“Disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and others not. A disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time. It includes physical, mental, and learning disabilities, mental disorders, hearing or vision disabilities, epilepsy, drug and alcohol dependencies, environmental sensitivities, as well as other conditions.
Students with documented or suspected disabilities should identify themselves to the PMC early in their degree programs.
Students who do not meet admission requirements because their grades don’t reflect their academic potential may be eligible for the Enriched Support Program (ESP) or the Aboriginal Enriched Support Program (AESP). See www.carleton.ca/esp/ for more information.
For grade 12 high school students, Make the CUT is a joint program of the Paul Menton Centre and the Centre for Students with Disabilities at Algonquin College, designed to assist in the transition from high school to post-secondary. Read a review or sign up for the next session at www.carleton.ca/pmc/transition-to-carleton/make-the-cut/.
The PMC also had Mentor Volunteer Program (MVP) with peer mentors that are Carleton students and with whom you can meet on a regular basis while transitioning to university. For a referral to the mentorship program, contact your PMC Coordinator.
The PMC approves accommodations for students with documented disabilities. You likely had an assessment done with a psychologist or psychiatrist while you were in school. Do your best to obtain documentation from that assessment and book an appointment with a PMC Coordinator for review. Based on the initial appointment you may be provided interim accommodations and supports while you are updating the documentation.
PMC documentation forms are available online at www.carleton.ca/pmc/document-download/. If you have a specific learning disability, your documentation should be from within the past three years or the testing should have been completed as an adult. For other disabilities, contact a PMC Coordinator for an individualised review.
When you meet with a PMC Coordinator to review your documentation and discuss your past experiences, they will inform you of what is available in university. Some accommodations may be different – find out early so there are no surprises!
Every student is responsible to connect with their PMC Coordinator at the beginning of term to assess accommodation needs for each course. Your PMC Coordinator will then send an electronic Letter of Accommodation to them outlining your classroom and test accommodations, with information on responsibilities, resources and timelines.
Please note, the deadline to request accommodations is two weeks before the first test or assignment to ensure that everything is in place.
Carleton, in partnership with Algonquin College has a 24-hours per day, 12 months of the year attendant services program in residence to assist with activities of daily living and light tasks. For more information, see www.carleton.ca/pmc/attendant.
If you are taking a course at another institution, you will need to connect with their disability services office to set up your accommodations. Your PMC Coordinator can provide you with a copy of your documentation and a letter outlining your accommodations while at Carleton to facilitate the process.
The PMC cannot divulge specific information regarding a student’s disability because of a human rights obligation to maintain confidentiality. Students are not obligated to disclose specific information about their disability. From our experience, we find that most students will freely disclose to their instructors; however, there are some who are uncomfortable doing so.
As an instructor, you are responsible for arranging accommodations for all in-class tests and exams. If you are a new instructor, check with your departmental chair and/or administrator about specific procedures within your department for accommodating students with disabilities (e.g. reserving a room or TA for proctoring). If you are a TA, check with the course instructor. If you have questions or concerns about specific accommodation recommendations and/or how to implement them, contact the coordinator, indicated on the Letter of Accommodation.
The rationale for academic accommodation is based on the concept of “equity”. This means levelling the playing field so that students with disabilities can compete on an equal footing with their non-disabled peers. Therefore, equity necessitates differential treatment. Sometimes, people confuse equity with “equality”, which refers to non-discriminatory (hence similar) treatment on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, creed, religion, sex orientation or disability. Academic accommodation is intended to allow students to compete equitably, without sacrificing essential course requirements.
The entire Carleton community has a shared obligation to ensure that students with disabilities are reasonably accommodated in accordance with university policies and human rights legislation at both the provincial and federal levels. However, if you feel that an accommodation request is excessive or inappropriate, please contact the coordinator listed on the accommodation letter to discuss your concerns.
As an instructor, you may refuse to accommodate if you disagree with the reasonableness of such requests. However, the student has a right, as stipulated in the Academic Accommodation Policy for Student with Disabilities, to formally appeal your decision to your Department Chair or School Director, and thereafter to the Dean of the Faculty in which the student is registered if the dispute is unresolved. Please consult www.carleton.ca/equity for more information about Carleton University Human Rights Policies and Procedures.
If it is a request that you feel does not compromise the academic standards of your course and that you can easily accommodate, as the instructor, you have the right to grant it. However, it is recommended that you check with the PMC coordinator indicated on the Letter of Accommodation to verify that the student has appropriate documentation to support such a request.
For in-class tests and exams, it is your responsibility to find the necessary equipment for the student. However, if you cannot provide such equipment, speak to the student about borrowing a laptop computer from the PMC. Contact the front desk of the PMC to reserve one.