Disclosure of a Disability

Student Accessibility Services frequently engages students in conversations about when, how and to whom they should disclose information about their disability.  There are many considerations that influence a student’s decision in this regard.  For example:

  • The degree to which the student feels embarrassed or experiences stigma relating to their disability.
  • The amount of support the student requires, and the degree to which the instructor may be involved in setting up accommodations.
  • Whether the disability is visible or invisible, and the degree to which it is a part of the student’s identity.
  • The degree to which the instructor has demonstrated that they are knowledgeable and/or sensitive to the needs of students with this particular type of disability.

It should be noted that the Ontario Human Rights Commission has specified that students cannot be required to disclose personal health information to their instructors.  For this reason, SAS is only able to disclose information about a student’s needs when it is relevant to the academic accommodations they require.  In these cases, SAS focuses on the functional abilities of the student rather than the underlying health condition.