Accessibility Services oversees academic accommodations and helps address barriers between the learning environment and the functional impact of a disabling condition.
Academic accommodations are alterations made to the learning environment to create equitable educational opportunities by mitigating access issues.
These accommodations do not dilute the curriculum or credentials but make it possible for you to fairly evaluate a student’s understanding of the material without the impact of the disability and for students with disabilities to achieve a grade that’s a measure of their abilities.
Each student’s academic accommodations are specific to individual need, based on verifying documentation of a disabling condition from a certified, licensed practitioner. Documentation is reviewed by the Faculty Accessibility Services Advisors who, in consultation with the student, determine accommodations. Authorized academic accommodations are stated on a Notification of Accommodation letter, current to the semester.
(Additional information: Supporting Students with Disabilities in British Columbia.)
Notification of Accommodation letter
The Notification of Accommodation letter contains information about alterations to the learning environment and does not identify the disabling condition.
When a student contacts you about a Notification of Accommodation letter, it’s important that you discuss how the accommodation will be implemented in the context of your course delivery, expectations, learning outcomes and evaluation. The implementation of academic accommodations is a shared responsibility between the student, the instructor and Accessibility Services, each having a role and responsibility to ensure the process works.
The Notification of Accommodation letter contains personal and sensitive information that is not to be shared with other students, the public or anyone outside of a teaching capacity for an instructor’s course. Privacy and discretion are required. Please be aware that students may have some apprehension or discomfort in talking about their Notification of Accommodation, so such meetings should be arranged as private conversations between instructor and student.
When students arrange exam accommodations with Accessibility Services, instructors are notified via their capilanou.ca email account one week in advance of the exam and asked to reply with the conditions for the exam (e.g., allocated writing time).
Two business days before the exam date, you are required to email or present a copy of the exam to Accessibility Services with instructions for its administration. When a student has extended the time as an academic accommodation, the exam may start or finish sooner or later with the intent that students with disabilities write their exams at the same time as others.
The types of disabling conditions supported by Accessibility Services are ongoing, episodic, apparent or non-evident and include, but are not limited to:
- Physical disabilities (e.g., visual impairment, hearing loss or mobility impairments);
- Mental health disabilities (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders or bipolar disorder);
- Chronic health disabilities (e.g., arthritis, chronic pain, Crohn's disease or migraines);
- Neurological disabilities (e.g., acquired a brain injury, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder or learning disability).
Should I provide academic accommodations upon request even if a student hasn’t provided a Notification of Accommodation letter?
You are not expected or obligated to provide academic accommodation if a student has not presented a Notification of Accommodation letter. In fact, doing so could constitute an unfair advantage.
You can only provide the same provision you would any other student in your course and make the student aware of Accessibility Services.
Accessibility Services is the only office designated to review documentation of a disability and to determine eligibility for academic accommodations. Students have the right not to disclose or to choose not to use academic accommodations.
Students with disabilities are not exempt from University policies and expectations. It’s important to raise your concern with the student to promote their success.
The work of students with disabilities should be evaluated equivalent to their peers. Discuss your observations with this student just as you would with any other student in your course who is experiencing difficulties.
Yes, contact the Faculty Accessibility Services Advisor named on the Notification of Accommodation letter to discuss your concerns.
Faculty Accessibility Services Advisors' role is twofold: providing students with assistance and also supporting their instructors.