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Access (Accommodation) Services and Academic Success Services - Students with Disabilities

Roles and Scopes of Access and Academic Success Services for Students with Disabilities

Access and Success Services

Students with disabilities use a variety of services and supports to access and thrive in their college education.

Access (Accommodation) Services:

Services designed to lower specific disability related barriers to participation, assessed and prescribed as academic accommodations on a case-by-case, person-by-person basis by the Centre for Accessible Learning are access (or academic accommodation) services. These services are task oriented and are communicated as academic accommodations on a Faculty Notification of Academic Accommodation letter each term that students share with their course instructors.

  • Access service providers carry out a component of a task on behalf of a student with a disability.
  • The student still completes the academic task autonomously - i.e. the provider acts on the decisions, instructions and directions of the student. The provider does not act on behalf of the student except with respect to the scope required to perform the specific task or component of the task.
  • The provider does not do the work for the student.
  • An access provider is only appropriate if the skill being measured can be performed through the use of the provider with complete cognitive direction from the student.
  • Access service providers work directly with or in proximity to a student to perform tasks (i.e. mobility supports) and should be considered as an extension of the person's body, so need to be provided with access to the environments of learning.
  • Some learning environments require the service provider to have discipline-specific knowledge and an appropriate familiarity with required and intended educational outcomes. In these cases, academic departments being subject matter experts typically identify and coordinate appropriate individuals to do this work in consultation with the Centre for Accessible Learning (i.e. a shops or laboratory educational attendant with familiarity of safety and operating procedures with equipment and materials).
  • In most cases, where tasks that are required to be performed are less reliant on subject matter expertise, the Centre for Accessible Learning coordinates these in consultation with the student (i.e. someone to turn pages in a book for a student with a physical disability that substantially affects functional use of both hands). Some of these service providers are funded through permanent disability grants from government that students apply for and receive and some are paid for by the institution.

Common Access Services in Post Secondary

  • Visual access assistants (describing or orienting the student to the visual-only aspects of classrooms and/or materials)
  • Educational attendant (typically performing physical tasks incidental to the learning/learning environment for students with barriers to physically performing those tasks or components of them).
  • Scribes (writing or typing what the student says to write). Note, the standard in post secondary is voice recognition and a word processor software operated by the student themselves.
  • Readers (reading aloud what the student directs to read). Note, the standard in post secondary is text-to-speech software operated by the student themselves.
  • Real time transcribers (transcribes what is spoken/occurring in class as it is occurring for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing).
  • Sign language interpreters (signs what is spoken/occurring n class for students who are Deaf).

Academic Success Services:

Students with and without disabilities use learning assistance services. These can be used by anyone as strategies to maximize the conditions for academic success. They focus on providing students with supplementary opportunities to review specific course material for better understanding, comprehension, and retrieval and/or to build practical skills for setting, meeting, and evaluating academic goals.

Academic success services are not access (academic accommodation) services.

Common Academic Success Services in Post Secondary:

  • Academic strategist (improving efficiency, fluency, organization, and success through improving time management, reading, writing, test preparation, and notetaking).
  • Course specific tutoring (reviewing course learning, focus on individual learning strengths, learning about department standards and expectations for exams and assignments).