Accommodating Students with Disabilities

Queen's University is committed to providing full access to education for students with disabilities while maintaining academic integrity. One of the roles of the Queen's Student Accessibility Service (QSAS) is to determine accommodation plans for students with disabilities. Accommodation planning is a collaborative effort between the student, faculty, and the advisor of the QSAS to find the most effective, efficient, and equitable solutions. Everyone involved has their own responsibilities.

Faculty and Staff teaching students with disabilities at Queen's University have a responsibility to:

  • make themselves aware of the university's Disability Accommodation Statement.  All Faculty and Staff are encouraged to add the statement to their course syllabi
  • work to accommodate students with disabilities in a manner consistent with guidelines and procedures as communicated by QSAS while ensuring academic integrity and standards are preserved
  • work collaboratively with students with disabilities, QSAS staff, faculty colleagues, faculty administration, SGS and other university employees to ensure that approved accommodations are implemented in a manner that protects the student's dignity, as well as their right to privacy and confidentiality 
  • consult with QSAS in responding to requests for accommodations for reasons of a disability or health condition by students who are not registered with QSAS.

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Policy

To outline the university’s approach to providing appropriate academic accommodations for students with disabilities as part of the university’s commitment to accessibility and equity.

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Policy (PDF)

Extenuating Circumstances

Steps to take if a student experiences a circumstance outside their control (e.g., health condition, family member death, challenge with housemates, etc.) and it is impacting their academics.

Learn more on Extenuating Circumstances

You may have to teach sessions which contain people who have any number of disabilities and some simple best practices should be followed to increase inclusion in your teaching environment. This checklist breaks down possible impairments which you may have to accommodate, with tips on how to appropriately consider them. It is important that we support an inclusive community, and give everyone equal opportunity to participate as well as take away information from sessions.


  • Ask a person with a disability if they need help before providing assistance
  • Talk directly to a person with a disability, not through their companion or interpreter
  • Avoid negative descriptions (ex. say "a person who uses a wheelchair" not "a person confined to a wheelchair")
  • Mention the person before the disability (ex. say "a man who is blind"; not "a blind man")
  • Do not interact with a person's service animal unless you have received permission. Queen's Service Animal on Campus Policy

Blind or Low Vision

  • Be descriptive (ex. say "the computer is three feet to your left" not "the computer is over there")
  • Describe all of the content presented with overhead projections and other visuals
  • To guide someone with a visual impairment, offer your arm rather than grabbing or pushing

Learning Disabilities

  • Offer directions/instructions both orally and in writing

Mobility Disabilities

  • Sit or position yourself at the approximate height of people sitting in wheelchairs when you interact

Speech Disabilities

  • Listen carefully. Repeat what you understand and then ask the person with the impairment to clarify/repeat the portion you did not understand

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • Face people with hearing impairments so they can see your lips
  • Avoid talking while chewing gum or eating
  • Speak clearly at normal volume – speak louder only if requested
  • Repeat questions from audience members
  • Use paper and pencil if more accurate communication is needed
  • When using an interpreter, speak directly to the person who is deaf ; when an interpreter is voicing what a person who is deaf signs, look at the person who is deaf, not the interpreter

Mental Health (e.g. anxiety)

  • Provide information in clear, calm, respectful tones
  • Allow opportunities for addressing specific questions

Source: Equal Access: Universal Design of Conference Exhibits and Presentations . 2013. Equal Access: Universal Design of Conference Exhibits and Presentations.