2000-9-1Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Issue Date:
October 31, 2016
Supersedes Date:
June 18, 2015

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

Lambton College is committed to providing a learning environment that promotes accessibility for people with disabilities, while respecting individual rights to dignity and promoting positive self-concept. This environment can be achieved through the provision of direct assistance to students, encouragement of independence, and the maintenance of an accessible and supportive learning environment.

The College recognizes that education is a "service" under the Human Rights Code Ontario (Section 1), which states, "Every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of… disability." In its provision of education, training and services, the College recognizes its duty to provide reasonable academic accommodation to students with disabilities - where the accommodation can be implemented without compromising the academic integrity of the program or course, imposing undue hardship on the College, or jeopardizing health and safety standards.

The Accessibility Centre, administration and faculty each have a role to play and responsibilities associated with ensuring that programs at Lambton College are accessible to students with disabilities and, along with the students with disabilities, that students with disabilities are accommodated in order to minimize the impact of the student’s disability, provide the student with equal opportunity for educational success, and assist the student in reaching full potential.

Policy

  1. All part-time and full-time Lambton College students are within the scope of this policy.
  2. All students must demonstrate the required competencies for successful program and course completion. Implementing accommodations for students with disabilities does not guarantee success.

Admissions

  1. Persons with disabilities must meet program eligibility criteria and any program-relevant applicant selection criteria.
  2. Qualified applicants with appropriate supporting disabilities documentation will be provided reasonable accommodation for any activities required by the College to demonstrate that they meet requirements for an offer of admission to a College academic program, course or other academic offering (e.g., by providing extra time to complete a required pre-admission test).
  3. Disclosure of a disability cannot be used to discriminate against an individual applying for admission to an academic program, course or other academic offering. As well, probability of success in the program or course, or subsequent or associated occupation cannot be used to determine admission to a program.
  4. The provision of accommodation and services must be based on respect for individual rights and the dignity of the individual, and the shared commitment of the College community to an open, supportive learning environment.

Responsibilities

The provision of accommodation and services for students with disabilities flows from the meeting of responsibilities which are shared among students, faculty, staff, administration and the Accessibility Centre.

Student Responsibilities

  1. Students are responsible for being aware of the academic and clinical/placement requirements of the program and the challenges inherent in them, and the possible limitations on future employment opportunities arising from job demands or restrictions.
  2. Students with temporary or permanent disabilities are encouraged to identify themselves to the Accessibility Centre as soon as possible - by making an appointment with the Accessibility Centre Counsellor - and ideally before program registration, in order to ensure the greatest opportunity for success.
  3. It is strongly recommended that all students with disabilities register at the Accessibility Centre, even if the students feel they will not require accommodations, so documentation is in place should they require accommodation and services at a later date.
  4. Students with disabilities should check with the program faculty or coordinator regarding course requirements. If students suspect a course may pose difficulty because of their disability, they should explore options before the start of the term. The Accessibility Centre cannot provide for accommodations on a timely basis without adequate preparation time.
  5. It is important for students with temporary or permanent disabilities to discuss their needs with the Accessibility Centre staff and learn about the accommodations and services available. Once eligibility for accommodation and services is determined, students should work with the Counsellor to develop a Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan that identifies the individual’s needs to the faculty member(s).
  6. In order to receive accommodation for a temporary or permanent disability, students are required to provide the Accessibility Centre with sufficient and appropriate supporting documentation.
  • Documentation requirements vary according to the specific disability.
  • Interim accommodations for disabilities may be available pending receipt of medical documentation.
  • No documentation is forwarded to the College from secondary schools.
  1. Supporting documentation, which is to come from a professional who is qualified and competent to provide the required information and able to provide an objective opinion and evaluation, must
  • outline the impact of the disability (the specific medical diagnosis is not required);
  • provide a detailed explanation of the functional impact of the disability on the pursuit of postsecondary education;
  • indicate whether the disability is temporary or permanent; and
  • indicate any impact any medication may have.
    The documentation is not adequate for determining the most effective accommodation for each student’s unique needs if it contains only generic information (e.g. “visual impairment,” “hearing impairment,” or “learning disability”).
  1. Students are strongly encouraged to initiate communication promptly with each teacher regarding the need for accommodations as identified by the Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan. Up to five working days may be required for a teacher to implement a requested accommodation.
  2. A student not wishing to directly contact a teacher, or discuss the accommodation with a teacher, may request that the Accessibility Centre directly contact the teacher and communicate the requested accommodation. The student must provide full, explicit permission for the contact and for the communication of the accommodation before the Accessibility Centre may or will proceed.
  3. In cases of difficulty reaching a mutual agreement with a teacher regarding accommodations, students should ask for assistance from the Accessibility Counsellor.
  4. If the student, with the assistance of the Accessibility Counsellor, or the Accessibility Centre acting on behalf of the student, cannot reach an agreement with the teacher, the student, or the Accessibility Centre, should refer the matter to the Dean to whom the teacher reports. The Dean will consider, and ultimately determine, - within three working days of receiving the referral - the request for accommodation, recognizing the duty to accommodate within the limitations imposed by the required achievement of outcomes and the avoidance of undue hardship.
  5. The decision of the Dean may be appealed consistent with the Policy 2000-1-13 Appeal of an Academic Decision. Notwithstanding the onus requirements of Policy 2000-1-13, the Dean and/or teacher will be expected to demonstrate that the implementation of the accommodation is inconsistent with the achievement of outcomes or the avoidance of undue hardship. The use of the Appeal of an Academic Decision policy does not preclude or limit the student’s use of external appeal processes.
  6. A student Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan is in effect and valid for the dates and/or terms indicated in the Plan.
  7. Students should provide teachers with a copy of the Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan early in each term. Discussion regarding any changes to or problems with the Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan must be initiated by the student. A student not wishing to directly contact a teacher, or discuss changes to or problems with the accommodation with a teacher, may request that the Accessibility Centre directly contact the teacher and communicate the problems or concerns with the accommodation. The student must provide full, explicit permission for the contact and for the communications concerning the accommodation before the Accessibility Centre may or will proceed.
  8. Students are not required to disclose the details of their disability to a teacher.

