What is a disability?
The term ‘disability’ covers a broad range and degree of conditions that can be permanent, temporary, sporadic, and suspected, including, but not limited to, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory disabilities, developmental disabilities, mental health disabilities, as well as disabling illnesses, medical conditions, and trauma. Rather than focusing on the diagnosis, we focus on the ‘functional limitations’ that are impacting your ability to participate in post-secondary studies.
Why do I need documentation to verify my disability?
Updated medical documentation (including psycho-educational assessments and other rehabilitative documentation) provides our office with critical information about your needs, and the limitations you experience as a result of your disability and/or the academic environment. We use this information to design your academic accommodation plan and to help you apply for funding for specialized supports and services (if applicable). Different levels and types of documentation will be required for different purposes. For example, while we can develop an interim accommodation plan pending formal diagnosis, you will need to submit current documentation verifying a disability if applying for specialized bursaries or awards.
If you don’t have documentation to support your disability, it’s okay. We can talk your through what you need. What is most important is applying with our office if you believe you need accommodations – we can help you with the rest.
For more information about documentation requirements, and why additional documentation may be required, please refer to the University of Waterloo’s Student Academic Accommodation Guidelines.
How do I get my UW Disability Verification Forms completed?
There are several disability verification forms, which are designed to support your practitioner in providing us with more information about your needs to assist us in the design of your individualized accommodation plan. Please print the form(s) most applicable to your unique condition and take it to a registered health professional to complete. Each form provides guidance on who may be qualified to complete the form.
Please note that it may take your practitioner a number of visits with you before they are able to adequately assess your functional limitations – therefore we encourage you to plan accordingly and begin working with your health care team right away. If you need more information or support in order to obtain additional documentation during your interim plan, please let us know.
Obtaining documentation is the responsibility of the student, including any fee associated with having documentation completed. If cost is a barrier, please schedule an appointment to speak with an Accommodation Consultant to discuss possible funding sources or other alternatives.
Obtaining documentation is a barrier. What do I do?
If you experience any barriers in obtaining documentation, or, have questions about our documentation needs, please contact our Manager of Student Accommodations, Casey Gautreau, directly by email. Accommodation support may be available to support your learning needs.
How do I submit my disability verification form?
Documentation can be accepted via fax, mail, uploaded with your online application on page 2. In-person delivery is not available at this time. If you are uploading your documentation to our secure online system, please provide a clear scan for readability.
I submitted the OSAP Disability Verification Form. Do I need additional documentation?
The OSAP Disability Verification Form will be accepted by our office as proof of disability for the purposes of your BSWD application. However, to support the development of an academic accommodation plan, an in-depth understanding of the your functional limitations within the post-secondary environment is required. If you only have an the OSAP Disability Verification Form, that is fine to get you started. Your Accommodation Consultant can talk to you about what additional documentation you may need. What is most important, is that you apply with our office, if you believe you need support, even if you don’t have the documentation available.
I have an IEP. Do I need additional documentation?
Your Individualized Education Plan (IEP) can help us learn a bit more about you, and about the supports you used in the past. However, updated documentation that verifies the presence of a disability, as well as the functional limitations you will experience in the post-secondary environment, will be needed to be eligible for ongoing accommodations, as well as for specialized bursaries and awards. If you only have an IEP, that is fine to get you started. Your Accommodation Consultant can talk to you about what additional documentation you may need. What is most important, is that you apply with our office, if you believe you need support, even if you don’t have the documentation available.
Please print the appropriate disability verification form and take it to your regulated health care practitioner for completion.