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Disability Resources

Committed to providing an accessible learning environment to all our students.

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Use the information below to understand the steps to accessing reasonable accommodations and resources. 


STEP 1: Understand your eligibility

RDC students who have documentation of a permanent disability, chronic health condition or temporary illness that impacts their functioning in an academic setting may be eligible to receive services.


STEP 2: Bring your documentation

In order to be eligible to access accommodations, Disability Resources requires medical or psycho-educational assessment documentation from an approved professional, preferably three months in advance of your program start date.

Documentation should:

  • be current.
  • be on official letterhead, dated, and signed by a professional qualified to make the diagnosis (e.g., a registered psychologist) or be completed on the RDC Request for Medical Documentation form (available below).
  • have the diagnosed disability stated clearly and specifically (e.g., DSM code).
  • describe how the disability and treatment, if applicable, impacts the individual’s functioning in an academic setting.
  • include specific recommendations for accommodations or resources.

Please note that neither Individualized Program Plans (IPPs) nor documentation on prescription pads is sufficient at the college level. In addition, Disability Resources may request a further assessment and/or documentation. Referrals for psycho-educational assessments can sometimes be arranged.

If you currently do not have documentation for your disability, you can bring this form to a medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist.  Medical Information Questionnaire 

Please note that any costs to secure the required documentation is the student’s responsibility.


STEP 3: Meet with a Disability Resource Coordinator

Book an appointment with a Disability Resource Coordinator to review your documentation, discuss your needs and arrange resources and accommodations. Arranging accommodations and obtaining adequate funding can be a time-consuming process. Please contact Disability Resources 3 to 4 months prior to your program start date.


STEP 4: Complete your Resources & Accommodations Agreement

The Disability Resource Coordinator will consider the following when determining resources and accommodations:

  • The impact of your disability on your learning.
  • The recommendations given on your documentation.
  • Previous academic accommodations you have had.
  • Maximizing your independence and participation.
  • Your specific course requirements (e.g. lab, field trip, practicum).Your safety and the safety of others.
  • How your requested accommodations impact you, your instructors, other students, and Red Deer College in general

The Disability Resource Coordinator will recommend the appropriate class, exam and other accommodations which will be included in your signed Resources and Accommodations Agreement.

An accommodation letter with these recommendations will be sent, with your permission, to your instructors and Testing Services. This letter does not reveal the nature of your disability.


STEP 5: Connect with your instructor(s) to confirm class & exam accommodations

Out of respect for the instructor, classroom accommodations cannot be used until the instructor has been notified and has had an opportunity to consider how the accommodations may fit with the design of each class. You are encouraged to connect with your instructor to discuss the recommended accommodations.


STEP 6: Use your academic accommodations and resources

If you require assistive technology, the Disability Resource Coordinator will make a referral and assist you in booking an appointment for training and resources.

If you require test/exam accommodations, you will be responsible for booking your exams with Testing Services.

You are encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Coordinator if you need to make changes to the recommended accommodations. 


Types of Disability and Documentation

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is considered a neurobiological disability that interferes with a person’s ability to sustain attention, focus on a task and/or control impulsive behavior. Many people have difficulty sitting still, paying attention or controlling impulses, but for some people, the problem is so chronic and persistent that it gets in the way of daily life—at home, at school, at work, and in social settings.

Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose ADHD: Physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist. A letter from a physician or psychiatrist is sufficient; a psycho-educational assessment is preferred from a psychologist. The psycho-educational assessment should be current (i.e., completed after age 18 or completed within the last three years).

The diagnostic report must be dated and submitted on letterhead and include:

  1. Clinician's name, title, phone number, address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. Summary of all instruments and procedures used in the assessment
  4. Test scores (e.g. percentiles) and a detailed interpretation of the results including strengths and weaknesses, if tests were conducted
  5. Suggestions for specific academic adjustments and accommodations which may assist to minimize the impact of functional limitations on the student’s academic performance
  6. Signed original preferred.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.


Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose Autism: Physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist. A letter from a physician or psychiatrist is sufficient; a psycho-educational assessment is preferred from a psychologist. The psycho-educational assessment should be current (i.e., completed after age 18 or completed within the last three years).

