University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Procedure

Contact Officer: Jennifer Dods, Executive Director, Student Wellness Services
Effective Date: 2016, November 4


Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Students with documented temporary or permanent disabilities
  3. Students without confirmation/verification of a disability
  4. QSAS
  5. Educators
  6. Exams Office, Office of the University Registrar
  7. Adaptive Technology Centre
  8. Faculty/School Offices, SGS
  9. Members of the Advisory Committee on Academic Accommodations

Purpose

This procedure accompanies the university’s Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Policy (2016) and is consistent with the School of Graduate Studies
(“SGS”)’ policy on Accommodating Graduate Students with Disabilities and associated documents.

The university is committed to, and has a legal obligation under the Ontario Human Rights Code to, provide appropriate academic accommodation(s) to students with disabilities; that is, the academic accommodation(s) that respect(s) the dignity of the individual with a disability, meet(s) individual needs, and promote(s) integration and full participation.

This procedure outlines the steps to be taken by students, educators and staff, to ensure the development and implementation of academic accommodation plans for students with disabilities that meet the university’s commitments and obligations to students with disabilities, respect their rights to privacy and confidentiality, and comply with provincial legislation, guidelines and policies.

Students with documented temporary or permanent disabilities

As soon as the need is apparent:

  1. Notify the university about academic accommodation needs based on documented functional limitations due to a permanent or temporary disability or a suspected disability, by contacting Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (“QSAS”) by phone, email or in-person. Disclosure of a diagnosis to QSAS is not required. Accommodations require time to arrange, and must be applied to all areas in a student’s program (i.e. coursework, practica, fieldwork, etc.). As a result it is important to provide as much advance notice as possible in making accommodation requests. This facilitates the planning process that is critical to ensuring the university can develop and implement accommodation plans in a timely manner that maintain essential academic requirements and standards;
  2. Provide required and appropriate documentation as outlined in QSAS documentation requirements. Disclosure of a diagnosis is not required;
  3. Participate in academic accommodation planning by sharing information and collaborating with QSAS regarding academic accommodation needs, as well as actively engaging with instructors or graduate supervisors, the SGS, Faculty/School offices, the Exams Office, the Adaptive Technology Centre (“ATC”), staff, and others, as needed, to develop and implement an academic accommodations plan. Disclosure of a diagnosis is not required;
  4. Meet administrative deadlines that support the accommodation process (e.g. term- specific deadlines to register for accommodated exams).

At any time during the academic year, contact QSAS immediately if:

  1. a difficulty arises regarding the implementation of accommodations;
  2. there are changes relating to the functional limitations arising from the disability;
  3. a retroactive accommodation may be appropriate.

Students without confirmation/verification of a disability

In cases where students have not yet obtained confirmation/verification of a disability from a regulated health care professional, or where the available documentation is out of date or
insufficient (see documentation requirements), but where functional limitations are believed to be related to a permanent or temporary disability, the following steps apply, on a semester-by-semester basis:

  1. Contact QSAS for consultation regarding the option of interim academic accommodations. Interim academic accommodations are put in place to address barriers in the academic environment related to functional limitations until confirmation/verification of a disability or updated documentation is received;
  2. Provide documentation of current functional impairments through available documentation or through the completion of the QSAS documentation form if requested. Available documentation may include individual education plans (IEPs), out of date assessment reports, and medical letters.
  3. Actively pursue further assessment of the health condition or disability and regularly share information with QSAS as it becomes available. Disclosure of a diagnosis is not required.

At any time during the academic year, a student with interim accommodations should contact QSAS immediately if:

  1. a difficulty arises regarding the implementation of the accommodation(s);
  2. there are changes relating to the functional limitations;
  3. new documentation becomes available;
  4. a retroactive accommodation may be appropriate.

