To protect the integrity of a rigorous academic environment, we require documentation verifying the existence of a disability from a regulated health professional who is operating within their scope of practice to identify a physical, cognitive or emotional condition that is disabling in an academic context. This documentation must describe the functional limitations experienced by the student. Examples of professionals who can complete this documentation include:
- Physicians (medical doctors)
- Occupational Therapists
- Registered Psychotherapists
- Social Workers
- Nurse Practicioners
If you suspect you might have a disability and you are in the process of being assessed, please contact us to inquire about possible interim assistance.
Accommodations can be made for both permanent and temporary disabilities. If you experience a disability that is not described below, please contact us for more information.
Functional Assessment Form
Our Functional Assessment form is used to provide information about most types of disabilities, with the exception of those that require a psycho-educational assessment. Here are some of the general categories of disabilities covered in this area. You may also want to see the information below about Support/Service Animals (below).
Autism Spectrum Disorder: ASD is considered a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social communication and interactions, and includes restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour. Students with ASD can be impacted on a continuum from mild to severe. In addition to collaborating with the student, we often find it helpful to consult with other members of the student's support network. We will only do this with permission from the student.
Injuries, Concussions and Significant Illnesses: temporary disabilities such as broken bones, concussions, and recovering from surgery, as well as illnesses ranging from irritable bowel syndrom, to cancer, to diabetes can all have a wide range of impacts on daily living. Sometimes these are disorienting for students because of sudden changes in health status.
Note that common ailments such as a cold or the flu are not considered disabilities.
Mental Health Disabilities: these include persistent impairments of emotions, cognitions and/or behaviour that cannot be directly controlled by the individual. They may be episodic or chronic in nature, and some change unexpectedly whereas others are relatively stable.
Mobility, Dexterity and Perceptual Disabilities: students who experience these types of disabilities sometimes rely on scooters or wheelchairs to get around, have vision or hearing impairments, or encounter limitations in the ability to manipulate objects.
For students who experience a learning disability, a psycho-educational assessment is required that describes details relating to the student's learning profile. In the case of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) this type of assessment is also considered best practice. Here are some useful resources:
- Learning Disabilities
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Guidelines for Psycho-Educational Assessments
- When to update a psychoeducational assessment
Letter to Clarify Functional Abilities
From time to time, SAS may ask for a letter from an appropriate regulated health professional to clarify the ways in which a student is affected by their disability/disabilities in an academic setting. The purpose of this request is for SAS to receive expert advice that can assist with the accommodation process. In most cases, SAS will pose specific questions where clarification may be helpful. Examples of where this may come up include (but are not limited to) situations involving:
- complex disability-related needs with a significant impact on the student's academic abilities,
- multiple disability-related documents, and where a synthesis of the information based on a clinical assessment would be helpful, or
- documentation received by SAS to date that does not conform to established standards.
SAS routinely receives inquries about what kind of documentation is required for a service/support animal and so we created the Service Animal Recommendation form to help ensure we get complete information.
Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Unfortunately, we are not able to accept an IEP as documentation of a disability. There are many differences in the approaches to teaching and learning at the high school level as compared to university. The standards we are required to observe necessitate a psycho-educational assessment for Learning Disabilities and ADHD in order to put into place the appropriate accommodations for each student.