Lifting the Barriers on Disability

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Western University

Founded in 1878, we deliver 'The Western Experience', an exemplary learning experience that engages the best and brightest people challenging them to meet ever-higher standards in the classroom and beyond. We inform every dimension of a student – intellectual, social, cultural as well as physical. From our home in London, Ont., Canada, outward across every continent, Western prepares future leaders to succeed. (source)

Services for Students with Disabilities

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) (located in Western Student Services Building, Room 4111), plays a central role in Western's efforts to ensure that its academic programs are accessible. SSD arranges academic accommodation for classes, exams, internships and other course or program activities. SSD also provides digital and Braille textbooks, accessible campus transportation, learning strategy instruction for students with learning disabilities, access to computer labs that are equipped with assistive technology, referrals for assessments and other services, and bursaries for students who meet OSAP's eligibility criteria.

SSD provides services for students registered in both Huron University College and Brescia University College, as well as, main campus of Western. King University College has separate services for students with disabilities. (source)

An accommodation is a response to unique challenges that a student faces given his or her disability and particular program requirements. Because of the individualized nature of accommodation, students and prospective students are encouraged to meet with an SSD counsellor to obtain information about specific accommodations and services that may be available to them. 

 

Academic Resources

Academic accommodation consists of arrangements that allow a student with a disability a fair opportunity to engage in academic activities and fulfill essential course and program requirements.

Accommodation does not remove essential requirements of a course or program. It does not fundamentally alter content of exams, standards for assigning grades, or requirements that students independently demonstrate their knowledge of course material.

The following are examples of accommodations:

  • access to alternative format textbooks (e.g., electronic, Braille)
  • access to accessible versions of powerpoint slides and other documents on course websites
  • use of sign-language interpreters in class
  • use of an FM system in class
  • permission to tape record lectures
  • writing exams in a quiet location
  • use of extra time when writing exams
  • use of assistive technology when writing exams (e.g., a computer equipped with specialized software)
  • use of an assistant in labs.

Furthermore, Learning Strategy Instruction is available to students with learning disabilities and attention disorders.
Students may work with a learning strategist to:

  • learn to use their psychoeducational assessment report to understand their unique pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses
  • develop various skills to facilitate reading, studying, learning new information, note-taking, essay writing, and exam writing
  • learn to monitor their progress, reflect on the effectiveness of their plans, and make changes as necessary
  • work towards a better understanding of their capabilities in different environments, and thereby strengthen their ability to self-advocate at University and in the workplace.

Students who would like to work with the learning strategist should inform their SSD counsellor or the receptionist (519 661-2147; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Students may be asked to provide more information by filling out a questionnaire prior to their appointment

An accommodation is a response to unique challenges that a student faces given his or her disability and particular program requirements. Because of the individualized nature of accommodation, students and prospective students are encouraged to meet with an SSD counsellor to obtain information about specific accommodations and services that may be available to them.

Non-Academic Resources

Resources available on campus not associated with classwork.

Accessible Campus Transportation

Western's Accessible Transportation Service (WATS) is provided by Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) in partnership with Donnelly Transit Limited. WATS is for travelling among university locations only, which includes travelling between campuses.

Students may use WATS for purposes related to their program of study and other University business. For example, students may use WATS to travel between classes, to meet with their instructors (or teaching assistants, Financial Aid advisors, etc.), to go to the library or book store, or to get lunch between classes. In the event of multiple requests for rides at a particular time, priority will be given to students who are travelling to exams and classes.

Students who require the use of WATS for disability-related reasons must contact an SSD counsellor and provide documentation of their disability. Students may book an in-person or phone appointment with a counsellor by calling 519-661-2147

Special Needs Accommodations

At Western, we believe very strongly that, regardless of a student's personal situation, all students are entitled to access the facilities they need to maintain a quality of life that enables them to succeed academically and be a vital, contributing member of Western's community. As such, we take special needs requests seriously.

Housing has its own process for accommodating students with disabilities in residence (and sometimes they consult with SSD to best meet students' needs). Students need to complete a Special Needs Form and submit it by early June.

Bathroom Equipment

Western would outfit washrooms with whatever students need. This money would come from general facilities funds.

An accommodation is a response to unique challenges that a student faces given his or her disability and particular program requirements. Because of the individualized nature of accommodation, students and prospective students are encouraged to meet with an SSD counsellor to obtain information about specific accommodations and services that may be available to them.

What type of documentation is needed?

The type of documentation that SSD requires depends on the nature of a student's disability and the ways in which it affects academic performance. In general, students who request accommodation are required to provide documentation of their disability from a professional who is qualified to diagnose the condition and to comment on associated difficulties that may arise at university or while engaged in course or program related work.

Documentation must state the nature of the disability and its functional implications for university. It should support accommodations that are being requested, and specify situations or activities that may worsen a student's condition. Documentation that includes suggestions for accommodation is appreciated. Below are the areas of disability that is recognized by Western University. They include learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, mental health/psychiatric disabilities and sensory, physical and medical disabilities.

Learning Disabilities

Students with learning disabilities must provide a current psycho-educational assessment report completed by a registered psychologist or psychological associate. Generally, a current assessment would be no more than three years old. Documentation that is older than three years will be evaluated on an individual basis. For example, older reports based on comprehensive assessments that individuals underwent at 18 years of age or older may provide a sufficiently informative basis for arranging accommodation.

Students who have not undergone a recent and thorough psycho-educational assessment may receive assistance arranging one from their SSD counsellor.