Accessibility Centre Responsibilities

  1. The Accessibility Centre is responsible for ensuring that reasonable services and accommodations that are requested by students, who are registered with the Accessibility Centre, and that are supported by appropriate documentation, are put in place.
  2. The Accessibility Centre is responsible for providing disability-related information to the College community, coordinating awareness activities and advocating for students with disabilities.
  3. The Accessibility Centre is responsible for reviewing all documentation to ensure validity. If there is insufficient or inadequate documentation, the Accessibility Centre may require further assessment or the provision of further existing documentation, or arrange for additional assessment.
  4. Documentation of a disability must be kept confidential in compliance with standards established in the Confidentiality and Privacy of Information and Records (2000-7-1) policy and in accordance with FIPPA and PHIPA standards. The documentation is used solely to develop an appropriate Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan. It is the responsibility of the Accessibility Centre to maintain the confidentiality of student information, and store all documents containing personal confidential information in a safe and secure manner.
  5. Once eligibility for accommodation and/or services is established, the Accessibility Centre Counsellor, in consultation with the student, will determine reasonable accommodations and services, and develop a Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan.
  6. A student seeking accommodation because of a disability who is denied eligibility for accommodation and/or services, or who is dissatisfied with the accommodations and/or services provided through a Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan, may appeal the decisions under Policy 2000-1-13 Appeal of an Academic Decision. The use of the Appeal of an Academic Decision policy does not preclude or limit the student’s use of external appeal processes.
  7. The Accessibility Centre Counsellor may, as and when the need arises, establish an accommodation team made up of persons drawn from different areas of professional expertise to advise on complex accommodations.
  8. The Director of the Accessibility Centre will establish an Accommodation Advisory Committee to advise on matters related to accommodation trends and accommodation -related barriers and resources.

