York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York is Canada's third largest university, with a commitment to excellence which reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. (source)
While all individuals are expected to satisfy the requirements of their program of study or their employment and to aspire to do so at a level of excellence, the university recognizes that persons with disabilities may require reasonable accommodation to enable them to do so. It is the responsibility of each member of the York community, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, volunteers and their representative organizations to play a part in creating an equitable and inclusive environment, in the identification and minimizing of barriers, and in the accommodation processes. (source)
Disability Services comprises three units within Counselling & Disability Services on the Keele campus that offer a variety of academic support to students with disabilities. Our three disability service units are:
Learning Disability Services
York University has policies in place to ensure all students have equal opportunity to achieve their educational goals. The primary aim of Learning Disability Services (LDS) is to provide confidential support for students identified with learning disabilities (LDs), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), in order to facilitate their academic, personal and career goals. If you are a Part-time or Full-time, undergraduate or graduate student, registered at York University with a diagnosed LD, you may be eligible for academic accommodations.
LDS Academic Resources
Supports Specifically for Students Registered with LDS
If a student requires support with their academics, through LDS we would focus on providing academic language skills "tutoring" – individualized sessions that allow students to develop their reading, writing, note taking, and general study skills that they can apply to any subject they choose to undertake.
To that end, we currently have three full time staff members and five workstudy/YES students who can provide learning strategy and language skills support to students. We also offering small group sessions on learning strategies specifically designed for students with learning disabilities throughout the academic year.
Students should connect with their disability counselor to find out more about how to access this service.
We can support students who might need to find independent content tutoring. Students interested in this support would access our On-line Tutor Bank.
Support Available to All York Students
Students are also encouraged to speak to their TAs and Course Directors if they need support with specific course content.
Tutoring in writing skills can be accessed through the Writing Centre.
There are other academic supports for writing can be found at other writing centres on campus as well.
Support with academic learning skills such as note taking, reading, test taking and time management can be access through the Learning Skills Program.
One other useful support is the Learning Commons which can be found in the Scott Library.
What Type of LDS Documentation is Needed?
Documentation Requirements for Registering with Learning Disability Services
Documentation should be no older than 5 years old. If reports are older, or if students provide us with incomplete documentation (such as only an IEP) it is possible that only very minimal accommodations can be put in place until documentation is updated.
The following guidelines are provided to psychologists and medical professionals in the interest of assuring that assessment/evaluation reports contain information relevant to document eligibility. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, nor is it meant to restrict assessment in any way.
Learning Disability Services (LDS)
- A clear diagnostic statement identifying a learning disability should be made. If another diagnosis is applicable, this should be stated as well.
- Testing should be comprehensive. No single test should be used in isolation for the purpose of diagnosis. Several domains should be addressed, including but not necessarily limited to:
- Aptitude – The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – IV (WAIS IV) listing the sub-test scores is the preferred instrument. The Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery – Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability or the Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition are acceptable alternatives.
- Achievement – A review of your academic history and an assessment of the current levels of functioning in reading, mathematics, and written language. Acceptable instruments include: Canadian Test of Basic Skills; Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery – Revised: Tests of Achievement; Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK); or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language -2 (TOWL-2), Woodcock Reading Mastery Test, or the Stanford Diagnostic Math Test.
- Information Processing – Relevant areas of information processing (e.g. short and long-term memory, sequential memory, visual/auditory perception, attention, fine-motor dexterity, processing speed) should be assessed using subtests from the WAIS IV or Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability, or other appropriate instruments of the psychologist's choice.
- Social-Emotional Status – Formal assessment instruments and clinical interview may be used. We are aware that social-emotional issues may occur concurrently with, or may be secondary to, learning disabilities. It is helpful to know as much about these issues as possible in order to provide the most appropriate service to you. We also request that attention be given to the differential diagnosis of psychological disorders other than learning disabilities that may have an impact on academic performance.
- Testing should be relatively current. We prefer to receive assessments that have been completed within five years of your anticipated start date at York University, though we will accept ones completed earlier to initiate accommodations. However, if you are applying under the "Modified Admissions Process" a more recent assessment is required.
- Test scores/data should be included. This information helps us in planning an appropriate support plan and may be necessary to substantiate eligibility for special requests for course substitutions or reasonable accommodations.
Students with psycho-educational reports that fail to meet the criteria listed above may be required to undergo further diagnostic assessment prior to receiving support services from LDS.
Individual Education Plans ("IEPs") can be submitted as additional documentation.
Guidelines for Documentation of Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
A clinical assessment by a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, behavioural neurologist or a clinical or educational psychologist, using the current version of the DSM is requested. Evaluation by clinicians who have extensive training and experience in differential diagnosis is recommended.
This assessment should include:
- early indicators of difficulties with attention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity in the student's school history and/or through consultation with someone who has known the student well over a significant period of time (e.g. family, teachers).
