Welcome to Accessibility Services
Accessibility Services is committed to ensuring that equal access for students with disabilities is provided at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. The Accessibility Counsellors take pride in offering excellent services and supports.
Whether you are a student who is accessing online or in-person courses, there is a broad range of supports including academic accommodations and assistive technology training available.
Please register with Accessibility Services as soon as possible. Students with disabilities together with their Accessibility Counsellor work together to identify the best solution for academic success. Accessibility Services looks forward to working with you to achieve your academic goals.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic Accessibility Services include:
While the definition of a reasonable accommodation is much larger, in this context a reasonable accommodation is intended to remove barriers resulting from a disability. Reasonable accommodations and services may include:
- Extra time, quiet or private space for exams
- A reader and/or scribe for exams
- Reduced course load
- Peer note-taker
- Alternate-format course materials
- Assistive technology
- Adaptive technologies
Reasonable accommodations are provided to students with disabilities. Accommodation does not require Saskatchewan Polytechnic to lower its academic standards or to relieve the student of the responsibility to develop the skills and competencies expected of all students. For more about reasonable accommodations, see Saskatchewan Polytechnic policy: Reasonable Accommodation (pdf).
The Direct Student Access Fund provides last-resort funding for students with a disability at Saskatchewan Polytechnic to obtain required accommodations. Requests for such funding should be made through Accessibility Services.
Qualified applicants with disabilities may be entitled to educational loans and grants.
For those who are eligible for a student loan, these grants may cover special learning support costs:
- The Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Persons with Permanent Disabilities.
- Saskatchewan Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Persons with Permanent Disabilities
- Canada Student Grant for Persons with Permanent Disabilities
To be eligible, documented assessment and diagnosis are required prior to accessing loans or grants.
More information about Accessibility Services
- Attention deficit disorder
- Hearing impairment
- Intellectual disability
- Learning disability
- Psychiatric or mental health disability
- Physical/medical disability (including fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, brain injury and chronic health conditions)
- Temporary disability
- Visual impairment
Saskatchewan Polytechnic accepts the Human Rights definition of disability, refer to the Sask Human Rights Code, Section 2 (d.1) (pdf)
Documentation is important for your assessment. Complete the request for verification of a permanent disability form (pdf) and collect required documentation specific to your disability. Some disabilities are listed below.
- Attention Deficit Disorder
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is considered a neurobiological disability that requires a medical diagnosis as an adult individual. A physician or psychiatrist must diagnose this disability. A psycho-educational assessment report conducted by a psychologist, suggesting the possibility of ADD is not sufficient documentation for access to academic supports for this type of disability. The verification of permanent disability form (pdf) must be completed by a physician or psychiatrist. In addition to a medical doctor's verification of diagnosis, recommendations for accommodations from a current psycho-educational assessment report, conducted by a registered psychologist, may assist in decisions concerning appropriate program planning.
- Hearing Impairment
Hearing impairments are sensory conditions which can range from an inability to hear specific tones and sounds to being profoundly deaf.
There are several barriers to communication that may arise with students who are deaf or hard of hearing. There may be difficulty understanding lectures and participating in class discussion. Those relying on visual language are unable to take notes while watching their oral or sign language interpreter at the same time. Even those who use residual hearing with amplification devices may find that the acoustics are lost or distorted in large classrooms, halls or auditoriums. Communication with classmates and faculty may also be challenging.
Documentation of a hearing impairment is required from a medical physician with information obtained from an audiologist. Preferred documentation would include:
- a clear statement of diagnosis indicating a permanent disability.
- age of onset.
- impact of the disability on academic performance.
- recommendations for accommodations in a post-secondary setting, both in the classroom and in clinical or work placements.
Assessments and evaluations should have been conducted no earlier than six months to a year prior to the student's initial request for disability-related services at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. An audiogram alone is not sufficient documentation for access to academic supports for this type of disability.
Contact with the Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Association is recommended to obtain funding and appropriate technology supports prior to Saskatchewan Polytechnic program application.
Students with a hearing impairment are encouraged to contact Saskatchewan Polytechnic Accessibility Services at least a year in advance of when they intend to enter their program of studies to allow ample time for support services to be arranged. Services are limited to availability of resources. Interpreters are not available on-site and are not easily accessible. Saskatchewan Polytechnic classrooms are also not equipped with sound systems available in elementary and high schools.
- Intellectual Disability
Students, who provide current psycho-educational assessment documents which indicate below average or borderline global intelligence, qualify for accommodation due to an intellectual disability at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. A global intelligence score of 79 or lower is recognized as evidence of an intellectual disability by Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
To be eligible for reserved seating, educational accommodations and possible funding, the applicant must:
- Meet Saskatchewan Polytechnic regular or special admission entrance requirements of the specific program, and
- Self-identify on the Saskatchewan Polytechnic application form as having an on-going disability.
- Provide a current psycho-educational assessment conducted within the past five years, preferably as an adult, indicating below average/borderline global intelligence.
Students who meet the above requirements are considered to have intellectual disabilities by Saskatchewan Polytechnic standards only. A student's intellectual disabilities may not be recognized by other organizations; a student may not qualify for accommodations after training with Saskatchewan Polytechnic when taking exams for license or registration.
- Learning Disability
Learning disabilities refer to a number of disorders which may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These disorders affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning. As such, learning disabilities are distinct from global intellectual disability.
Learning Disabilities result from impairments in one or more processes related to perceiving, thinking, remembering or learning. Learning disabilities range in severity and may interfere with the acquisition and use of one or more of the following:
- oral language (i.e. listening, speaking, understanding)
- reading (i.e. decoding, phonetic knowledge, word recognition, comprehension)
- written language (i.e. spelling and written expression)
- mathematics (i.e. computation, problem-solving)
Documentation of a specific learning disability must include the following:
- A clear diagnostic statement (e.g. DSM-IV) of the learning and/or intellectual disability is provided by a Registered Psychologist with APE (Authorized Practice Endorsement) designation.
