Lifting the Barriers on Disability

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University of Toronto Scarborough

An anchor institution in the eastern GTA, UTSC combines the intimacy of a close-knit campus, the breadth of the liberal arts and the depth and rigor of one of the world's best research universities. Fostering a vibrant culture of community engagement, UTSC students cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge. (source)

AccessAbility Services

The mission of AccessAbility Services is to ensure that all students with disabilities can freely and actively participate in all facets of University life; to provide and coordinate services and programs that enable students with disabilities to maximize their educational potential and to increase awareness of inclusive values among all members of the University community. (source)

Academic Resources

AccessAbility Services also facilitates educational initiatives for faculty, staff, current students, potential students, student leaders, the University community and outside community.
The services available include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic Adjustment (source)
    • Extended time for coursework (to be discussed with Instructor) and AccessAbility Services
    • Alternate course projects (i.e., for student who has verbal communication difficulties and may face barriers doing an oral presentation)
  • Advanced Preparation for Courses (source)
    • Students who require alternate format materials and or orientation and mobility training may receive these supports if they make their needs known to AccessAbility Services before the commencement of courses.
  • Advocacy (source)
    • Where self-advocacy is not an option or has become problematic AccessAbility Services staff are available to advocate on your behalf. This may include assistance negotiating reasonable adjustments as well as providing instructors with information and advice regarding:
      • Services offered by AccessAbility Services
      • The Ontario Human Rights Commission
      • University of Toronto Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities
      • Ontarians with Disabilities Act
  • Alternate Communication (source)
    • Qualified students may access the services of an interpreter (ASL or oral), intervenor or other related supports to facilitate communication.
  • Alternate Exam Arrangements (source)
    • Qualified students may be provided with alternate test/exam/quiz arrangements which may include:
    • Extra time
    • Rest breaks
    • Use of specialized technology (software to enlarge print, read text or allow the student to speak into the computer)
    • Modification of response format
    • Scribe
  • Assessment Services (source)
    • The service provides referrals to a Registered Psychologist for learning disability and ADHD assessments and for assistive technology assessments. Students are referred by their Primary Counsellor.
  • Assistive Technology (source)
    • Assistive technology refers to equipment or software that can diminish or eliminate barriers and maximize productivity and independence for people with disabilities. There is a vast range of technology designed to suit the needs of people with different disabilities. For more information please click here.
  • Multiple Format Program (Scanned Texts) (source)
    • To have access to our Multiple Format services, you must be registered with AccessAbility Services and approved to receive multiple format material(s) for a disability-related need. For detailed instructions please view the Multiple Format Student Guide
  • Note taking (source)
    • Peer Note takers (volunteer note takers)
    • Taping Lectures

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

Non-Academic Resources

Mobility Assistance

For eligible students who require assistance on campus moving from one class to the next, picking up food in the cafeteria, etc. support is available

Student Housing and Residence Life

Accessible student housing is available at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Residence information can be found by visiting the Student Housing & Residence Life Facilities web page.

If you are attending University of Toronto Scarborough as a student with a disability, please complete and submit an Access Needs in Residence Form. If you require Attendant Care Services, please complete both the Access Needs in Residence Form and the Supplemental Form -Attendant Care

Bathroom Equipment

AccessAbility Services will review a students' needs on an individual basis and help identify funding options for personal use items. There are accessible bathrooms throughout the campus and accessible bathrooms/showers in Residence.

Attendant Care

Centre for Independent Living – Project Information Centre (PIC). PIC is the centralized point of access for persons with physical disabilities applying for Attendant Services in Toronto. It is highly recommended that a student interested in attending UTSC apply at least one year before the time you plan to commence your education. AccessAbility Services does not arrange attendant care, but will assist students who receive attendant care by facilitating arrangements and accommodations for them on campus.

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

What Type of Documentation is Needed?

In order to receive support from AccessAbility Services students have the responsibility "to communicate his or her needs in sufficient detail and to co-operate in consultations to enable the person responsible for accommodation to respond to the request" (Ontario Human Rights Code, 1994, p.17). (source)

Guidelines for Documentation

  1. Must be recent and be updated as requested by the office. If the student's condition is a chronic and/or changing condition, the student must provide updated documentation so that an accurate picture of the students functioning can be established and so that their accommodations can be adjusted accordingly.
  2. Documentation should describe the disability or condition, provide a diagnosis where possible, note how the condition manifests and its effect/impact on academic performance. The documentation must be thorough enough to support the accommodations being considered.
  3. A licensed professional, qualified in the appropriate specialty area, should provide documentation.
  4. A list of prescribed medications, possible side effects, and effects on academic performance is strongly recommended.
  5. Permission to consult with the practitioner who supplied the documentation may be required.
  6. The specialist MUST use their office stamp on the Medical Certificate or provide a signature on letterhead.
  7. An individual who is impartial must provide documentation, specifically someone not related to the student.

Requirements for Specific Disabilities/Health Considerations

The AccessAbility Services Medical Certificate is available online.

