Frequently asked questions
I was identified as a student with an exceptionality in high school. Will this apply at university?
Your identification as a student with an exceptionality in high school will not automatically transfer to university. A student with an exceptionality in high school is different from a student with a disability in university. In elementary and secondary school, a committee decides if a student should be placed in a special education program. In university, you must identify yourself as a student with a disability and provide documented proof of your disability (from a certified practitioner) to AccessAbility Services. Documentation of the services you received in high school will not be enough.
In high school, some of my courses were modified. Will this continue in university?
In elementary and secondary school, an educational modification means that changes are made to the expectations for a subject or course to correspond to the capabilities of the student. For example, you may be asked to complete work at a different grade level or complete a different amount of work. Educational modifications are not available in university. Instead, you may receive an educational accommodation. Accommodations are available for students in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. Accommodations don't change the level or amount of work you are expected to complete. Instead, they are resources or services to provide you with an equal opportunity to complete the work, should you require them.
Educational accommodations may include: alternate format textbooks and other materials, the use of assistive technology, alternate testing locations or extended time for tests. Accommodations are designed to meet your individual needs.
Accommodations at the university level are based on formal documentation that demonstrates that the requested accommodations are required and your accommodations may differ from those you received in high school.
How should I disclose my disability, and to whom?
It is a personal choice if you want to share information about your disability with others.
However, if you require educational accommodations in college or university, you need to disclose your disability to AccessAbility Services to set up the accommodations and provide other support. Some students are not comfortable disclosing their disability to others because they fear they may fall victim to stereotypes or stigma. Some find it beneficial because a candid discussion with an instructor or roommate may help alleviate any misunderstandings by ensuring the other person understands your personal situation. It is up to you whether you want to share information about your disability with anyone else, such as your professors or your peers. Although you should discuss your accommodations with your professors, you do not have to disclose your disability to them.
Is there funding available for assessments and equipment costs?
Bursary for Students with Disabilities (BSWD) is a grant available for students with permanent disabilities who have disability-related educational costs for services and equipment. Students must qualify for at least $1 of OSAP in order to qualify. Visit the Student Awards and Financial Aid office for more information.
If I have a problem, or my educational accommodation needs are not being met, who should I contact?
If you have concerns about your accommodation plan, or if your educational accommodation needs are not being met, make an appointment to speak with an Accommodation Consultant, who will work with you and your educators to ensure that the appropriate disability accommodations and services are in place. If you should have a concern or problem with AccessAbility Services, please speak with an Accommodation Consultant. If the issue you are experiencing is with a Consultant, or if the issue is not being resolved with that Consultant, please feel free to contact the Associate Director of AccessAbility Services at email@example.com. AccessAbility Services will examine the issue, and reach out with a solution, resolution, or response within 48 hours (2 business days). If the issue is not resolved with the Associate Director, or if the issue involves the management of the office, you can contact Mat Erickson from the Conflict Management and Human Rights Office at firstname.lastname@example.org who will facilitate discussions or lead an investigation.
What role does an IEP play in university disability support?
An IEP describes the special education program and/or services required by a student and identifies learning expectations and accommodations. As IEPs may be developed for a student who has not been formally identified, AccessAbility Services can help students make arrangements to obtain the necessary documentation when appropriate. Students with suspected disabilities should make an appointment to meet with an AccessAbility Services Accommodation Consultant for screening of disability and referral to a qualified professional.
What do I do if I miss/do not complete an exam, assignment, or other course requirement because of a disability-related incident?
Students who miss or do not complete a course component are encouraged to review their course syllabus for important information on course requirements, as well as the department’s processes for missed assignments, exams, etcetera. After doing so, complete the Course Syllabus Modification request form and a representative from our office will review your request and follow-up with you. All accommodations after the fact (retroactive accommodations) will be considered on a case by case basis.
What if I have just been diagnosed with a disability which may have impacted my previous academic performance?
Students can connect with their AccessAbility Services Accommodation Consultant to discuss the situation, and to ensure they are supported for the upcoming term. All accommodations after the fact (retroactive accommodations) will be considered on a case by case basis.