Information for Faculty and TAs re: Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

Academic accommodations are meant to remove barriers faced by students with disabilities in order to promote their ability to fulfill the academic standards of their courses. This is consistent with the provisions and spirit of the Ontario Human Rights Code and with York University’s human rights policies and practices.

York’s Disability Services (DS) in Counselling & Disability Services (CDS) works with students and faculty to achieve accommodations that uphold academic standards and maintain the integrity of the program and course curriculum. Students requesting academic accommodations may approach faculty with a letter from York’s DS, which will outline the student’s individual requirements. The letter is meant to inform and assist faculty to ensure that the student’s needs are met and are consistent with York’s senate policy, as well as, professional standards followed within CDS.

In addition to notifying faculty, it is the student's responsibility to submit requests for accommodation for each test/exam date to the Alternate Test/Exam Scheduling Services in the Office of the Registrar. If a student has submitted a request for accommodation for a test or exam, you will receive an e-mail notification from the Registrar's Office. To facilitate the scheduling of alternate tests/exams, it is important that you:

a) Respond to the initial e-mail notification to confirm the date, time and duration of the test/exam.

b) Provide the test/exam materials and instructions to the Registrar's Office a minimum of 3 business days prior to the test/exam date (preferred delivery method via email to altprof@yorku.ca). Do not send exams by internal mail or put them in the Registrar's Office drop box in the Bennett Centre.

c) It is important that student’s confidentiality and privacy are maintained by faculty. This includes respecting the validity of an accommodation letter from DS and contacting DS if you have further questions about the recommended accommodations. It precludes faculty, teaching assistants, or staff requesting further personal information from the student (e.g. medical/psychological documentation or further ‘proof’). DS gathers relevant medical and psychological documentation to help in their determination of appropriate academic accommodations. Therefore, students do not have to disclose personal information to faculty members.

d) If students approach faculty members directly for accommodations, faculty should refer them to Disability Services in Counselling and Disability Services. Faculty should encourage students to work with DS to ensure their personal medical/ psychological information is kept confidential. This will help avoid perceptions of discrimination.

FACULTY MEMBERS are encouraged to contact the Disability Services in Counselling and Disability Services (CDS) for assistance, including:

  • Questions about recommendations within the accommodation letters received
  • Accommodating students without compromising the academic integrity of the program or course

Please note:  Professional ethics and standards of practice require that the CDS disability counsellors record in the student client’s file all relevant communication regarding a particular student who is registered with CDS.  This includes written correspondence and oral discussions about the student with faculty members.  Students can obtain access to their entire CDS file on request.