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Introduction

Accommodating student with disabilities is the responsibility of the academic institution. Professors and administrators play key roles in this process.  One of the comments frequently heard from professors in our research is that they would like to have a clearer understanding of their roles in dealing with students who may have a mental health problem. Many expressed a desire and willingness to be helpful to these students but also said “we are not counsellors”. They also want to understand their roles in the accommodation process. To address some of these concerns we have created this information program, consisting of eight accommodation-related videos. It is important to note that each post-secondary academic institution in Ontario has its own way of managing the accommodation process, such as how professors are informed about a student’s accommodation needs, how accommodated exams are arranged, etc. We have chosen one way to represent these situations based on best practices we identified and on the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code as outlined in their policies: Guidelines on Accessible Education (2004), and Preventing Discrimination based on Mental Health Disabilities and Addictions (2014) (PDF 1.25MB)  Professors are advised to familiarize themselves with and follow the processes that are in place at their specific institutions.

Goals of the Videos

Demonstrate the professor’s role in the accommodation process

  • Identify the concept of “undue hardship”
  • List the conditions under which a student may legitimately be denied an accommodation
  • Determine when to consult with the accommodation experts from the Office for Students with Disabilities
  • Discuss the concept of “perceived disability”
  • Outline the institution’s responsibility to implement accommodations recommended by the Office for Students with Disabilities unless (i) they interfere with an “essential requirement” of a course or (ii) they create undue hardship
  • Describe the principle of providing accommodations in good faith.