Students are responsible for identifying their needs for disability-related accommodation to Student Accessibility Services by booking an intake appointment with a SAS Advisor, and bringing appropriate documentation to the first meeting.
All documentation must be current and provided by a regulated health practitioner (e.g. physician, a medical specialist, psychiatrist, psychologist).
Documentation must include a statement:
- that the individual has an ongoing diagnosed disability
- that the functional limitations of the disability warrant academic accommodation
Students with learning disabilities must provide a written report from a comprehensive psycho-educational assessment conducted by a registered clinical psychologist that formally diagnoses a specific learning disability.
For more information about documentation requirements for learning disabilities and other disabilities, please visit the Documentation of Disability page.
During the intake appointment, the SAS Advisor will review the appropriateness of documentation, discuss possible accommodations, and establish an accommodation protocol. Factors taken into consideration when establishing an accommodation protocol are the specific impact of the student's disability on academic functioning, the degree of the impact, the extent in which the documentation supports the requests, and whether the accommodation will significantly compromise the essential requirements and/or academic integrity of the course or program.
Many students arrive at university with disabilities that may have gone undiagnosed. If you suspect that a student is having academic difficulties because of an undiagnosed disability, please encourage him or her to contact Student Accessibility Services for an interview and screening.
Student Accessibility Services has a human rights obligation to maintain confidentiality.
Some students may feel at ease discussing the nature of their disability and need for accommodations with their instructors while others may not.
If a student feels comfortable disclosing, s/he has a right to do so; however, SAS staff have an obligation to not disclose information without the student's specific written permission.
As an instructor, you also have an obligation to respect the confidentiality of students with disabilities who are receiving academic accommodations.
Students with disabilities, especially those with non-visible disabilities (e.g. learning disabilities, psychiatric, medical disabilities) may feel apprehensive about being identified in front of their peers because of the negative social stigma attached to their disability.
SAS Advisors recommend to students that they discuss their needs and concerns during their instructors' scheduled office hours in order to ensure privacy.