- a thorough family, social, academic and/or occupational history which includes consultation with individuals who know the student well.
- Recent diagnosis (within the last 5 years) or a diagnosis made at 18 years of age or older. Documentation that is more than 5 years old will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Documentation which is provided that does not contain the above will not be considered complete and might result in provisional accommodations while more extensive information is requested.
We will accept an ADHD Form as a start to putting accommodations in place.
Note: LDS recognizes that previous evaluation by a pediatrician may be accepted by the current evaluator as evidence of the existence of the disorder since childhood, but may be questioned as the sole indicator of adult AD/HD.
Guidelines for Documentation of Adult Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder for Psychologists and Psychological Associates
York University requires that all students diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) who request accommodation and support through Learning Disability Services (LDS) have a current psycho-educational assessment report on file to support their requests. This assessment must meet the Guidelines for Documentation of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder established by York.
Students who are undertaking an assessment are asked to provide the attached guidelines to the diagnosing psychologist and request that the assessment be undertaken in accordance with these guidelines. Where the assessment report does not contain the needed information, LDS may not be able to consider the provision of accommodations requested, and/or may ask that further testing be undertaken, or contact the diagnosing psychologist to request additional information.
If you have questions about these guidelines, please contact LDS.
Content of the Assessment Report
The assessment report will be based on the following model for content:
- A clear diagnostic statement identifying AD/HD, including the nature (type) of the disorder as outlined in the current version of the DSM.
- Identification of co-existing conditions that may be diagnosed.
- Assessment of cognitive and academic functioning.
Due to the fact that learning disabilities frequently co-exist with AD/HD, it is important to investigate the student's learning profile, and the presence of possible learning disabilities, in order to provide appropriate support.
Guidelines for Documentation of a Learning Disability:
- Assessment and description of social-emotional functioning either through formal assessment and/or clinical interview to rule out other explanations for the difficulties.
Other associated disorders (e.g. anxiety disorders, mood disorders) frequently co-exist with AD/HD. It is therefore important to consider such information when recommending appropriate support.
- An indication of the degree of impairment in the student's current functioning.
- Implications for appropriate accommodations in a university environment indicated by the recommendations.
Additional LDS Information
What is the Career Mentorship Program?
The Career Mentorship Program is a career development option offered by Learning Disability Services at York University. It is an opportunity for York University students with LDs to be matched with career mentors to work together to facilitate the career goals of the students.
To learn more about this program, click here.
Strengthening Transitions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
The Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU) provides additional support to help students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) succeed in postsecondary education programs. Students will get help building the skills they need through a variety of resources, activities and programs.
Our program is currently being developed so please check back regularly for updates.
To learn more about this program, click here.
Mental Health Disability Services
Our role is to provide academic accommodations for students with documented Mental Health disabilities in accordance with Ontario Human Rights Code and York Senate Policy on accommodating Students with Disabilities. Our focus is on providing academic support to students with Mental Health Disabilities and does not include treatment. We provide students with appropriate referrals. Our Program is not meant to replace mental health support available in the community.
MHDS Academic Resources
Academic accommodations take into consideration the nature and severity of a student's disability, the core requirements of a course, and academic integrity. Provision of academic accommodations is based on individual needs. It is a process determined by factors such as medical doucmentation, communication and collaboration among students, their disability counsellor and their instructors. We adhere to York Senate Policy on Accommodating Students with Disabilities and Ontario Human Rights Code.
Advocacy and self advocacy
Students are expected to play a major role in communicating with faculty and staff regarding their academic accommodations. MHDS disability counsellors advocate for students around accommodations when difficulties arise. MHDS staff provide workshops on negotiation skills to teach students how best to interface with instructors.
The Assistive Technology Lab is located in the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Building in room 1017.
It offers services to students affiliated with Learning Disability Services, Mental Health Disability Services, and Physical, Sensory and Medical Disability Services.
The Assistive Technology Lab provides the following:
- A quiet work space that has access to the internet and limited printing
- Access to word processing and various Assistive Technologies
- An Assistive Technology Specialist that offers training and support in the use of various assistive (and mainstream) software programs
Exam and Test Accommodations
MHDS and the Registrar's Office work in partnership to support alternate exam and test accomodation services to students with disabilities. Exam and test accomodations will be determined by MHDS disability counsellors and is based on confidential medical/psychological documentation. The scheduling logistics of alternate exams and tests will be handled by the Registrar's Office. For alternate exams and test request procedures and policies, please visit http://www.yorku.ca/altexams.
How do I Apply to MHDS?
In order to register with Mental Health Disability Services (MHDS), students must submit a completed registration package to our office. The registration package is available below. Completed registration packages should be submitted to N110 Bennett Centre or faxed to 416-736-5633. Our hours of operation are available at Contact Us. An intake appointment will be scheduled once the completed registration package has been reviewed by our office.