QSAS

When contacted by a student:

  1. Respond to students’ inquiries regarding academic accommodations, documentation requirements, and accommodation procedures including retroactive accommodations;
  2. Register eligible students;
  3. Review and assess all documentation submitted and develop appropriate academic accommodation plans in collaboration with eligible students;
  4. Work with appropriate Faculty/School Office and instructors to address all accommodation cases;
  5. Share accommodation plans with Faculty/School offices to ensure they can work with the student to implement the accommodations, and share relevant information with other departments within the university, when necessary, for accommodation purposes (e.g. Exams Office, ATC, SGS, etc.);

If a difficulty related to the implementation of an academic accommodation arises:

  1. Contact the educator or those persons acting on the educator’s behalf, to find a workable solution for all parties;
  2. If the situation can’t be immediately resolved, refer it to the appropriate Faculty/School Office.

Educators

  1. When preparing course materials, include the university’s accommodation statement in all course syllabi.
  2. When a QSAS accommodation letter is received from QSAS or from the student:
  3. Implement academic accommodations detailed in the QSAS letter of accommodation. If there are any concerns or potential issues, consult immediately with QSAS;
  4. If necessary, speak privately with the student and/or consult with the Faculty/School office to facilitate implementation, protecting student privacy and confidentiality. It is never appropriate to ask a student about their specific disability or diagnosis;
  5. Arrange and oversee accommodations for non-computer mid-term examinations, in- term quizzes, exams and assignments.

If an implementation issue arises at any time, consult QSAS immediately.

Students requesting retroactive accommodations should be directed to QSAS. If an instructor receives a retroactive letter of accommodation they should collaborate with the Faculty Office and QSAS as decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

Exams Office, Office of the University Registrar

Upon receipt of mid-year and final centrally- accommodated exam information for undergraduate students, and computer mid- term exam and test information for undergraduate students from QSAS:

  1. Schedule the exams and tests;
  2. Notify students regarding these scheduling arrangements;
  3. As required, ask a student about accommodation needs to facilitate the accommodation process. It is never appropriate to ask a student about their specific disability or diagnosis;
  4. Implement the accommodated exams and tests.

If an issue regarding the implementation of these exam or test accommodations comes up, contact QSAS immediately for clarification and input.

Adaptive Technology Centre

When information about a student’s accommodations is received from QSAS:

  1. Provide appropriate technology to implement academic accommodations for students with disabilities;
  2. As required, ask a student about accommodation needs to facilitate the accommodation process. It is never appropriate to ask a student about their specific disability or diagnosis;
  3. Provide students who have a print disability with course materials (textbooks, readings, PowerPoints) and library books in alternate formats (such as e-text, digital audio, Braille) based on an academic accommodation;
  4. Instruct students on the operation of software programs and any loaned assistive devices related to their accommodation(s);
  5. Provide equipment and software recommendations and quotes to QSAS as part of the Bursary for Students with Disabilities (“BSWD”) process.

When contacted by educators:

  1. Respond to inquiries regarding adaptive technologies;
  2. Work with educators and Faculty/Schools to facilitate the use of technology in academic accommodations for students with disabilities.

Faculty/School Offices, SGS

Upon receipt of an accommodation plan from
QSAS or a student, or when contacted by an educator about a plan:

  1. Co-ordinate delivery of letters of accommodation to educators;
  2. Collaborate with students regarding dissemination of letters to instructors;
  3. Help coordinate the implementation of program-specific accommodations, as required, respecting student privacy and confidentiality. This could include arrangements for field placements/practica and instructor plans;
  4. Engage with students, educators, graduate supervisors and QSAS, to help coordinate the implementation of complex academic accommodations, and retroactive accommodations as required, and help resolve issues;
  5. If necessary, ask students about accommodation needs to facilitate the accommodation process. It is never appropriate to ask a student about their specific disability or diagnosis.

Members of the Advisory Committee on Academic Accommodations

  1. Act as a network of contacts for QSAS on matters relating to academic accommodations, including discussions that may facilitate resolutions to any Faculty/School or case-specific questions or concerns;
  2. Advise QSAS and the committee of emerging trends or issues relating to academic accommodations for students with disabilities to support university-wide approaches.


Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines: Queen’s University Policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, 2016
Queen’s School of Graduate Studies policy on Accommodating Graduate Students with Disabilities and associated documents.
Ontario Human Rights Code
Ontario Human Rights Commission Guidelines on Accessible Education (2004)
Ontario Human Rights Commission Policy on Preventing Discrimination Based on Mental Health Disabilities and Addictions (2014).