Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Sensory differences


Individuals who experience low vision and blindness are welcome at PCC. We work on an individualized manner to ensure equal access and also work systematically to improve accessibility of course materials, online environments, and the built environment. We want to meet your needs!

Vision resources
  • The Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) can help with independence, counseling, skills training for employment, education about visual impairments, and more. In some cases the Commission may pay for tuition and related costs for college. Contact OCB for further information and to apply. Their mission is to assist Oregonians who are blind or visually impaired in making informed choices and decisions to achieve full inclusion and integration in society through employment, independent living, and social self-sufficiency.
  • The American Council of the Blind in Oregon provides advocacy and publication for visually impaired and blind persons in Oregon and others who wish to advance equal opportunities.
  • Coalition of Community Health Clinics provides links to free or low cost clinics in the Portland area for those whose vision may be improved by eye lenses.
  • The Low Vision Store in Vancouver with many low vision products.
  • The Oregon Association of Blind Students through the National Federation of The Blind of Oregon is a chapter of the national organization for secondary and postsecondary school students. Limited scholarship support may be available.
  • The Oregon Talking Book and Braille Services is for those who cannot read print materials visually. Users can login and use BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to access any National Library Service (NLS) digital book 24/7.
Additional context on blindness and advocacy in higher education

The National Federation of the Blind has been in the press quite a bit lately due in part to the advocacy role they are playing in OCR and Federal Court cases including the Target caseKindle case, and the Penn State case among others.


Some students who are Deaf may not identify with experiencing a disability. Deaf Culture can be explored through a variety of means, including ASL Courses. Other students, who may have lost hearing later in life, may prefer to communicate in English, by reading a transcript in real time. It is important to recognize the importance of communication access and ensure appropriate deployment of different approaches as needed for the situation. We are at the ready to employ qualified ASL Interpreters, TypeWell Transcribers, CART Providers, and amplification systems as needed. PCC can coordinate communication access as well as curricular access by captioning multimedia material. Contact our department through aedr@pcc.edu to make a request or ask a question.

Hearing resources
  • The Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) includes all deafened individuals, regardless of means of communication or age of onset. It especially serves to connect people who experience deafness after having been socialized in the hearing culture. Opportunities for socializing, joining an online discussion group, advocacy, and resources are available.
  • Hearing Loss Association of Portland offers support, referrals, information, and advocacy for those who do not hear well.
  • OHSU Tinnitus Clinic offers care for persons with tinnitus and certain other less common hearing disorders. The tinnitus clinic is part of the Ear, Nose, and Throat department of Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU).
  • Oregon’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services provides technical assistance and information to help those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or late-deafened. Examples of topics are captioning, sign language, deaf culture, cochlear implants, hearing aids, causes of deafness, and ADA topics.
  • The Southwest Washington Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provides services in communication access, peer counseling, technical information, training, resource lists, and more.
Additional context on improving communication access

There are some basic tips that can help improve communication and these are always provided to faculty when a student who has specific needs is working with Accessible Ed & Disability Resources.