Additional MHDS Information
Peer Mentor Program
The Peer Mentor Program is for students registered with MHDS. Students are mentored by upper level students who themselves are part of MHDS. They are available to meet with you on an as needed basis during the school term. They can help familiarize you with services and resources on campus and provide you with encouragement and support. For more information please contact your MHDS disability counsellor.
Students registered with MHDS can enrol in our List Serve. To maintain the privacy of all list-serve users, messages are sent to undisclosed recipients. The list-serve is not a chat-line, but rather is a quick and effective means of sharing information relevant to your education.
Physical, Sensory, and Medical Disability Services
York University has policies in place to ensure all students have equal opportunity to attain their educational goals. If you are a student with a physical, sensory or medical disability you may be eligible for academic accommodations. We encourage you to review this web site and to consider the benefits of contacting PSMDS. The support offered is education related.
PSMDS Academic Resources
Interpreting and Notetaking Request Form: Registered D/HH Students Only
If you require Interpreting or Note taking services and are registered with Physical, Sensory and Medical Disability Services, please complete the following form for course related appointments, group meetings, administration appointments and.or co-curricular activities.
This form is to be used by Registered Deaf and Hard Hearing students.
PSMDS Non-Academic Resources
Funded by Local Health Integrated Networks, attendants deliver one-on-one care to students with disabilities who live in campus housing on the Keele Campus. March of Dimes has been providing compassionate, professional services for more than 20 years and our experienced, caring staff has helped us grow into one of the largest attendant service providers in Ontario.
What we do
Attendants assist with daily activities such as:
- personal grooming and hygiene
- taking medication
- rising and retiring
- meal preparation
- toileting, bowel/bladder services
- ventilator and tracheotomy services
- range of motion exercises
- essential communication tasks
- laundry, light housekeeping,
- shopping and banking on the Keele campus
- household management
Eligibility Criteria for Government Funded Service
- have a permanent physical disability
- be 16 years of age or older
- have a valid OHIP health card
- have the ability to direct her/his care. For example, is she/he capable of managing, determining, and communicating when and how she/he needs assistance and is able to co-operate with this provision
- Not be in receipt of insurance funds
The application process can be initiated by contacting the Community Support Supervisor at 416-736-5167 or Resource Worker, Shirmara, toll free number 1-866-399-3463.
Applicants may be placed on a waiting list if the program is at capacity.
What Documentation is Needed/How do I Apply to PSMDS?
In order to register with PSMDS, students must complete the two part registration package. Completed packages can be returned to N108 Ross Building or faxed to 416-650-8068. Intake appointments will be set once the documentation has been reviewed by our office.
Additional PSMDS Information
Project ADVANCE – Summer Transition Program for Students with Disabilities
Project ADVANCE is a program which prepares students with documented disabilities (e.g., learning disabilities, mental health disabilities, physical, sensory and medical disabilities, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, etc.) for success in their post-secondary studies.
During Project ADVANCE, students with disabilities learn about academic strategies, study and life skills, assistive technologies, and the availability of campus support. In addition, students have the opportunity to examine their individual areas of academic strength and weakness as they relate to the challenges of university studies. Project ADVANCE is offered as a two-week intensive program during the first two weeks of July or the last two weeks of August.
To learn more about this program, click on this page.
Housing Services strives to accommodate the needs of all students with disabilities wishing to live on campus. We provide a number of adapted units in our undergraduate residences and apartment-style units for wheelchair users (some are equipped with assistive devices) and several rooms are outfitted with visual alarms. Service animals and support persons are welcomed in our apartment-style housing provided they are in accordance with the health and safety and other University policies.
All students applying to live on campus will have the opportunity to indicate if they have a disability on their application and whether they have any specific accommodation needs. Students are encouraged to register with Counselling and Disability Services who will conduct a needs assessment and work closely with Housing to provide the most suitable housing placement and supportive living environment. For more information, please visit Counselling and Disability Services.
Residence Readiness Program
Residence Readiness program offers students and their parents an opportunity to live on campus for a weekend in the spring (May 12th – 15th 2016) in advance of their plans to live in residence to learn what residence is like and to try out independence skills.
This program is open to students in grades 11, 12 and those engaged in Victory Lap.
This program is designed to allow both parents and students the opportunity to learn what the expectations are of students living in residence, what resources a residence student had access to as well as an opportunity to stay in the residence.
To learn more about this program, please click this page.
Glendon Counselling Services
York University has policies in place to ensure all students have equal opportunity to attain their educational goals. If you are a student with a physical, sensory, or medical disability, mental health disability, or learning disability you may be eligible for academic accommodations. We encourage you to review this website to consider the benefits of contacting Glendon Counselling Services. The support offered is education related.
To learn more about the Disability Services at Glendon Campus, please click this page.