- DOCUMENTATION STANDARDS – PRINCIPLES
- ACCOMMODATION STANDARDS – PRINCIPLES
- SERVICE STANDARDS – PRINCIPLES
- Definition of Services
- Priority of Disability-Related Needs
- Priority of Existing Services
- Timeliness of Service Requests
- Student Responsibility in Service Delivery
- Collaborative Approach to Service Delivery
- Promotion of Student Wellbeing and Development
- Confidentiality and Privacy
- Commitment to Service Excellence
The Paul Menton Centre (PMC) developed Standards of Practice to inform and guide practices and decision-making related to provision of academic accommodations and support services. The Standards were developed, and are continuously updated, with feedback from PMC staff and colleagues from other disability service offices across Canada. The Standards consist of Principles, Guidelines, and Decision Maps in the areas of Documentation, Accommodation, and Services. The Principles are aligned with the PMC Mandate, Carleton University Academic Accommodation Policy, and relevant guidelines from the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The Guidelines and Decision Maps are derived from the Principles and consist of internal guidelines for decision-making used by the PMC Coordinators.
DOCUMENTATION STANDARDS – PRINCIPLES
Documentation of disability must be current to accurately reflect the existing functional limitations. The nature of the disability and impact on academic functioning can change over time. Documentation needs to represent the nature of the disability as presently experienced by the student to be relevant to the current academic setting and requirements. This in turn informs accommodation decisions that are relevant and appropriate.
What constitutes current documentation is specific to disability category and is outlined in the Guidelines.
Appropriate Assessing Professional
Documentation must be provided by a regulated health care professional who is licensed to assess and establish a formal diagnosis.
The regulated health care professional must be qualified to determine functional limitations associated with a specific disability, with relevant experience.
Documentation from other regulated professionals (e.g. counsellors, social workers, physiotherapists), will be accepted for interim accommodation if it references a prior formally diagnosed disability.
Documentation issued by other disability service professionals will be considered for interim accommodation.
Documentation from other sources will be evaluated using the above criteria.
Disability documentation must support a specific accommodation or service being requested. Recommendations made by the assessing professional must address functional limitations due to the disability. In cases of coexisting disabilities, documentation must be relevant to each disability.
Sufficient documentation confirms the presence of a disability and describes in sufficient detail the nature of the disability and related functional limitations in the academic setting.
While student self-report is an essential source of information used in accommodation decisions, it does not alone suffice as a replacement for documentation. However, student self-report can be used to supplement information provided on formal documentation.
The Guidelines section describes specific factors that determine if documentation is sufficient.
ACCOMMODATION STANDARDS – PRINCIPLES
Academic accommodation is intended to address specific functional limitation in the performance of a particular activity in an academic setting, while adhering to the stated essential requirements of academic program and courses.
Justification of academic accommodations is based on information relevant to the postsecondary setting, and specific to the tasks related to course content and requirements. Historical information about accommodations received in other educational institutions prior to the current program of study, while acknowledged and reviewed, cannot take precedence over current academic context in determining appropriate accommodation.
Accommodations are deemed appropriate by the PMC Coordinator on the basis of balancing the student input, documented disability related need, the academic requirements, and in consultation with faculty.
Reasonable Accommodation is one that is responsive to the accommodation need and can be implemented in an ethical manner within practical constraints by the institution, up to the point of undue hardship. The extent an accommodation is reasonable is evaluated with respect to timeliness, resource constraints, and is least disruptive to the institution.
Absolute deadlines may not be used to deny accommodation requests. Timeliness is defined in relation to the nature of the accommodation request and the resources available to fulfill the request.
There are different ways to meet individual accommodation needs. PMC has the responsibility to determine what accommodation option is appropriate to the academic context. Students have a duty to cooperate in determining reasonable accommodations.
Current Documented Need
The rationale for academic accommodation must be directly informed by a documented, disability-related need. PMC Coordinator must be able to explain how an accommodation addresses a specific functional limitation due to disability, as documented.
