The type of documentation that Accessible Education requires depends on the nature of a student’s disability and the ways in which it affects academic performance. In general, students who request accommodation are required to provide documentation of their disability from a professional who is qualified to diagnose the condition and to comment on associated difficulties that may arise at university or while engaged in course or program related work.
Documentation must state the nature of the disability and its functional implications for university. It should support accommodations that are being requested, and specify situations or activities that may worsen a student’s condition. Documentation that includes suggestions for accommodation is appreciated.
Specific information about documentation requirements is presented below each of the following disability categories:
Students with learning disabilities must provide a current psycho-educational assessment report completed by a registered psychologist or psychological associate. Generally, a current assessment would be no more than three years old. Documentation that is older than three years will be evaluated on an individual basis. For example, older reports based on comprehensive assessments that individuals underwent at 18 years of age or older may provide a sufficiently informative basis for arranging accommodation.
Students who have not undergone a recent and thorough psycho-educational assessment may receive assistance arranging one from their Accessible Education counsellor.
It may be possible for Accessible Education to recommend academic accommodation on a temporary basis while a student undergoes an assessment. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) and confirmation that a student used accommodation during high school may serve as a basis for temporary accommodations in a student’s first year at Western.
Documentation of ADHD may be provided by a registered psychologist or psychological associate, psychiatrist or relevantly trained physician. A current and comprehensive psycho-educational assessment report typically is the most informative documentation for supporting academic accommodation and learning skills development.
Documentation of ADHD must include:
- A current diagnosis of adult ADHD.
- Description of functional implications of the individual’s ADHD and evidence that the disorder is disabling in a university setting.
- Information about co-existing conditions that also may affect academic performance, such as anxiety, depression, specific learning disabilities and addictions.
Documentation of mental health or psychiatric disabilities must be prepared by a registered psychologist or psychological associate, psychiatrist, or relevantly trained physician. Documentation must describe symptoms and difficulties that a student currently is experiencing. The documentation should include a description of the degree of impairment and the rationale for any accommodations that are suggested. A description of current treatment, such as medication or psychotherapy, and their implications for accommodation also should be provided.
Please note that documentation of test anxiety in and of itself is insufficient to arrange academic accommodation.
Documentation of hearing, vision, mobility and medical disabilities should be completed by the treating physician or a physician who is most familiar with a student’s disability. Students are asked to have physicians complete Accessible Education's Documentation of Physical Disability Form. Alternatively, letters or reports may be acceptable.
Documentation should include a diagnostic statement, a summary of presenting symptoms, a description of how the student’s illness or disability may affect them in an academic setting, the expected progress or stability of the condition, and situations that may worsen the condition.
Documentation from other health practitioners such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and chiropractors often is useful in determining the most appropriate accommodations and services for a student. This documentation must be accompanied by diagnostic information from a physician or medical team representative.
Download: Documentation of Physical Disability
In addition to documentation specified above, first year students should provide a statement prepared by their school board regarding accommodations that were used in high school and the rationale for these arrangements. This information may be in their IPRC or IEP documents or in letters that have been prepared by school officials.
Visiting students from other universities typically are required to provide documentation of their disability as described above. In some cases, Accessible Education team may accept a statement prepared by a student’s home institution that indicates accommodations that were available and the rationale for these arrangements. Visiting students should consult with an Accessible Education counsellor about their documentation.