The diagnostic report must be dated and submitted on letterhead and include:

  1. Clinician's name, title, phone number, address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. Summary of all instruments and procedures used in the assessment
  4. A written summary of educational, medical, family histories and behavioral observations
  5. Test scores (e.g. percentiles) and a detailed interpretation of the results including strengths and weaknesses, if tests were conducted
  6. Suggestions for specific academic adjustments and accommodations which may assist to minimize the impact of functional limitations on the student’s academic performance
  7.  Signed original preferred

Chronic Health Condition
Chronic health disabilities include medical conditions that significantly limit a student’s ability to function in an educational environment. Chronic health conditions may include but are not limited to cystic fibrosis, diabetes, HIV, cancer, hepatitis, kidney disease, severe allergies, asthma, fibromyalgia, and chemical sensitivities.


Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose chronic health condition: Family physician or medical specialist. A diagnosis of a medical condition alone is not sufficient to be eligible for accommodations and supports. Documentation must indicate the impact of the condition on the student in an academic setting. It is recommended assessments and evaluations should have been conducted no earlier than one year prior to the student's initial request for services.

Documentation must include:

  1. Clinician's name, title, phone number, and address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. A clear statement of the chronic illness or disorder, a summary of present symptoms, and a statement of the treatment, if applicable
  4. Where relevant, a description of the severity, longevity, and/or expected progression or stability of the illness or disorder
  5. Medical information relating to the student’s needs, including the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the post-secondary environment
  6. Description of how the chronic illness or disorder and treatment, if applicable, impact the student’s functioning in an academic setting
  7. Suggestions on specific types of accommodations which may minimize academic barriers
  8. Signed original preferred.

Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Deaf students have severe to profound hearing loss and typically use sign language as their primary mode of communication. Some deaf individuals rely on oral communication, some deaf individuals may have residual hearing and may use a hearing aid to augment the communication process, monitor their voice or hear environmental sounds.
Hard of Hearing students may have mild to severe hearing loss and use speech as their primary mode of communication. Students with mild hearing loss may miss up to 50% of class discussions, especially if voices are soft or the environment is noisy. Students may require the use of a hearing aid or a personal FM system and other accommodations that match their individual needs.


Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose hearing loss: Audiologist.
The documentation must be dated and submitted on letterhead and include:

  1. Clinician’s name, title, phone number, and address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. An audiological assessment and report with a medical diagnosis of hearing loss, along with the prognosis and functional impact of the loss
  4. Suggestions for specific academic adjustments and accommodations which may assist to minimize the impact of hearing loss
  5. Signed original preferred

 

Learning Disabilities
Learning Disabilities refer to a number of conditions which may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information. These conditions affect learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning. As such, learning disabilities are distinct from global intellectual deficiency.


Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose Learning Disabilities: Psychologist. Learning Disabilities are diagnosed after a psycho-educational assessment that notes the individuals’ achievement on individually administered standardized tests in reading, mathematics, or written expression is substantially below that expected for age, schooling, and level of intelligence. The psycho-educational assessment should be current (i.e., completed after age 18 or completed within the last three years).

The diagnostic report must be dated and submitted on letterhead and include:

  1. Clinician's name, title, phone number, address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. Summary of all instruments and procedures used in the assessment
  4. A written summary of educational, medical, family histories and behavioral observations
  5. Test scores (e.g. standard scores percentiles confidence intervals) and a detailed interpretation of the results including strengths and weaknesses
  6. Description of intracognitive and/or aptitude-achievement discrepancies or the clinician's rationale for clinical judgment
  7. Statement of how the learning disability substantially interferes with the student's educational progress
  8. Suggestions for specific academic adjustments and accommodations which may assist to minimize the impact of functional limitations and maximize the student’s academic performance
  9. Signed original preferred

Mental Health
Mental health disabilities involve disturbances in thinking, emotion, and behavior. The terms mental health or psychiatric disability are used interchangeably. Diagnoses include but are not limited to depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, panic disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse.


Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose Mental Health Disabilities (dependent on the diagnosis): Psychiatrist, physician, or psychologist. A diagnosis of a mental health disorder alone is not sufficient to be eligible for accommodations and supports.
Documentation must indicate the impact of the condition on the student in an academic setting. As the nature of a mental health can change within a short period of time, it is recommended documentation of a mental health should be dated within three months of the student's initial request for services at RDC.

