Programs and Services

Are you wondering what makes Access and Disability Services at Harper College unique? The easy answer is the wonderful programs and services we offer our students on top of the attention and care our staff provides. Our programs and services include one-on-one disability advising and support, student clubs, and social activities. We are committed to helping students have a successful college experience. To learn more about our programs, please explore them below. 

The ACES Program will support students with learning disabilities (LD) and/or ADHD who register with ADS. The program assists students with their transition from high school to college and guides them to become independent learners. Students will have an individualized Access Advocate who will teach advocacy skills and support them as long as they are enrolled at Harper.  

Semester One  

  • Students will obtain an individualized accommodation plan with approved accommodations.  
  • Students will receive support through the CNSO academic advising process.  
  • Students will enroll in a special section of a "First Year" course.  The instructor will become the students' Accessibility Specialist.  
  • Students will meet with their Access Advocate at least THREE times during the semester.  
  • Access Advocate will request progress reports using a computerized system from other instructors.  

Semester Two  

  • Accommodation Plan will be updated.  
  • Students will receive support through the Academic Advising and Counseling Services (AAC) academic advising process.  
  • Students will attend an advising meeting with support from their Access Advocate. The AAC advisor/counselor will collaborate in selecting special sections of courses based on the recommendations of the Access Advocate.  
  • Students will meet with their Access Advocate at least TWO times during the semester.  
  • Accessibility Specialist will request progress reports using a computerized system from other instructors.  

Access Advocate Responsibilities  

  • To support students throughout their academic careers at Harper.  
  • To meet with the students regularly during scheduled appointments and as needed, and to make recommendations that will help them be successful.  
  • To send out for progress reports and to share information with students in a timely manner.  

Student Responsibilities  

  • To agree to have progress reports sent out to instructors.  
  • To make and keep the necessary appointments each semester.  
  • To keep the Access Advocate informed of academic success/struggles. 

The Transition Autism Program is designed to meet the specific needs of students on the Autism Spectrum as they transition from high school to college. We bolster success in academics by direct support from professional staff.  This unique program provides peer mentoring, specialized academic support, social activities, and a parent support component.  In addition, there are Job Readiness Workshops which include resume writing, interview skills and job search strategies. TAP selects a new cohort each Fall semester. To be considered for the TAP Program, applicants must graduate and accept their high school diploma before the fall start of the program.   

We will post the application for the Fall 2021 Cohort in January 2021.  The deadline to apply will be June 2021. 

For more information, please email  

Access and Disability Services is committed to helping students make a smooth transition from high school to college, as well as having a successful college experience. To achieve this, ADS works closely with our Center for New Students and Orientation office providing recommendations for educational planning according to each student’s needs and disability.

The Assistive Technology Lab is located in the Access and Disabilities Services (ADS) office in Room I-103. At the lab, textbooks can be converted to digital files; students can borrow portable equipment, such as assistive listening devices, digital recorders, etc.  Appointments are recommended.  For questions about our assistive technology, please email us at:  

The College Awareness Program (CAP) is a transition program designed for high school seniors with disabilities.  Its mission is to reach students within the Harper district and inform them of the accommodations and programs available through ADS, and the benefits of attending a local college. The College Awareness Program helps students become familiar with the campus and prepares them for college life. Contact us at

Approximately 60 percent of the students served in Access and Disability Services are diagnosed with LD and/or ADHD.  ADS approves legally mandated accommodations for all students with documented LD and/or ADHD. Documentation should be provided prior to or during the intake interview. If documentation is not available, we will discuss other available options for obtaining documentation. After the intake interview and a thorough review of all documentation, an ADS Access Advocate may recommend/approve one or more of the following accommodations: 

  • Priority registration 
  • Legally mandated accommodations 
  • Participation in ACES 
  • Advocacy strategies - requesting and using services 
  • Supportive Coaching 
  • Participation in targeted ADS courses 
  • ACES: Academic Coaching to Empower Students 

Academic Coaching Empowering Students is an innovative approach that involves completing a two-credit First Year Experience Course and working with an assigned academic coach. The Coach (the Access Advocate who teaches the class) will assist the student in navigating both the challenges and the opportunities found on our campus. 

Instructional Support 

Access Advocate provide free instructional support/learning strategies for students with LD/ADHD and refer students to other campus resources as needed. 

Harper College has been providing a program for Deaf/Hard of Hearing students since 1973, serving between 45 to 55 students each year. The program has served local deaf and hard of hearing students, in addition to drawing enrollment from other parts of Illinois, neighboring states, and international students. Services and instructional support beyond those which are legally mandated are a hallmark of the program. The program serves students who prefer to communicate through American Sign Language and students who prefer to communicate through speaking and listening.  Harper hosts DeaFest, an annual celebration of Deaf Culture each Fall. Harper also offers a club for Deaf students and an annual Volleyball Tournament which draws college and high school teams from Illinois and surrounding states. Contact us at 224.836.5048 VP or email for more information. 

Harper College is committed to helping those students that are returning from service interested in seeking an education. In ADS we work with students of all backgrounds to ensure they receive the support that they need to access their courses and feel confident in their approach to schooling. ADS services are entirely confidential and in no way impact VA benefits or a VA Disability Rating. Students registration status with ADS is only shared with faculty/staff on a need-to-know basis. If you are a Veteran student, you can learn more about Harper College Veterans Services here.

The Career Skills Institute, part of Harper's Continuing Education Program, provides students with mild intellectual disabilities a college campus experience which seeks to assess and strengthen basic academic and employability skills.  The Institute (CSI) is located in Building X and is designed to assist students in developing self-advocacy and general entry-level skills while developing a realistic career plan.  For more information, please dial 847.925.6000, ext. 2076.