Lifting the Barriers on Disability

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University of Guelph

The University of Guelph is ranked as one of Canada's top comprehensive universities because of our commitment to student learning and innovative research. We are dedicated to cultivating the essentials for our quality of life - water, food, environment, animal and human health, community, commerce, culture and learning. The University community also shares a profound sense of social responsibility, an obligation to address global issues and a concern for international development. (source)


Student Accessibility Services

The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Student Accessibility Services (formerly the Centre for Students with Disabilities) feels that providing services for students with disabilities is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. (source)

Academic Resources

Examples of academic accommodations available may include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced provision of reading lists and other course materials to allow for alternate format transcription;
  • Alternate scheduling for the completion of course, project, thesis work, or Examinations, including competency examinations;
  • Extensions to program completion time limits;
  • Use of assistive technology in the classroom/ laboratory/ field (e.g. FM systems worn by Course Instructors);
  • Use of oral and visual language interpreters and/ or note takers in the classroom;
  • Use of audio and or visual recording of lectures;
  • Use of adaptive technology;
  • Support for Examinations including extra time, a private room, use of a computer, adaptive software or word processor, or access to a reader or scribe as needed;
  • Special seating; wheelchair accessible tables; and
  • Adjustments to lighting or ventilation

All resources provided are specific to the individual student. Eligibility for these resources will be determined through documentation of needs and discussion with Student Accessibility Services.

Non-Academic Resources

Residency Accommodations

Housing Assistance

These pages were developed to assist you, as a student with a disability, find an appropriate living environment and to offer guidance in your search for your home away from home. Additional information about special consideration requests are detailed on the Student Housing Services website.
Please review this information carefully and contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 519-824-4120, ext 56208, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (SHS) with questions you may have.

Residence Living

Student Housing Services is committed to providing residential environments and services that promote student success. Student Housing Service is available to assist students with disabilities who are applying to live in residence. Single or accessible rooms, cooking facilities or rooms in a quiet area may be available to students with disabilities to accommodate disability needs.
In order to qualify for residence, you must be a full-time registered student at the U of G. However, consideration may be given to students who study part-time because of their disability.

Disclosing your Disability in the Residence Application

Students with disabilities who wish to have their disability considered along with the residence application are asked to review the Special Consideration Information and complete a Request for Special Consideration Form and fax or mail the form to Student Housing Services.
You should also forward a copy of your disability documentation to Student Accessibility Services.
Please note: SHS and SAS recognizes the importance of single rooms for students with disabilities. However, we may not be able to guarantee requests for single rooms depending on availability.

Attendant Care

Attendant Care

The University of Guelph does not provide attendant care. The SAS can assist students in obtaining attendant care by linking you to community resources such as Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and Guelph Independent Living (GIL).

All resources provided are specific to the individual student. Eligibility for these resources will be determined through documentation of needs and discussion with Student Accessibility Services.

What Type of Documentation is Needed?

The University of Guelph recognizes eight areas of disability which are likely to occur among the university population. These include:

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Hearing Disabilities
  • Vision Disabilities
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Medical Disabilities
  • Acquired Brain Injuries
  • Psychological/Emotional Disabilities

In addition, there are other related disorders that may be considered to be impeding a student's ability to learn, and therefore a disability in need of accommodation. Find more information by clicking the tabs on the right.

Accommodations and other support for students with disabilities is a shared responsibility between the student, SAS, and faculty. Students with disabilities who will be requesting academic accommodation and/or support from SAS are responsible for providing appropriate documentation to support their requests, and meeting with their advisor early each semester to discuss how this may happen. Students are responsible for keeping a copy of their documentation for future reference.

Where the disability is not apparent, verification of the need for accommodations and support may be requested from a medical doctor, psychologist or other appropriate professional depending on the disability. In some cases documentation will need to be renewed annually or updated to reflect current functioning.

All forms published by SAS have a specific purpose. Many have deadlines. Before downloading any of these forms you are advised to ensure that you understand the purpose and process for the form. Details about these forms can be found on SAS Website.

Learning Disabilities

All students with learning disabilities who request academic accommodation or support through Student Accessibility Services (SAS) must provide a current* psycho-educational assessment report completed and signed by a registered psychologist or a registered psychological associate to support these requests. The assessment must be comprehensive and reflect the student's learning needs in a university setting.

Assessment reports also provide valuable information needed to support the development of learning strategies specific to the student's unique learning needs. Applications for awards, scholarships, grants, bursaries, tuition waivers and other funding available for students with permanent disabilities may require that a formal assessment report on file.

* Current is generally defined as occurring within the last three years, or having a diagnosis at 18 years of age or older. Documentation that is more than three years old will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Why must an assessment report be current?

Learning disabilities are life-long conditions. As such, the presence of a learning disability can be validated through formal documentation that supports a clinical diagnosis of a learning disability. This diagnosis confirms that the student has a specific learning disability.

