Procedures: Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
Revised: May 2011, September 2016, November 2021
- Purpose, Scope
- Essential Requirements and Academic Accommodation
- Student Accessibility Services (SAS)
- Documentation Requirements
- Requests for In-Course Academic Accommodation
- Supplementary Academic Accommodation Decision Process
- Appeal Process
The policy, Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities (“Policy”) is composed of two documents: the Policy Document and this Procedures Document. This Procedures Document is intended to support the Policy Document and provides specific information on the decision making process and appeals process related to Academic Accommodations. Definitions for capitalized terms are found in the Policy Document. In the event of a discrepancy between the Policy Document and the Procedures Document, the Policy Document will apply.
Decisions concerning specific forms of Academic Accommodation are made with consideration to the Essential Requirements of a specific course or program in order to ensure its integrity. Registration in a course or program does not guarantee the granting of any specific form of Academic Accommodation. Students are expected to contact SAS as early as possible to discuss their accommodation needs if their choices concerning a course or program may be affected by the specific forms of Academic Accommodation granted by the University.
Role of SAS
3.1 SAS facilitates a variety of programs and services to assist students with participating fully in University life and maximizing campus accessibility. These may include:
- confirming whether a student has met the criteria for establishing that a Disability exists and helping to identify appropriate options for Academic Accommodations,
- providing to a Course Instructor, Notifications as to the appropriate types of Academic Accommodation,
- granting common forms of In-Course Academic Accommodations as described in section 5.1 below,
- supporting and facilitating the provision of Academic Accommodations by academic departments,
- acting as a resource for members of the University community about disability related matters that have an impact on equitable participation in academic life, and
- assisting the student in developing strategies for managing daily activities relating to academic life in the context of their disability.
3.2 All students who require Academic Accommodation must register with SAS in accordance with this Policy including applicants who submitted information regarding a Disability as part of the Admission process. Submission of information as part of the Admission process does not satisfy registration requirements for SAS.
3.3 In order to provide Academic Accommodations in a timely fashion, students are expected to observe the following dates:
- First year students must submit a New Student Intake Form (NSIF) by June 15 prior to commencing their program. It is also recommended that first year students participate in SAS orientation programs offered at the start of each academic year.
- Transfer students who are admitted after June 15 or who are starting their program in either the winter or summer semester, must submit the NSIF as soon as possible after accepting an offer of admission.
- Students who are already attending the University and are registering with SAS for the first time must submit the NSIF as soon as they are aware that a need for accommodation exists.
- All new students and any returning students who need to meet with an advisor must normally contact SAS by the end of the first week of classes to book an appointment. If there is an immediate need for an accommodation, students are expected to make this known when booking the appointment.
- Students who have registered with SAS in a previous semester must reactivate their status within the first 2 weeks of classes for each semester they are enrolled by following instructions on the SAS website or sent to their University email account.
3.4 Efforts will be taken to support students who delay registration with SAS. However, some options may not be available on short notice and may be deferred to a subsequent semester.
SAS Exam Centre
3.5 Students who have been approved to write Examinations in the SAS Exam Centre must normally book the appropriate date and time with SAS:
- At least 14 days prior to a scheduled midterm examination date,
- No later than November 1 (fall semester), March 1 (winter semester) or July 1 (summer semester).
3.6 Where Examinations are written in the SAS Exam Centre, SAS is responsible for working with the academic unit to :
- identify students who will be writing in the SAS Exam Centre at least five working days prior to the scheduled date of the Examination;
- arrange for copies of the Examination to be available in the SAS Exam Centre at least three days before it is to be administered to the student, and returned to the department/school on the first working day following the Examination.
- arrange for Examinations written in the SAS Exam Centre to be administered at the same time as the rest of the class, except when alternate timing has been approved by the Course Instructor. Examples of when this may be necessary include but are not limited to when:
- granting additional time causes the scheduling of two Examinations to come into conflict,
- a Disability precludes the student from being able to write more than one Examination per day,
- medication required by the student affects the student’s ability to function at particular times of day, or
- Examinations are scheduled outside of regularly scheduled class times and/or the SAS Exam Centre is closed.
4.1 Students requesting Academic Accommodation must provide appropriate documentation to SAS in accordance with this section. The documentation must be from an appropriate Regulated Health Professional who has the authority to diagnose the particular Disability. In the absence of current documentation identified in section 4.2 below, students can request Interim Academic Accommodations.
4.2 Documentation must be current according to the following standards:
- Learning Disabilities and ADHD must have been assessed at age 18 or older, or within the last three years;
- all other Disabilities must be assessed within the timeframe that the student experiences a functional limitation for which an Academic Accommodation is needed; and
- documentation may need to be renewed as appropriate to reflect the student’s on-going need for Academic Accommodation.
