Are you looking to understand your options for academic accommodations related to traumatic experience based on race?

Have you experienced impacts from racism, racial trauma, racial violence, and are looking for academic accommodations options related to those experiences and impacts? Resources and support are available. 

AccessAbility Services (AAS) is the University’s centralized office for facilitating academic accommodations for students with disabilities, and students experiencing the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of a trauma.

Register with AccessAbility Services to access the accommodations and supports available to you (you do not need documentation verifying a disability to apply).

You will not be asked to share your experiences of racial trauma or violence – only to express the specific impacts on your academic functioning (e.g. impacts on short-term memory, ability to focus etc.) You should not feel pressured to disclose any information about your experiences that you do not want to.

Step 1:

Go to the AccessAbility Services homepage and click the “Apply Online” button to be directed to their application overview page. There, you can select the “Apply Now” button complete online application (sign-in to their system using your “username@uwaterloo.ca” account).

  • If you believe you require academic accommodations, but do not have a diagnosis or supporting medical documentation, select the following option in the application form:  ‘I believe I may have a disability but have not connected with a regulated health care practitioner about this. I will complete the required Suspected Disability Self-Assessment Form online within the week. I will notify AccessAbility Services if there is a delay in submitting it.’

Step 2:

Complete their online Suspected Disability Self-Assessment Form

  • This form enables the AAS office to learn about the barriers you are experiencing in the academic environment, so they can begin to design your individualized accommodation plan.

Step 3:

Schedule an appointment with an Accommodation Consultant

  • Once your application and self-assessment has been reviewed, you will receive an email from the AAS office inviting you to schedule an appointment with an Accommodation Consultant. Please call and leave a message or email the office to schedule this appointment time that works for you. The phone number is: 519-888-4567, ext. 35082. Email: access@uwaterloo.ca.

Step 4:

Meet with your Accommodation Consultant

  • At your meeting, you will: a) finalize your accommodation plan, b) learn how to request and manage your accommodations, c) discuss privacy and confidentiality, and d) discuss next steps.
  • When meeting with your Accommodation Consultant, you may be asked to share the impact of your disabling condition on your academics, and the aspects of your education that pose barriers.  You will not be asked to share your story of racial trauma or violence.

Step 5:

Request and manage your accommodations

  • Using their online system, you will request and manage your online accommodations for your term.
  • Your Accommodation Consultant will be available to you throughout the term when needed should you require ongoing or additional support.

Step 6:

Additional supports and services available through AccessAbility Services

  • Their YouTube Channel has training videos to support your learning strategy and assistive technology needs
  • The “AccessAbility Services’ LEARN course” offers additional learning strategy and assistive technology resources, including workshops. Self-register by following the steps in this instructional video.
  • Attend a virtual drop-in session for one-on-one learning strategy and assistive technology support available Monday to Friday, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Other avenues of support:

Students can access Counselling Services for support processing and validating their experiences, navigating the university system, and providing verification (including VIFs) of the mental health impacts of racial violence/trauma (upon request/with consent). In the intake process students can request a racialized counsellor/mental health professional.

Students can also access the Equity Office (equity@uwaterloo.ca) to receive support talking through your experiences, understand your options, and discuss potential next steps.