However, a formal diagnosis alone, does NOT provide an understanding the student's current learning needs in a university setting. This understanding is necessary for Advisors to make appropriate recommendations to faculty for accommodations and to support students with strategy instruction, counseling, advocacy and guidance with applications to graduate programs, and provincial licensing exams.

Can my Individual Education Plan (IEP) from high school be used in place of a diagnostic assessment report?

No. High schools and universities are responsible to different branches of the ministry: High schools to the Ministry of Education, and universities to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Some things available to you in high school may not be available in the postsecondary setting. While a IEP may provide valuable information to help us understand what support was available to you in high school your IEP is not transferable to a university setting.

Many students with learning disabilities are identified as "exceptional students" by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) in the elementary or high school system. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) may have been developed as the result. However, the identification as an exceptional student or an IEP is NOT the same as a diagnosis of a permanent disability.

The Ministry of Education allows for the accommodation of students with an "identification" without the need for a formal diagnosis. However, at the post-secondary level legislation requires that students be formally diagnosed as having a disability. This is done through a formal psycho-educational assessment.

If you wish to obtain a copy of a psycho-educational assessment that was completed for you during elementary or high school through the Ontario school system, you should refer to your Ontario School Record (OSR).

What happens if I don't have a current assessment report?

If you cannot provide a current assessment you will be asked to get one. The learning disability specialist will work with you when you meet in September and refer you to a psychologist or psychological associate to obtain this documentation. The SAS can only do a limited number of assessments on campus. As a result, many students will be asked to have their assessment done in the community. Some accommodation may be put in place for a limited time until the assessment can be completed.

In some cases, students may be asked to get some additional testing done to bring their documentation up to criteria.

For more information about learning disabilities click on this page and visit the right hand menu.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

The University of Guelph requires that students diagnosed with Adult AD/HD provide current, comprehensive documentation by a qualified professional to support their requests for accommodation, or to support applications for disability funding.

In order to fully support the needs of adults with AD/HD in a university setting it is necessary that documentation supporting the diagnosis of AD/HD be comprehensive as indicated in the criteria below. As some symptoms of AD/HD may occur for reasons not related to an AD/HD diagnosis, it is strongly recommended that students also be screened by a medical professional for possible vision, hearing, or health issues that may be contributing to attention and/or academic difficulties.

Documentation for AD/HD should be based on the following criteria:

The documentation should be in the form of a clinical assessment done by:

  • A licensed mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, neuro-psychologist, behavioural neurologist, a clinical psychologist, or a specially trained medical doctor experienced in conducting a differential diagnosis of adult AD/HD.

The assessment should include:

  • Early indicators of difficulties with attention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity in the students personal and school history and/or through thorough consultation with someone who has known the student very well over a significant period of time (e.g. family, teachers etc.)
  • A thorough family, social, academic and/or occupational history which includes consultation with individuals who know the student very well.

The assessment should be recent, done within the last three years or after the age of 18:

  • Documentation that is more than 3 years old will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • A previous evaluation by a pediatrician may provide evidence of the existence of the disorder in childhood however it may be questioned as the sole indicator of adult AD/HD. A more comprehensive assessment is integral to determining reasonable and appropriate academic accommodations at the university level.

The assessment report should contain:

  • Disclosure of AD/HD as a diagnostic statement, including the nature (type) of the disorder as outlined in the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM);

**Please note that a brief note or a referral from a family doctor is insufficient documentation in order to be registered with Student Accessibility Services.

  • Disclosure of any diagnosed co-existing conditions (i.e. specific learning disabilities);

**Due to the fact that learning disabilities frequently co-exist with AD/HD, it is important to investigate the students learning profile. Where there is a learning disability diagnosis suspected, the assessment of cognitive and academic functioning is requested. Please refer to the Guidelines for Documentation of a Learning Disability at: LD documentation requirements

  • Assessment and description of social-emotional functioning either through formal assessment or clinical interview;

**Other associated disorders and/or issues (e.g. anxiety disorders, mood disorders, addiction issues) frequently co-exist with AD/HD. It is therefore important to consider such information when recommending appropriate supports.

  • Indication of the degree of impairment to the student's current cognitive and academic functioning;
  • Implications for appropriate accommodations (in a university environment) should be included in the assessment recommendations.

For more information about AD/HD click on this page and visit the right hand menu.

Medical and Physical Disabilities

(includes vision, hearing and acquired brain injury)

The University of Guelph is committed to providing a safe and accessible environment for students with disabilities. We see this as a shared responsibility between students, faculty and administration. The responsibility of students is providing relevant medical documentation in order to qualify for consideration for accommodations and access to services that are available.

Documentation should be provided from the student's doctor and should include:

  • A statement of the diagnosis and nature of the disability or illness.
  • A summary of presenting symptoms including severity, duration and intensity.
  • A description of the expected progress or stability of the impact of the disability.
  • A statement of how the student's illness or disability (including medical side effects if applicable) may affect the student's ability to study and learn in a post-secondary environment (e.g., mobility on campus, attending lectures, note taking, test taking).

