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 the use of a computer to complete the examinations. In this case, the use of a computer would be the accommodation.
St. Mary’s students seeking disability and/or medically-related accommodations and services and/or funding for assistive services and technology are required to provide documentation 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 the 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.
The Accommodations 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 support. 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.
New students are encouraged to contact the Accommodations Coordinator in Spring/Early Summer to discuss their disability, and to ensure that they have the necessary documentation. This timeframe also gives the student time to apply for the Student Aid Alberta Student with Disabilities Grants should they wish to secure Student Loan funding. The Accommodations Coordinator can assist with the following: determine eligibility for accommodations, facilitate appropriate accommodations, provide adaptive technology supports and training, arrange for assistive services, facilitate accommodated exams, and provide information about funding for students with disabilities.
Students seeking accommodations must self-identify with the Accommodations 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.
Still Have Questions?
Contact us for more information on disability services.