Many students with disabilities who are applying to a post-secondary institution share many of the same questions and concerns. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.
Whom should I send my documentation to verifying my disability?
If you have documentation verifying your disability (such as a psycho educational assessment of a learning disability or a medical certificate), please forward it to disability services at the respective college or university as soon as you have applied to a program.
Do students with disabilities receive special consideration for admission?
No. Students with disabilities must meet the same admissions requirements as nondisabled students. Students may, however, receive accommodations for admissions and placement testing.
Does Disability Services decide whether or not a student is accepted into a program?
No. College and university programs make this determination based on whether or not a student meets the admission requirements and standards.
I have been notified that I need to write the Computerized Placement Test (CPT) and/or other admissions testing. I need to use test accommodations. What should I do?
When you receive notification that you must write a CPT and/or other admissions testing and you require accommodations, contact the disability services office at the college or university. If this is your first contact with disability services, please remember to bring your disability documentation with you.
Whom should I contact if I have a question about a specific academic program or course?
Such inquiries should be directed to the co-ordinator of the program.
Do colleges and universities offer the same services as Special Education departments in secondary schools?
Accommodations that are often provided in high schools, such as proofreading, reduction of course standards, and re-phrasing of exam questions, are not offered. Students with disabilities must meet the same program requirements as students without disabilities.
Accommodations are provided based on an assessment of individual need and professional documentation. Examples of academic accommodations include extra time for tests, reduced number of courses per semester, and access to computers and assistive devices.
Will the teachers be flexible in their testing procedures and assignments?
Testing and assignments are accommodated according to the student’s documented disability-related needs. Limited flexibility may be possible depending on individual circumstances.
Is all information that is disclosed to Disability Services treated confidentially and respectfully?
Disability services treat all student information and communication as confidential. We require written permission from registered students before we can speak with anyone regarding their disability.
Can difficulties be discussed with teachers, program co-ordinators, and the Disability Services Office?
Yes, at any time. Students are welcome to enlist the support of personal advocates, but students must be prepared to express their perspectives themselves. Students are encouraged to be independent self-advocates.
Can I call the Disability Services Office for further information?
Students making the transition to post-secondary studies have many adjustments to make and can benefit from the information and assurance that disability services can offer. There are many support services that can be accessed once the student’s disability has been properly identified.
Adapted with permission from Pathways to Post-Secondary: A Transition Guide for People with Disabilities to Humber College Institute Of Technology & Advanced Learning and the University Of Guelph-Humber (2008)