4.3 Documentation must be comprehensive and provide information regarding the student’s functional limitations in a university setting. A Functional Assessment form is used for all forms of Disabilities except for Learning Disabilities (see section 4.4 below). Functional Assessment forms are available on the SAS website. All documentation must include the following minimal information:
- a statement of the nature of the Disability (a specific diagnosis is optional but not required);
- information on the severity, duration and intensity of the Disability;
- a description of functional limitations; and
- whether the Disability is permanent or whether it falls under the definition of a Temporary Disability.
4.4 Students with Learning Disabilities must provide documentation in the form of a psychoeducational assessment report (“Assessment”) that conforms to established standards. The Assessment must contain but is not limited to the following information:
- The credentials and signature of the assessor, who must be a registered psychologist or psychological associate;
- A description of the procedures used for the Assessment, including relevant contextual information;
- Evidence that appropriate psychometric testing has been employed, including instruments that have been validated against adult norms;
- Information about the severity of the Functional Limitations experienced by the student;
- Ruling out of other possible explanations for the observed assessment results (differential diagnosis);
- An indication that the results are believed to be a reasonable representation of the student’s normal abilities; and
- Confirmation that a specific learning disability exists.
4.5 Documentation may also include recommendations as to the types of Academic Accommodations that might address a student’s specific functional limitations. However, the University retains ultimate decision-making authority as to which forms of Academic Accommodations may be granted.
5.1 Subject to appropriate documentation, requests for certain common forms of In-Course Academic Accommodation can be granted directly by SAS. These include but are not limited to requests for:
- note taking;
- arrangements for appropriate seating in a classroom; or
- supports for Examinations that are administered by the SAS Exam Centre such as extra time, use of a private or semi-private room, use of a computer, adaptive software or word processor, or access to a reader or scribe.
5.2 Students requesting In-Course Academic Accommodation are responsible for submitting their requests in accordance with deadlines as provided on the SAS website.
5.3 Requests for In-Course Academic Accommodations not in subsection 5.1 are considered “Supplementary Academic Accommodations” and are made directly to Course Instructors or the appropriate University units with the support of SAS. Examples may include but are not limited to:
- audio recording of lectures;
- use of memory aids or calculators for Examinations;
- additional time for assignments, or alternate scheduling of Examinations;
- advanced access to information about readings and assignments; or
- alternative methods of assessing Essential Requirements.
5.4 SAS provides support to students in learning to negotiate on their own behalf. To that end, SAS encourages students to negotiate directly for Supplementary Academic Accommodations, when appropriate. At the student’s request, SAS may provide assistance in requesting Supplementary Academic Accommodations.
5.5 Course Instructors are encouraged to contact SAS to discuss any requested Supplementary Academic Accommodation that is not consistent with the Notification, or if there are questions related to the impact of the Supplementary Academic Accommodation on the Essential Requirements of a course or program.
5.6 If SAS supports the need to have textbooks produced in alternate format (e.g. audio books, Braille or e-text), students must make the necessary arrangements directly with Library Accessibility Services. Students are encouraged to make these arrangements early since it can take 4 to 6 weeks to acquire alternate format text.
6.1 If consensus on Supplementary Academic Accommodation cannot be reached between the student, the Course Instructor and SAS, then the Course Instructor shall consult as follows:
- for undergraduate students, with the Chair or designate, or
- for graduate students, with the Graduate Program Coordinator.
6.2 If, after the consultation described above, consensus still cannot be reached on the Supplementary Academic Accommodation to be provided, a report will be issued within 5 working days (“Report”) as follows:
- for undergraduate students, the Chair shall provide a Report to the Dean (or designate).
- for graduate students, the Graduate Program Coordinator shall provide a Report to both the Assistant Vice-President (Graduate Studies) and the College Dean (or designate) who has oversight responsibility for the graduate program.
6.3 The Report will include the Notification from SAS, the type(s) of Supplementary Academic Accommodation being requested, and the rationale for not granting the request including any concerns regarding its impact on the Essential Requirements of the course or program, if applicable. The Report will also include information about any alternative forms of Supplementary Academic Accommodations that have been considered.
6.4 Within 5 working days of the receipt of the Report, the Dean (or designate) and when applicable, the A.V.P. Graduate Students shall make a decision on the type(s) of Supplementary Academic Accommodation to be granted and advise the parties in writing.
7.1 Decisions by SAS Advisors regarding the In-Course Academic Accommodations under section 5.1 may be appealed to the Manager, SAS.
7.2 Decisions by SAS regarding Supplementary Academic Accommodations it will support under Section 5.3 may be appealed to the Director, Student Wellness.
7.3 Decisions by the Dean (or designate) and when applicable, the A.V.P. Graduate Students under 6.4 may be appealed by the student to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions (“Petitions”) in accordance with Petitions’ Bylaws.
Exam Centre Deadline
Booking to use the SAS Exam Centre must be done 14 days before the test/exam and no later than November 1st (fall), March 1st (winter) and July 1st (summer). Login to Accessibility Online to book now.