Documentation must include:

  1. Clinician's name, title, phone number, and address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. A clear statement of the disability, including the DSM diagnosis and a summary of past and present symptoms
  4. A summary of assessment procedures and/or evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis
  5. Medical information relating to the student’s needs, including the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of a post-secondary education environment
  6. Suggestions for specific academic adjustments or accommodations which may assist to minimize the impact of the disability-related limitations on the student’s academic performance. Suggestions for accommodations should be supported by assessment results and diagnosis
  7. Signed original preferred

Neurological conditions
Neurological disability refers to a condition or limitation impacting the central nervous system. Difficulties are exhibited in one or more of the following areas: the use of memory, the control and use of cognitive functioning, sensory and motor skills, speech, language, organizational skills, information processing, affect, social skills, or basic life functions. Diagnoses include but are not limited to cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, graphic praxis, head injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal alcohol effects, epilepsy.


Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose (dependent on the diagnosis): Neurologist, psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, or physician. A diagnosis of a neurological condition alone is not sufficient to be eligible for accommodations and supports. Documentation must indicate the impact of the condition on the student in an academic setting. For many neurological conditions, specifically brain injuries, the documentation should refer to a comprehensive assessment that addresses the student’s aptitude, achievement and information processing abilities.

The diagnostic report must be dated and submitted on letterhead and include:

  1. Clinician's name, title, phone number, and address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. Summary of all instruments and procedures
  4. A written summary of educational, medical, family histories and behavioral observations
  5. Test scores (e.g. percentiles) and a detailed interpretation of the results including strengths and weaknesses
  6. Description of intracognitive and/or aptitude-achievement discrepancies or the clinician's rationale for clinical judgment
  7. Statement of how brain injury might interfere with the student's educational progress
  8. Suggestions for specific academic adjustments and accommodations which may assist to minimize the impact of functional limitations on the student’s academic performance
  9. Signed original preferred

Physical disabilities
Physical disabilities include a number of disabilities causing loss of function in areas of independent movement resulting from nervous system impairment, amputation and/or a musculoskeletal condition. These include but are not limited to arthritis, repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, soft tissue injury, spina bifida, amputations, paraplegia, quadriplegia, obesity.

 

Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose physical disabilities: Physician or specialist in the area of the disability. Because the provision of all academic accommodations is individualized and based upon the impact of a disability on current academic performance, it is recommended assessments and evaluations should have been conducted no earlier than three months prior to the student's initial request for services from RDC.

Documentation must include:

  1. Clinician's name, title, phone number, and address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. A clear statement of the physical disability, a summary of present symptoms, and a statement of the treatment, if applicable. Where relevant, a description of the severity, longevity, and/or expected progression or stability of the disability
  4. Medical information relating to the student’s needs, including the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the post-secondary environment
  5. Description of how the disability and treatment, if applicable, impact the student’s functioning in an academic setting
  6. Suggestions on specific types of accommodations which may minimize academic barriers
  7. Signed original preferred

Visual 
Visual disability is a generic term which covers a range of difficulties with vision, including a visual acuity of 6/21 (20/70) or less in the better eye after correction (best corrected vision), a visual field of 20 degrees or less, any progressive eye disease with a prognosis of becoming one of the above in the next few years or, a visual problem or related visual stamina that is not correctable and that results in the student functioning as if his or her visual acuity is limited to 6/21 (20/70) or less. For educational purposes, a student with visual impairment is one whose visual acuity is not sufficient for the student to participate with ease in everyday activities in an educational setting.

Documentation requirements
Professionals qualified to diagnose visual disabilities: Ophthalmologist, optometrist. Because the provision of all academic accommodations is individualized and based upon the impact of a disability on current academic performance, it is recommended assessments and evaluations should have been conducted no earlier than three months prior to the student's initial request for services from Red Deer College.

Documentation must include:

  1. Clinician's name, title, phone number, and address
  2. Date(s) of examination
  3. A clear statement of the limits of vision, a statement of the level of best-corrected vision, a summary of present symptoms, and a statement of possible treatment, if applicable. Where relevant, a description of the severity, longevity, and/or expected progression or stability of the vision loss
  4. Medical information relating to the student’s needs, including the impact of medication on the student’s ability to meet the demands of the post-secondary environment
  5. Description of how the vision loss and treatment, if applicable, impact the student’s functioning in an academic setting
  6. Suggestions on specific types of accommodations which may minimize academic barriers
  7. Signed original preferred
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