What Are Accommodations?
Accommodations do not mean you are given a special break or an unfair advantage over other students.
Accommodations are put in place for students who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind, or with disabilities to equalize the access to education without compromising the integrity of learning environment.
- An academic accommodation is intended to remove a barrier (physical or instructional) to academic access in the learning environment.
- Accommodations vary depending on the needs of students and can range from having extra time to write exams to being provided with a note taker. An accommodation may involve an adaptation to the physical and/or instructional environment. An accommodation may include alternate formats and methods of communication, the use of adaptive technology and/or adaptations to the examination environment.
- Accommodations are provided to “level the playing field” in a way that’s fair. Accommodations do not usually involve modification of curriculum as a student is required to meet the essential requirements and learning outcomes of the course or program.
View this PDF for a list of all 25 public post-secondary institutions in BC and their Accessibility Services offices. Information to contact Accessibility Services can be found directly on their website.
At post-secondary institutions, accommodations are provided through offices that support student accommodations and access services. They are most often referred to as either Accessibility Services or Disability Service Centres.
Before you are able to access accommodations at your college or university, the functional impact of your particular hearing status will need to be documented.
It is very important for your documentation to include a description of functional impact, so that Accessibility Service offices are able to identify accommodations that will support you. A diagnosis alone is not enough to access accommodations. For Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind students, an audiogram and audiological report, provided by a certified audiologist, are part of the necessary documentation.
Current Hearing Test/ Audiogram
Students require a copy of their final hearing test when exiting the public health system to use for the Accessibility Office registration and Student Loan applications.
The student can make a few copies of the hearing test as they might need it for a few different applications (Accessibility Office registration, new audiologist records, scholarship applications, etc.).
Each Accessibility Office will vary on how “recent” tests should be, but usually within the last three years.
The Audiologic Report includes an in-depth explanation of hearing test results, communication abilities and challenges, accommodation recommendations, and equipment recommendations. The report will assist the Accessibility Advisor to arrange for services, equipment, and accommodations as they are not hearing specialists. To see a full list of accommodations and services the institution offers, visit their website.
Advisors make recommendations on a case by case basis. This will include the student’s hearing history and other important medical information related to the student’s communication.
- Length of time with the hearing clinic
- Age of diagnosis
- Hearing aid/ cochlear implant history
- Detailed explanation of the hearing test results, including discrimination scores
- Communication challenges the student experiences
- Detailed recommendations specific to the student based on their communication abilities with supporting evidence
- Based on services and equipment used in high-school
- New services and equipment available in post-secondary
For additional disabilities, such as a learning disability, documentation must also include a psychological-educational assessment from a registered clinical psychologist or certified school psychologist. This assessment should be within the last 5 years, or before the age of 18.
Similar to the audiological report, the documentation must describe the functional impact of the disability and provide recommendations on appropriate accommodation services. These will be reviewed with the accessibility services office when determining services that will be provided.