Documentation may be accepted from other health providers such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and/or chiropractors providing the professional verifies that they have documentation from a medical doctor which provides the information noted above.

Where student safety is a concern, students will be asked to meet with an on-campus doctor to develop an on-campus plan.

Where Ministry guidelines require (e.g., accessing bursaries) additional documentation may be required as directed by Student Accessibility Services.

Please see the downloadable forms page for all documentation forms to be filled out and handed in to SAS.

Documentation Review Process for Medical and Physical Disabilities

Mental Health

Student Accessibility Services provides a variety of academic-related services and supports for students with mental health issues. Services and supports are different for each student and are based on the documentation the student provides as well as the presenting needs.

It is our goal to provide academic accommodations and supports that minimize the difficulties that students with mental health issues may experience, thus making university more accessible.

Please find the Mental Health Documentation form on the downloadable forms page here.

Levels of Support Offered

We offer two different levels of support. These are outlined briefly below. A more detailed discussion of each is available on this site.

(including ASD)

Support is provided for students who have a diagnosed persistent psychiatric or emotional disability. We provide individualized support as necessary throughout the student's university career.

We offer support for students who are experiencing temporary difficulties with academics due to mental health issues. We provide therapeutic academic accommodation, referrals and support on a semester by semester basis.

How to Access Support from SAS

Students may access our services by:

  • Contacting SAS as early as possible in the semester
  • Meeting with a SAS Advisor, and
  • Providing the required documentation

Mental Health Documentation Form

Students who have mental health issues should download and print the Mental Health Documentation Form found on the downloadable forms page here so that they may ask their health care providers to fill it out. This form indicates the kind of information that SAS requires. Health care providers may provide information in a letter form or by completing the above form.

Your Mental Health Documentation Form and any other documentation provided is carefully reviewed. Details are included at the link below.

Documentation Review Process for Psychological/Emotional Disabilities

Temporary Disabilities

Student Accessibility Services has services available to accommodate students with Temporary Disabilities. These services may include exam accommodations, library assistance, writing assistance, peer helper support, assistance with typing, and some mobility support, i.e., mobility aids.

If you should require any of these services as a result of a temporary disability please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (extension 56208) and make an appointment with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You will be asked to submit a New Student Intake Form found on the downloadable forms page here and provide us with documentation (ie a letter from your doctor).

Details are included on this site to aid students requiring a scooter or wheelchair.

Hearing Disabilities

For information about Guelph's accommodations for students with a hearing disability please click here.

How to Apply

When Should I Contact the SAS?

Arranging for disability support at university is a more time consuming and involved process than the resource support you may have received in high school.

It has been our experience that students who contact SAS for the first time in the Fall semester are at a disadvantage over those students who have been working closely with us over the summer months.

Therefore, you are highly encouraged to contact with SAS early and work with us throughout application, admission and transition process. You will keep on top of items needing your attention, so that you might make a more successful transition to university life and study.

Contact SAS . . . Prior to applying to U of G

Contact SAS to learn about the programs and services available for students with disabilities at the U of G, and help you in making the decision of which universities to apply to. Visit our booth at the Ontario Universities' Fair in Toronto in September, or during Fall Preview Day on campus in November.

Contact SAS . . . After applying to the U of G

Contact SAS to learn how we can support your application and consider your disability in the admission process. Visit SAS display on Campus Day in March.

Contact SAS . . . As soon as you have accepted an offer of admission

Of all of the things you, as a new SAS student, can do to make a smooth transition to university, submitting the New Student Intake Form found on the downloadable forms page here is the MOST IMPORTANT! Please do NOT wait for new documentation to be completed before submitting this form.

Even if you have made prior contact with SAS, we will NOT know that you have accepted an offer of admission unless you tell us.

Therefore, you must contact us again to let us know you are coming if you wish to have accommodations in place for the Fall semester.

Deadline for the New Student Intake Form is June 15th.

Contact the SAS . . . Early in the Fall semester

All new SAS students will be invited to attend a mandatory Orientation in early September. If you were not able to attend, please contact SAS to make an appointment to meet with your SAS Advisor to discuss the upcoming semester and discuss appropriate accommodations.

Additional Information

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) facilitates a variety of programs and services to assist students with disabilities participate fully in university life and maximize campus accessibility.

Students become eligible for our programs and services when they register with the SAS and provide documentation to support their disability.

In addition to the links on the right for other programming, on this page here, you can find information on the new G.P.S. Launch and the LaunchPrep programs.

G.P.S. Launch

(Guelph pre-semester launch) is a transition program for students on the Autism apectrum and students with mental health issues. This three day program will allow you to move into your own residence room early, and spend time exploring campus, as well as learning about supports available at the University of Guelph.

G.P.S. General Information

G.P.S. Important InformationG.P.S. Important Information

G.P.S. Application


LaunchPrep is a preparatory program for students with mental health issues who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education. The program includes residence accommodations, meals, access to the library, labs with assistive technology, learning materials and planned social events. Space is limited, apply early.

Launch Prep General Information

Launch Prep Application