It may be possible for SSD to recommend academic accommodation on a temporary basis while a student undergoes an assessment. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) and confirmation that a student used accommodation during high school may serve as a basis for temporary accommodations in a student's first year at Western.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Documentation of ADHD may be provided by a registered psychologist or psychological associate, psychiatrist or relevantly trained physician. A current and comprehensive psycho-educational assessment report typically is the most informative documentation for supporting academic accommodation and learning skills development. Alternatively, documentation of ADHD may be provided by using the attached form.

Documentation of ADHD must include:
• a current diagnosis of adult ADHD
• description of functional implications of the individual's ADHD and evidence that the disorder is disabling in a university setting
• information about co-existing conditions that also may affect academic performance, such as anxiety, depression, specific learning disabilities and addictions

Mental Health/Psychiatric Disabilities

Documentation of mental health or psychiatric disabilities must be prepared by a registered psychologist or psychological associate, psychiatrist, or relevantly trained physician, in this attached form. Documentation must describe symptoms and difficulties that a student currently is experiencing. A DSM diagnosis should be included as well as a description of the degree of impairment and the rationale for any accommodations that are suggested. A description of current treatment, such as medication or psychotherapy, and their implications for accommodation also should be provided.

Please note that documentation of test anxiety in and of itself is insufficient to arrange academic accommodation.

Sensory, Physical, and Medical Disabilities

Documentation of hearing, vision, mobility and medical disabilities should be completed by the treating physician or a physician who is most familiar with a student's disability. Students are asked to have physicians complete SSD's Documentation of Physical Disability Form. Alternatively, letters or reports may be acceptable.

Documentation should include a diagnostic statement, a summary of presenting symptoms, a description of how the student's illness or disability may affect them in an academic setting, the expected progress or stability of the condition, and situations that may worsen the condition.

Documentation from other health practitioners such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and chiropractors often is useful in determining the most appropriate accommodations and services for a student. This documentation must be accompanied by diagnostic information from a physician or medical team representative.

Temporary Disability

Resources and services for students with temporary disabilities are arranged on a case by case basis, and often in cooperation with Academic Counselling in the student's faculty. For example, students with temporary mobility impairments are offered use of the Access Van, or assistance arranging a temporary disabled parking permit, as well as advice on campus accessibility. Students with depressive disorders might need exam accommodations for a term or two, or may just need the very short term support of Academic Counselling to arrange for an extension or a make up exam.

Additional Information

First Year Student

In addition to documentation specified above, first year students should provide a statement prepared by their school board regarding accommodations that were used in high school and the rationale for these arrangements. This information may be in their IPRC or IEP documents or in letters that have been prepared by school officials.

Visiting Student

Visiting students from other universities typically are required to provide documentation of their disability as described above. In some cases, SSD may accept a statement prepared by a student's home institution that indicates accommodations that were available and the rationale for these arrangements. Visiting students should consult with an SSD counsellor regarding their documentation.

How to Apply

The following are steps on how to apply.

Step 1

Contact SSD or SSD at King's (for King's students only) to schedule an appointment with a counsellor. Students should meet with a counsellor as soon as they have registered in courses.

The purpose of this meeting is to determine accommodations that SSD will recommend to students' instructors, and to inform students of procedures and other services that may be useful to them.

Students living in distant locations from London may begin the process of arranging accommodations in a phone appointment.

Please note that students who meet with a counsellor after classes have begun may be unable to write fall exams with accommodation. Similarly, students who first meet with a counsellor after October (or February) may be unable to write December exams (or April exams) with accommodation. Please contact SSD for specific deadlines.

Step 2

Provide documentation of disability to SSD. Students should send documentation to SSD prior to their appointment, if possible. If this is not possible, they should bring documentation to their appointment. Please refer to Documentation section above.

Step 3

After steps 1 and 2, students who are requesting exam accommodations are required to communicate to Exam Services (which administers exams) their intentions to write specific tests and exams with that department. SSD counsellors will show students how to sign up for exams using Exam Services' (ES) website. Counsellors also will show students how to use the site to check exam locations and start times.

Additional Information

1. Please note that students who meet with a counsellor after classes have begun may be unable to write fall exams with accommodation. Similarly, students who first meet with a counsellor after October (or February) may be unable to write December exams (or April exams) with accommodation. Please contact SSD for specific deadlines.

2. Students must inform their SSD counsellor of any changes to their course registration (including changes to sections of a course) so that the counsellor may recommend accommodations for the correct courses. Students should make a note for themselves to contact their counsellors in December or January regarding any changes to second term courses.

3. Accommodations that Western will provide may differ from accommodations that students request or have used in high school or at other educational institutions. SSD's recommendations are based on consideration of a student's experienced difficulties and history using accommodations, information from disability documentation, information concerning course requirements, and our experience with assisting students by arranging various accommodations and related services.

4. Prospective students are encouraged to meet with an SSD counsellor to find out the types of accommodation that we would recommend for them before making their final decision about attending Western. To provide this information, we would need documentation concerning the individual's disability.

For more information and contact numbers, please visit this website.

 

King's University College

Services for Students with Disabilities

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at King's believe every student has the right to "Access Success"! We are committed to providing an accessible and barrier-free learning environment, with services geared toward a wide range of needs.

Students using the services provided by SSD have disabilities which may include, but are not limited to, vision, hearing and mobility impairments, learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, chronic illnesses, chronic pain, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders.

To learn more about Services for Students with Disabilities at King's, please click here.