Navigating applications and finding the right services

Navigating the many resources offered by the University of Toronto can be difficult. Here is how to get the best possible learning experience with the help of Accessibility Services (AS).

Accessibility Services is meant to help students who have a disability  that hinders their ability to learn. Some may need AS for the entirety of their academic career, while others may only need it temporarily. Either way, AS has much to offer students who qualify.

The first step is to register for AS on their website (www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/as) and find the registration package that best fits your needs. Packages are categorized by chronic medical conditions: deaf or hard of hearing; mobility and functional difficulties; mental health; brain injury or concussion; low vision or legally blind; learning disability or ADHD; temporary disabilities or injuries; and autism, Asperger’s, or pervasive developmental disorders. Fill out the chosen application to the best of your ability.

The second step is to ensure that you have the proper documentation from your doctor or specialist demonstrating why you need accommodations. Neglecting to obtain this documentation can delay your application process—so try to do so as soon as possible. Generally, medical proof of said condition is required, but this can differ depending on the situation. If unsure of which documents are required, call or visit the AS office, located just north of College Street at 455 Spadina Ave, 4th Floor, Suite 400. Their phone number is 416-978-8060.

The third step of the AS process comprises submitting your package; the office accepts them through email, fax, mail, or in person. It’s best to submit your package as soon as possible so that you can receive accommodations when the school year starts, but November 6th, 2017 is the deadline for the December 2017 exam period. You can also submit after that date for accommodations during the following exam period.

After submitting the registration package, the AS office will contact you for the final step—setting up an intake appointment. A disability counsellor will review your package and discuss the accommodations that best suit your needs.

Accommodations vary depending on the disability and individual, which is why the disability counsellor will prepare a letter that outlines your accommodations but keeps the specifics private. You should provide your course instructors with this letter in order to receive in-class accommodations.

Some of the most widely-used accommodations are notetaking, assignment extensions, extra time on exams, breaks during exams, ergonomic chairs in class, and tutoring. AS offers plenty more accommodations, and you should contact their office for specific information. Students who don’t require accommodations but would like to be involved can volunteer as note-takers to help their peers.

Accessibility services can be contacted at: accessibility.services@utoronto.ca