Academic Accommodation

What is Academic Accommodation?

An academic accommodation is an alteration in the usual way in which students perform academic tasks. Parts of a task may be changed through an accommodation if the changes do not remove an essential course or program requirement.

For example, writing the exams in a course typically would be an essential course requirement; however, writing the answers to essay exam forms by hand typically would not be essential. Therefore, a student who has difficulty writing by hand because of a disability may require the use of a word processor to complete the exams.

In the example above, the use of a word processor would be an academic accommodation.

The purpose of academic accommodation is to provide students who have disabilities with the opportunity to achieve their academic potential in essentially the same tasks that other students are required to complete. Accommodation does not fundamentally alter the content of exams, the standards used to assign grades, or the requirement that students independently demonstrate their knowledge of course material.

Some examples of accommodation include:

Classroom Accommodation
  • Use of a sign-language interpreter
  • Permission to obtain print or electronic copies of overhead transparencies
  • Use of an FM system
  • Permission to tape record lectures

Examination Accommodation
  • Writing exams in a quiet location to reduce distractions
  • Use of assistive devices (e.g., a computer equipped with specialized software)

Other Academic Accommodation
  • Alternative format textbooks (e.g., audiotape, electronic, large print, braille.)
  • The use of an assistant in a lab

The accommodations that SSD will recommend for students are based on:

  • the implications of the disability for various academic activities as indicated in the documentation of the disability;
  • the requirements of the student's course or program of study;
  • the student's history of using accommodation and other methods of coping.

Please Pay Special Attention to the Following:

If you wish to request academic accommodation because of a disability, you must provide appropriate documentation of your disability. Please click on the Documentation link on the left sidebar to find information on the specific documentation that is required.

You are also required to meet with a counsellor in Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). The purpose of this meeting is to:
  • determine the accommodation that SSD will recommend to your instructors
  • introduce and make you familiar with the procedures you will need to follow
  • inform you of other services available through SSD and other areas of which you may not be aware.

Please click on Requesting Accomodation in the right upper menu for further instructions on how to arrange your accommodations.

Please keep in mind that the accommodations that Western will provide for you may differ from the accommodations you have requested, or even differ from the accommodations you may have previously received in high school or in other educational institutions.

Important Information for Prospective Students:

It is highly recommended that if you are not a current student, but considering accepting an offer from Western to attend, that you meet with a representative of SSD to find out the type of accommodation we would recommend for you before making your final decision about attending Western. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to arrange an appointment and be prepared to bring any documentation you currently have with you. For further information, please click on the side bar link to explore our Prospective Student information pages.

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All information disclosed by students to SDC will be kept confidential. It will not be shared with family, university staff, course instructors, or others without written permission and will not become part of academic records.

Student Development Centre is experienced in working with diverse populations.

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