The following are broad guidelines for the types of documentation required by AccessAbility Services for provision of accommodations. For more specific information please contact the office.

Acquired Brain Injury

  • the AccessAbility Services Medical Certificate by your physician/specialist stating the diagnosis and impact of the disability including difficulties experienced, recommended accommodations, medications and any side effects
  • a copy of a neuro-psychological assessment
  • a letter from your high school citing the accommodations received (if applicable)

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

  • a copy of a recent diagnostic report (three years or less) which states the DSM diagnosis, symptoms and difficulties experienced, recommended accommodations/strategies. As well, a list of prescribed medications, possible side effects, and effects on academic performance is recommended.
  • a letter from your high school citing the accommodations received (if applicable)

Blind or Low Vision

  • the AccessAbility Services Medical Certificate which includes diagnosis, visual acuity, difficulties experienced and recommended accommodations
  • a letter from your high school citing the accommodations received (if applicable)

Chronic Medical Disability

  • the AccessAbility Services Medical Certificate completed by your physician/specialist stating the diagnosis and impact of the disability including difficulties experienced, recommended accommodations, medications and any side effects
  • a letter from your high school citing the accommodations received (if applicable)

Deaf, Deafened or Hard-of-Hearing

  • a copy of your most recent audiological examination
  • the AccessAbility Services Medical Certificate which includes diagnosis, degree, configuration of loss, difficulties experienced and recommended accommodations including suggestions about appropriate technical support (i.e., FM System)
  • a letter from your high school, itinerant teacher or resource room citing the accommodations received (if applicable)

Functional/Fine Motor

  • the Medical Certificate completed by your physician/specialist stating the diagnosis and impact of the disability including difficulties experienced, recommended accommodations, medications and any side effects
  • a letter from your high school citing the accommodations received (if applicable)

Learning Disability

  • a copy of a comprehensive psycho-educational testing, administered by a registered psychologist, within the last three to five years stating the diagnosis and the type of learning disability, all test scores, a description of the academic difficulties resulting from the disability and recommended accommodations
  • a letter from your high school citing the accommodations received and copies of your Individual Education Plan from high school (if applicable)

NOTE: AccessAbility Services can arrange for a Psycho-Educational Assessment to determine if a Learning Disability is present. Please book an appointment with the Disability Specialist as soon as possible.

Mental Health Disability

  • the Medical Certificate which includes a DSM diagnosis from a psychologist or psychiatrist stating the diagnosis, characteristics of the disability, difficulties experienced, medication and side effects and recommended accommodations/strategies
  • a letter from your high school citing the accommodations received (if applicable)

Mobility Disability

  • the Medical Certificate, which includes the diagnosis, description of difficulties experienced and recommended accommodations
  • a list of prescribed medications, possible side effects, and effects on academic performance is recommended.
  • a letter from your high school citing the accommodations received (if applicable)

How to Apply

Students who have been newly admitted to the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) should book an appointment as soon as the letter of offer is accepted. Students are strongly encouraged to register with AccessAbility Services as early as possible to avoid a delay in service. The earlier a student registers, the better we will be able to develop an accommodation plan with a student. (source)

Step 1:

Contact the service at (voice/TTY) 416-287-7560 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book an appointment with a consultant.

Step 2:

Gather the appropriate documentation to bring to the meeting.

Step 3:

Students will meet with an AccessAbility Services consultant to:

  1. review the documentation
  2. identify the accommodations
  3. identify resources which are appropriate for their needs

Step 4:

If required, the student may be referred to services at UTSC and external supports to assist them with succeeding at UTSC.

Step 5:

If eligible for services, student will:

  • request the services that they will need (e.g. note taking supports)
  • identify specific course work which may need accommodations that have not yet been identified
  • participate in discussions regarding possible accommodation solutions

Step 6:

The student will then work with the service on an ongoing basis to manage the accommodation process. Generally, students will meet with their consultant annually (re-registration) so that he/she can update students on new initiatives and review the student's accommodations.

Additional Information

FREE Summer Startup Program

For Incoming First Year Students with a Disability

Reasons to Attend:

  • To ease your transition from high school to university
  • Develop the necessary tools to help you succeed in university
  • The program is FREE to attend, including all meals
  • Optional stay in residence for a fee (first 16 participants to register for the program can stay for free in residence; subject to availability beyond the first 16 participants)

Students wishing to register for the Summer Startup Program, please complete the Summer Startup Registration Form. If you have any difficulties with the online registration form, please contact us at Tel/TTY 416-287-7560.

Free Session for Parents

This informative, free session is for parents/guardians who support a student with a disability. This session will help parents/guardians:

  • Learn more about U of T Scarborough and how to support your student in their transition to university.
  • Understand your changing role as a parent/guardian
  • Be informed of the rules of confidentiality
  • Identify the transition issues that students may face

Parents/guardians wishing to attend must register. If you would like to attend, please contact our office at Tel/TTY 416-287-7560 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..