- Vision and hearing problems and/or lack of adequate consistent educational opportunities are ruled out.
- The report must:
Confirm the individual has average or above average general ability or intelligence
Include clinical judgements based on a pattern of observed and reported behaviour or "soft signs"
Demonstrate relationship between cognitive abilities and lack of academic performance or underachievement
Be sensitive to cultural and economic groups and to educational history. Assessment tools reflect the degree of linguistic demand and cultural loading
Provide a summary of the applicant's educational and personal history
Use current assessment instruments. Qualified Practitioners are responsible for selecting appropriate instruments with high reliability and validity. Abilities assessed include spatial-perceptual ability, memory, attention, processing speed, auditory processing, reasoning, oral language, background knowledge and general cognitive abilities, as well as reading, writing, and math achievement.
Include the criteria the psychologist uses to identify/diagnose the learning disability.
Provide recommendations for accommodations in classroom instruction, exams/assignments, and program load based on current test results described in the report and professional judgment.
Recommendations made for educational interventions are based upon specifically-described psychometric findings. Recommendations verified by assessment data allow Saskatchewan Polytechnic to implement accommodations and support funding requests (e.g. scribe recommended due to below average writing skills). Not all students with learning disabilities require the same accommodations.
Although a learning disability is normally viewed as ongoing and lifelong, the severity and manifestations of the condition may change over time. The provision of reasonable accommodations and services is based upon an assessment of the current impact of the learning disability on a student's academic performance. It is, therefore, in your best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. The assessment must be completed within the last three to five years using tests that are reliable, valid and standardized for use with an adult population.
- Psychiatric and Mental Health Disability
Post-secondary training is a stressful time for most students, and mental health issues may arise during this time, or at any other stage of life. Additional pressures, responsibilities, challenges and changing life situations, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, can impact mental health issues. Many people will experience mental health disabilities in their lifetime.
Mental health and psychiatric disabilities involve disturbances in thinking, emotion, and behavior. Diagnoses include, but are not limited to, depression, bipolar disorder, asperger's syndrome, schizophrenia, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorders and eating disorders.
Psychiatrists and/or medical physicians are qualified to diagnose psychiatric and mental health disabilities. A diagnosis of a mental health disorder alone is not sufficient to be eligible for accommodations and supports. Documentation must indicate the impact of the condition on the student in an academic setting. As the nature of mental health can change within a short period of time, it is recommended documentation of a mental health disability should be dated within six months to a year prior to a student's application and/or initial request for disability-related services at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Where depression is diagnosed, professionals completing the following form for students need to indicate whether the disorder the student is experiencing is of a temporary or permanent nature, and the duration of requested accommodations as a result.
- Physical/Medical Disability
Physical disabilities include a number of medical conditions causing loss of function in areas of independent movement or mobility resulting from nervous system impairment, amputation and/or a musculoskeletal condition. These disabilities include, but are not limited to spina bifida, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, etc.
Medical disabilities also cover a range of health and medical conditions that can heavily impact learning and class attendance. Some examples of medical/chronic health conditions include: acquired brain injury, cancer, cystic fibrosis, fetal alcohol syndrome/effects, HIV, hepatitis, kidney disease, etc.
Professionals qualified to diagnose physical/medical/chronic health conditions include a family physician and/or medical specialist. A diagnosis of a medical condition is not sufficient to be eligible for accommodations and supports. Documentation must indicate the impact of the condition on the student in an academic setting and/or provide a rationale for any academic accommodations suggested. It is recommended that medical assessments and evaluations should have been conducted within six months to a year prior to a student's application/initial request for disability-related services at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
- Temporary Disability
Students who request accommodations on the basis of a temporary disability should provide their medical documentation directly to their program head.
A student may find they have a need for disability-related services for a short period of time during the year. A car accident or injury that leads to broken limbs, mobility issues, or pain management may mean that a student needs extra accommodation during the school year on exams or with note-taking in the classroom.
Temporary disabilities include, but are not limited to, broken dominant hand/arm, hospitalization due to surgery, illness or injury including repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, and soft tissue injury, etc.
A medical physician is qualified to diagnose temporary physical disabilities. Because the provision of all academic accommodations is individualized and based upon the impact of a disability on current academic performance, it is recommended assessment and evaluations should have been conducted no earlier than three months prior to the student's initial request for disability-related services at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
- Visual Impairment
Visual impairment is a generic term which covers a range of difficulties with vision, including a visual acuity of 6/21 (20/70) or less in the better eye after correction (best corrected vision), a visual field of 20 degrees or less, any progressive eye disease with a prognosis of becoming one of the above in the next few years or, a visual problem or related visual stamina that is not correctable and that results in the student functioning as if his or her visual acuity is limited to 6/21 (20/70 or less). For educational purposes, a student with visual impairment is one whose visual acuity is not sufficient for the student to participate with ease in everyday activities in an educational setting.
Documentation of a visual disability is requested from medical physicians/specialists, in conjunction with optometrists or ophthalmologists, or may be obtained with assistance from the CNIB. Because the provision of all academic accommodations is individualized and based upon the impact of the disability on current academic performance, it is preferred that recommended assessments and evaluations should have been conducted no earlier than six months to a year prior to the student's initial request for disability-related services at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Documentation should include a clear statement of the limits of vision, progression or stability of the vision loss, a description of how the vision loss will impact the student's functioning in an academic setting, and suggestions for specific types of accommodations which may minimize academic barriers.
Student contact with the CNIB is recommended prior to application to determine whether adaptive technology/resources are required and to apply for appropriate funding for learning supports.