Accessibility Services departments are committed to creating accessible, equitable, and inclusive learning environments for students experiencing disability-related barriers. In this two-part blog series, we will answer some of the more common questions people have about accessibility accommodations and guide through some the process for navigating this service in Alberta.

What are accessibility services?

In post-secondary settings, these departments facilitate reasonable academic accommodations, encourage student development, and collaborate with faculty to remove barriers in the learning environment.

Who is eligible for academic accommodations?

Accommodations are eligible for students who provide documentation of the following types of disabilities:

  1. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders
  2. Chronic health issues
  3. Deafness or hard of hearing
  4. Head injuries
  5. Learning disabilities
  6. Mental health issues
  7. Mobility impairments
  8. Physical disabilities
  9. Visual impairments/blindness
  10. Temporary impairments due to accident, illness, or injury
  11. What is the first step I take after I decide what post-secondary institution I would like to apply to?

Before you even apply to a school, contact the Accessibility Services department and they will help you understand the academic accommodation process and provide details about what kind of documentation you will need to provide. Being prepared with these documents is key to accessing academic accommodations and receiving services and funding at any post-secondary institution. Don’t delay this step!

What information do I need to provide in order to access academic accommodations?

Documentation of disability is required in order to access services. The documentation of disability must be:

  1. From a physician, psychologist, audiologist, ophthalmologist or other licensed specialist;
  2. Submitted on letterhead and include the clinician’s name, title, phone number, address, date(s) of assessment(s); and
  3. Dated

In addition, the documentation must indicate the impact the disability(ies)/condition(s) has on the student in an academic setting. It may identify or recommend specific accommodations and supports that would reduce the barriers encountered in an educational setting.

Stay tuned for part two of our blog, which features valuable information about accessing academic accommodations!

Written in Partnership Between Calgary Career Counselling and Pat Pardo: Director, Accessibility Services, Mount Royal University