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TutorTIPs: Working with ACCESS Services

Tutor Training Intensive Programs

Notes from the Session

Service Animals
  • Only two species of animal are service animals covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): dogs and miniature horses.
  • Only two questions you can ask:
    • “Is that a service animal?”
    • “What function does it provide you?” (function/service they provide is not always obvious)
  • Refer them to the act or supervisor if “service animal” is not one of the two species.
  • Emotional support animals are not covered under ADA, but rather other legislation.
  • Service animal does not have to be wearing vest nor does the owner have to produce certification, do not ask to demonstrate.
  • Ignore service animal, do not pet, etc.
Doing work for students?
  • Break students into groups to work on project.
  • Tutor is facilitator rather than instructor.
  • Teach/empower students to help themselves.
What do we do with students
that have maxed out
(e.g. 30 years trying to get GED).
  • Redirect, give other alternatives, find other options if what you are doing is not working.
  • If student is not making progress, is there a referral list outside MDC?
  • What do you do if professor wants work one way, but you do not agree?
    • Do it the way professor wants.
Student not being independent
  • Important to find balance of maintaining their individuality.
Clarifying/assuming what a
student is saying 
  • Do not clarify/assume what student is saying or meant to say because we do not know their background and it could lead to an emotional or uncomfortable situation.
  • Ask them to clarify, “what did you mean here?”
  • Listen to students
  • Do not only point out what student did wrong, but also what they did right. Acknowledge the hard work they did. As draining as having them in the lab all day can be, remember they are committed and are trying to help themselves.
  • Encourage students to speak to their professor.


This training is provided in collaboration with the Miami Dade College ACCESS Department

Frequently Asked Questions

Once we establish that the student would benefit from ACCESS, 
how do you direct them to ACCESS/what are the next steps?
  • As a title 2 institution, public entities must refrain from asking about disability. Cannot be direct per disability compliance.
  • Questions you can ask: “You have mentioned you have taken this class a number of times…”, “have you spoken to/seen an advisor”, “there’s an ACCESS department, here’s their information, they help with learning challenges”, etc.
  • Do not mention ACCESS first. Provide information to student, spark the referral, let student self-disclose with ACCESS, they are trained to handle it from there; it is the student’s choice.
  • Give a heads up to the ACCESS staff, turn around could be weeks, sometimes it takes another test or assignment/crisis to push the student to seek help.
As a tutor, you have to accept habit of setting them up 
and sending them home with homework or practice.
  • Ask what their study plan is. Before they leave session, help them identify what strategies and aides they can use to help them study once they’re home.
  • Ask them “what/how much are you going to be able to study once out of tutoring session?” Make them responsible and part of the process.
  • Many come with High School mentality of being spoon fed the teaching and if they are not and they do poorly, it is the teacher’s fault, they suck. Clarify that teachers have different styles and will grade you/treat you as an adult.
  • Inform them of the model –for one hour of class, you are expected to dedicate two hours outside of class to learning material. How college is structured.
  • What we project is reflected back in student’s attitude/response.
  • Have to work past stigma of working with person with disability. Many walk around dealing with carrying that label around.
How to we help students and still respect privacy? 
For example, everything is online and the student has an impairment 
that requires you to help him view things online, such as financial aid.
  • Speak up and report to supervisor. Decisions made regarding publishers and software are made higher up and they need to know about that difficulty and to make sure publisher is living up to what they should be providing/making accessible.
  • Resources available on handout.
  • Issue is not seeing the private information, it is in disseminating it.
  • Forget about it, point is to help student and sometimes that will mean seeing social security number or other information.
  • Inform supervisor afterwards.
If student asks for your cell number or personal information to contact you 
after hours/outside of campus, what do you do? 
Is there something available to provide them with that will help?
  • Back to setting limits and boundaries. No sharing of personal information. Student needs more help, go back to lab.
What if you try to set boundary/limit, but student is adamant, 
comes after you outside of lab to resolve issue 
(e.g. help with mom, mom is pressuring tutor to do assignment for student)?
  • Continue directing conversation to student to make clear that we deal with students not parents.
  • Seek help, don’t have to deal with uncomfortable situations on your own.
How to handle hostile student?
  • Can reach out to professor to gain information. If still not working, recommend another tutor as each has different style and another person may be more successful.