Faculty Responsibilities

  1. When approached by a student with a confirmed or suspected disability, faculty will respond with sensitivity, discretion, and confidentiality.
  2. Meeting with a student with a disability provides a faculty member an opportunity to learn about the student’s unique needs, inform the student of responsibilities and course requirements, discuss any concerns and offer assistance.
  3. A teacher requested by a student or the Accessibility Centre to provide accommodation, for which a Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan from the Accessibility Centre is in place, is expected to provide the accommodation.
  4. If, in the opinion of the teacher, the requested accommodation is likely to prevent or subvert the proper achievement of a course or program learning outcome, or will impose undue hardship on the teacher, other students or the College, then the teacher must request clarification from or discussion with the Accessibility Centre Counsellor – to occur within two working days of the teacher receiving the accommodation request.
  5. A teacher with concerns regarding the accommodations identified in the Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan will consult with the Accessibility Centre, rather than directly questioning or denying the accommodation to the student.
  6. If, after consultation with the Accessibility Centre, the teacher continues to have reservations regarding the implementation of the requested accommodation, or denies the requested accommodation, then the teacher must refer – within one working day of the discussion with the Accessibility Centre Counsellor - the matter to his/her Dean for review and determination.
  7. The Dean will consider, and ultimately determine, - within three working days of receiving the above referral from the teacher - the request for accommodation, recognizing the duty to accommodate within the limitations imposed by the required achievement of outcomes and the avoidance of undue hardship. The referring teacher will be expected to demonstrate that the implementation of the accommodation is inconsistent with the achievement of outcomes or the avoidance of undue hardship.
  8. The decision of the Dean may be appealed consistent with the Policy 2000-1-13 Appeal of an Academic Decision. Notwithstanding the onus requirements of Policy 2000-1-13, the Dean and/or teacher will be expected to demonstrate that the implementation of the accommodation is inconsistent with the achievement of outcomes or the avoidance of undue hardship. The use of the Appeal of an Academic Decision policy does not preclude or limit the student’s use of external appeal processes.
  9. When a teacher is asked by a student for accommodations and a Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan is not in place for the student, or the Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan does not include the particular accommodation requested, the teacher will refer the student to the Accessibility Centre.
  10. Faculty are expected to support the work done in the Accessibility Centre and encourage students with disabilities to identify themselves to the Accessibility Centre so that their needs can be addressed.
  11. A teacher will refer any student with a suspected disability to the Accessibility Centre in a manner that protects the confidentiality and respects the dignity of the student.
  12. A teacher will always respect the privacy of the student and the student’s personal and medical information, and will not require or seek such information from the student or the Accessibility Centre.
  13. Faculty who have students writing evaluations in the Accessibility Centre are required to complete the Accessibility Centre Testing Information Sheet and forward it, along with a copy of the test, to the Accessibility Centre at least 24 hours prior to the test date. Completed tests are to be picked up by faculty. Tests are not to be delivered or returned by mail.

Administration

  1. It is the responsibility of the College administration to ensure that faculty, staff, and students are aware of the services the College offers students with disabilities, as well as the students’ rights and obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  2. The College administration is expected to promote activities that heighten awareness of the importance and value of academic accommodations for students with disabilities and challenge attitudes that create barriers for them.
  3. The College administration will ensure the confidentiality and privacy of the personal and medical information of any student involved with the Accessibility Centre and its activities. Further, the administration will ensure that any student’s involvement with the Accessibility Centre or the receipt of academic accommodations will not be identified on the student’s official college records, test results, academic transcripts or graduation documentation. 

Definitions

Accommodation

strategies designed to equalize the opportunity for a person with a disability to meet the admission requirements for a program, or achieve the learning outcomes of a program or course. Accommodation extends beyond a standard level of service provided for the general population. Accommodation is considered appropriate if it will provide the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance or enjoy the same level of educational benefits experienced by others.

Accommodation for Applicants
refers to accommodations provided by the College to support applicants in demonstrating that they meet the requirements for an offer of admission to a College academic program, course or other academic offering.
Accommodation for Students
refers to accommodations provided by the College to support the student with disabilities in achieving required learning outcomes of the student’s academic program, course or other academic offering.
Confidential Academic Accommodation Plan
the document that specifically outlines the accommodation required for the student for class or other learning settings, evaluations or co‑op/clinical/placement settings. The document will be developed by both the Accessibility Counsellor and acknowledged by signature by the student. Copies of this Plan are given to each faculty member teaching a course in which the student is enrolled.
Disability
any physical, psychological or mental health condition as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code that limits the opportunities of a person to meet the essential requirements of a course or program.
Supporting documentation
the medical or psychological documentation that establishes and supports the existence of a disability and the resulting need of the student for accommodation. The supporting documentation must be provided by a professional who is qualified and competent to provide the required information and able to provide an objective opinion and evaluation.
Undue hardship
the capacity limit of the College to accommodate the student without experiencing unreasonable difficulty. The College is obligated to provide accommodation up to the point of undue hardship. The College is not expected to provide accommodation if doing so would bring about unreasonable difficulties or burden on health, safety, financial or other relevant grounds. The question of when undue hardship is reached must be considered in the context of each specific request for accommodation.

For questions or concerns regarding policies, please contact:

Jim Elliott
Director, Quality Assurance & Institutional Research
519-542-7751 x 3489
jim.elliott@lambtoncollege.ca

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