Promoting success at Student Accessibility Services

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) aims to provide excellent accommodations at Brock for students with disabilities. On level four of the Schmon Tower, the SAS office is ready to help students that require additional support in university.

According to Judith Brooder, manager of SAS, they determine and facilitate services, supports and accommodations for students with disabilities or conditions that impair their academic functioning.

During the 2018/2019 school year 1,600 students accessed SAS.  These services can make a big difference in a student’s academics and overall university experience.

“Sometimes people just need a little support to make a difference,” said Brooder. “The student is the one that succeeds and if we can assist to address barriers experienced by those with ongoing learning or health conditions then our day has been successful too.”

While promoting independence and assisting students with their educational needs SAS also provides them with the tools for success.

Logan Deller, a student who accesses SAS due to his specific learning disorders and attention deficit disorder notes, “my experiences with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) has provided me with the safe and friendly environment to learn and develop skills to better manage my education regarding my disability. Taking advantage of the resources and accommodations available helped ease my transition into University and continues to improve my confidence in the classroom. SAS to me has been more about encouraging personal growth than overcoming my disability.”

To access the services at SAS, documentation from a doctor is needed as well as an online registration form to help with placing an individual with the correct services. Of course, all information shared with SAS is kept confidential. Brooder says permission is required to share information on accessibility needs in order to implement services or accommodation for the students.

A number of services are provided by SAS that assist with physical disabilities such as a print disability.  The office can help set up electronic format for software.  For others that need mobility assistance, SAS can help facilitate these supports.  Classroom accommodations, alternate communication, test and exam accommodations and academic learning strategy support can be put in place to assist students as well.

To set up these supports and to act as a liaison for implementing these supports, the teams work as advocates, case managers, advisors and staff and faculty liaisons.

Prior to entering Brock for the first time, students with disabilities could take part in Mindful Transitions that works with students to help with the transition to university through a one or two day program.  This program helps students navigate challenging aspects of university so they can be confident when the year begins and can be successful throughout the year.

The services work to fulfill the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).  These documents work to provide barrier free education for students in Ontario. Some of these barriers might include inadequate funding, physical inaccessibility, time consuming accommodation procedures and overcoming negative attitudes.  They work to remove barriers, accommodate needs and promote inclusion in a non-discriminatory environment.

If you are interested in helping another student you could be a peer volunteer note taker.  This service helps to support the notes students take for themselves or if other issues do not allow for the student to take their own notes. Notetakers can receive an honorarium of $50 for taking notes each term. More information can be found at brocku.ca/health-wellness-accessibility/sas/#classroom-accommodations.

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