Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Our goal:
St. Mary’s University is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible academic experience that supports the learning and development of all students. Accessibility Services is committed to working with students in consultation and collaboration with faculty and staff at St. Mary’s to develop academic accommodation plans, systems, and support for students with disabilities. 

Our process:

New students requesting accommodation for disabilities should contact the Academic Access Coordinator, ideally prior to the semester start. Accommodation may be requested or revised throughout the academic year.

Accommodation requests must be supported with documentation obtained from a licensed professional experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of the respective disability. Documentation should be sufficiently recent to reflect the student’s current condition, should clearly identify the functional impacts experienced in an academic setting, and should provide recommendations for accommodations to address those impacts. Accessibility Services recommends asking your documentation provider to complete our Documentation of Disability form if you do not have prior documentation.

For more information, please email access@stmu.ca. 

Our exam accommodations:

The Testing Centre is located in room C115 and is available for accommodated exams and external proctoring. Eligible students can request to write exams in the Testing Centre by emailing learningcentre@stmu.ca with a copy to their instructor three (3) working days’ notice for tests, quizzes, midterms, or timed in-class writing assignments. Please identify the accommodations that you wish to access when booking your examination.  For online exam accommodations, please contact your professor well in advance of your exam.

**NOTE: For any late requests, please email learningcentre@stmu.ca or stop by in-person. Late booking requests may not be possible due to space, scheduling, and staff requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In post-secondary, if you choose to register with Accessibility Services, then your medical and accommodation history remains confidential within the Accessibility Services team. Your professors will only receive a list of your accommodations that impact your learning in the classroom. The limits to confidentiality is as legally required; if a student discloses a desire to harm themselves or others, or discloses events harming others, it may be necessary to release the student’s medical information to the authorities.
Academic accommodations are educational practices, systems and support mechanisms designed to accommodate persons with disabilities and are an alteration in the usual way students perform academic tasks. For example, writing examinations in a course would typically be a course requirement; however, writing the answers to essay examinations by hand would typically not be essential. Therefore, a student who has difficulty writing by hand because of a disability may be permitted to use a computer to complete the examinations. In this case, the use of a computer would be the accommodation.
St. Mary’s students seeking accommodations and/or funding for assistive services/technology are required to provide documentation. The documentation must be from a qualified professional such as a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, audiologist, ophthalmologist, or other licensed specialist. The documentation should be current (usually no more than 3 years must have elapsed between the time of assessment and the date of initial request for documentation), and the documentation should:

  • Clearly outline the impact the disability or condition has on the student in an academic setting and;
  • Identify or recommend specific accommodations and supports that would reduce the barriers encountered in an academic setting.

In order to ensure your documentation is adequately detailed and representative of the impacts of your disability, Accessibility Services recommends utilizing our Documentation of Disability form (in case you do not have prior documentation).

The Academic Access Coordinator will use this documentation as well as interviews with the student to determine appropriate disability-related accommodations and supports. Some conditions are subject to change (e.g., relapses, remissions). Therefore, to ensure the identification of impacts and functional limitations can be properly addressed, updated medical documentation may be requested, periodically, throughout the duration of the program. A diagnosis of a disability, medical condition, or disorder alone is not sufficient to be eligible for accommodations and supports. The learning environment must be sufficiently inaccessible or barred such that the student’s ability to perform tasks required to achieve his or her educational goals to his or her potential is negatively impacted.
Students seeking accommodations must self-identify to the Academic Access Coordinator, who keeps detailed documentation of each student’s disability on file. Students may inform their instructors of their accommodations if they choose to, however they are not required to disclose this information, nor the nature of their disability.

Some students with complex medical needs or those who value transparency may wish to inform their professors of any specifics of their situation/disability. For these students, they may submit in writing to the Academic Access Coordinator about any pertinent information they want their professors to know, which will be submitted to the professor along with the student’s accommodations. The student may retract this consent at any time and the information will no longer be communicated. The student may edit this information at any time by providing an updated version to the Academic Access Coordinator.

Disability Grant Funding information

Disability grant funding information can found in these links. Please contact access@stmu.ca