When provided, recommendations for accommodations by the evaluating health care professional must be explained in relation to specific functional limitations, as documented.
Documentation must be current, as specified in the Guidelines for each disability category.
Approved academic accommodation is sufficient when it meets a specific individual disability-related need to the highest extent possible with consideration of academic standards and undue hardship.
Academic accommodations should not duplicate function or overlap in purpose when used to address a specific disability-related need. Consideration should be given to the extent to which functional limitations are addressed by the instructional design.
Accommodation is tailored to the specific individual disability-related needs and the specific requirements of the academic task.
Individual needs must be balanced against reasonable and appropriate accommodation.
The process of determining individualized accommodation must take into account potential negative impact on individual needs of others.
Respect for Dignity
Determination and implementation of accommodations must respect the dignity of the student. Accommodations should not undermine the student’s autonomy, privacy, self-worth, integration, and other human values.
Inclusion and Integration
Accommodations should foster inclusion and integration of the student into academic experience and participation.
Promotion of accessibility and principles of universal design in academic practices and support services is considered a priority in reducing barriers for students with disabilities. PMC should closely collaborate with faculty and academic units to promote accessibility in courses and academic experience.
Accessibility and accommodations are complementary in meeting disability-related academic needs. Wherever possible, supports integrated into courses and regular classroom are considered more equitable and should be favoured, as long as they fully meet the disability-related needs.
SERVICE STANDARDS – PRINCIPLES
Definition of Services
Accommodation services relate to modifications to conditions of course delivery and assessment, designed to address barriers external to the individual.
Support services facilitate development of skills and strategies to address students’ needs and foster independence, in conjunction with accommodation services.
In contrast to accommodation services, support services are not subject to the legal duty to accommodate. In some cases, a support service can become an accommodation.
Priority of Disability-Related Needs
Support services provided by the PMC must be disability-related.
Disability-related support service requests that exceed the limits of expertise and resources of the PMC and/or are not specifically disability-related should be referred to other campus and/or community service providers.
Priority of Existing Services
Existing services available through the PMC or other campus service providers must be utilized in full before a referral is considered for federally- or provincially-funded service providers.
Existing campus services available through the PMC and other service providers must address disability-related needs reasonably well, in comparison to any requested off-campus services.
Timeliness of Service Requests
Students are expected to request services as soon as the need emerges or is anticipated.
PMC services have service-specific timelines to allow for assessment, referral, and administration. Late requests cannot be guaranteed.
Student Responsibility in Service Delivery
The Student must self-identify, register with the PMC, request services as needed, and participate in the process of service delivery.
In some cases, a PMC Coordinator may reach out to a student to initiate and implement services.
Collaborative Approach to Service Delivery
Accommodation and support services are determined through a collaborative process involving the PMC, students, faculty, and other university service providers.
Communication is maintained between PMC Coordinators, students, and other service providers on- and off-campus, to facilitate implementation of services.
Promotion of Student Wellbeing and Development
PMC Coordinator consistently promotes student wellbeing and development, in the context of disability-related needs, program and course requirements, the academic environment and university policies.
Specific attention must be placed on identifying and supporting students who are at risk or in crisis. In this context “wellbeing” refers to the whole student, and may necessitate outreach with other on-campus and community services and resources.
When services provided by the PMC are insufficient to support student wellbeing and development, care is taken to address specific needs through other campus service providers, with an emphasis on an integrated service approach.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Procedures related to confidentiality and privacy of student documentation and other confidential information are guided by provincial legislation and university policies, and are communicated through a consent form signed at registration and any supplemental consent forms.
A trusting relationship between the student and the PMC Coordinator is essential. To this end, confidentiality and privacy are maintained in all student-related communication. Exceptions are made as per provincial legislation and university policies, as well as signed consent forms.
Commitment to Service Excellence
Services are personalized, and characterised by quality and timeliness, caring and respect for students, colleagues and service providers, and by professionalism. To this end, ongoing service evaluation is essential.