taking assistance, if a student doesn’t have the ability to take notes during a class lecture, due to their disability.
  • Extended test time if a student’s disability may prohibit them from completing a test during the allowed class time.
  • 1:1 tutoring is available if needed, beyond general tutoring assistance
  • Alternate media formats are available to students, if they need instructional materials in Braille, large print, or auditory formats.
  • Learning Abilities Program, offering classes such as LS V02 (Reading Comprehension and Problem Solving), LS V07 (Techniques of Problem Solving – Math), and LS V25 (Improving Grammar and Writing Skills), allowing students to gain skills that they can apply in their approach to other college classes.
  • Assistive Computer Technology (ACT) provides alternatives to interacting with computers. Students who are blind or have low vision can use software tools which verbalize the text content of the screen. There are software tools which magnify the content of the screen. Students also have access to Braille printers with optical character recognition and speech synthesizers.
  • Innovation Cognitive Achievement network (ICAN)/Journey Overcoming Barriers (JOB) helps studentsbuild essential employment skills, including the “soft skills” that employers desire and value most. It’s not a specific career pathway, but students learn appropriate social skills and optimal workplace behavior, appropriate communication skills for the workplace, as well as computer, personal finance, and technological skills to succeed in the workplace.
  • Learning Disability (LD) assessments can be arranged to support students who may have an undiagnosed Learning Disability. Current Ventura students with no other qualifying disability can meet with the Learning Disability Specialist for a thorough Intake screening to decide if assessment is appropriate. This will allow you to discover your cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses while also determining eligibility for services. You’ll receive an individual recommendation on how to improve learning, study strategies, and utilize accommodations.

How to apply for Services

You must complete an application to qualify for requested services. In addition to the application, you must also complete the disability verification form. Then you can make an appointment with an EAC counselor either in-person or online. The counselor will complete the Academic Accommodation plan with you which will authorize learning accommodations based on the educational limitations caused by your disability. There is no fee for the services received through EAC. If you don’t have documentation for the disability through a doctor, EAC can provide you with an assessment to see if you qualify for assistance.

There’s a team working with you

The EAC has two counselors, one person managing alternate media formats, one person managing disability testing, and two instructional teachers for EAC Learning Skills courses. You will get the support you need, based on your individual circumstances.

The team is on campus:

  • M/W/TH from 8am – 5pm
  • T from 8am – 7pm
  • F from 8am – 3pm

The EAC office is in the Administration Building (ADM).

If you feel you may benefit from Educational Assistance, you should reach out to the EAC office to see if you qualify for assistance. There is no cost for these services, but you must currently be enrolled and taking classes at Ventura College. You can reach them at 805-289-6300 or email at

By Sylvia A. Laabs

Sylvia Laabs has been fortunate to work with some of the biggest names you see every day - Visa, Disney, and NFL. She has strong marketing communications experience in the health insurance industry having worked at Anthem, Aetna, Centene, and UnitedHealth. She has also worked in the financial, print production, publishing, and social media industries. She has leveraged all facets of direct marketing communications in the customer lifecycle - Acquisition, Onboarding, Engagement and Retention. She can balance big picture strategy with day-to-day execution, while driving campaign success with data and measurable goals.

Outside of work, Sylvia enjoys exploring the outdoors by off-roading in her Jeep with family and friends. If she’s not in her Jeep, she may be watching a baseball game, as she’s an avid Los Angeles Dodgers fan who has seen every major league team play a game in their home stadium. She has enjoyed going back to college and upskilling her marketing approach. She lives with her husband, two college age sons, two pit bull dogs and a feisty cat name Katniss.

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