SAS Student Handbook

Introduction

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff at RRC Polytech have prepared this Handbook for Students with Disabilities. The purpose of this handbook is to provide you with information about services available to students with disabilities, to outline a student’s responsibilities in requesting and using accommodations, and to ensure that students have clear and reasonable expectations of Student Accessibility Services.

NOTE: SAS uses the term “disability” for consistency with the language of the Manitoba Human Rights Code.

Mission and Mandate

The mandate of Student Accessibility Services is to provide access to education through academic accommodations. SAS Accessibility Specialists and the SAS Manager, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) coordinate accommodations for students depending on documentation provided and individual needs. We work hard to provide quality service by treating everyone with respect, maintaining a positive, professional rapport, and soliciting input from everyone involved concerning the accommodations provided.

Red River College Polytechnic has an Academic Accommodation Policy. This policy applies to all students with a disability who request and receive accommodations. The policy was written in accordance with The Manitoba Human Rights Code and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.

The policy states:

“Red River College Polytechnic recognizes it’s moral and legal responsibility to provide reasonable academic accommodation to students with disabilities who are academically qualified for their program of study. The purpose of these accommodations is to lessen the effect of a disability on a student’s demonstration of knowledge and skills. The core issue of accommodation is to ensure the learning process is equitable while maintaining academic standards.”

Students are encouraged to read A28 – Academic Accommodation policy for more information.

Student Accessibility Services

Disabilities may pose barriers when students access post-secondary education. The accommodations available through Student Accessibility Services (SAS) assist students with disabilities and help compensate for the ways in which a disability may impact learning and the demonstration of knowledge. The purpose of accommodations is to “level the playing field” between students with disabilities and students who do not have disabilities. The purpose is not to provide an unfair advantage or to compromise learning outcomes.

SAS works together with students with disabilities and their academic program to facilitate individualized and appropriate accommodations to help reduce the barriers a disability may pose and to provide an environment that equalizes access.

You – as the student with a disability – have the responsibility of providing us with the information we need in order to best assist you. After all, you are the expert on yourself!

Who Is Eligible for Accommodations?

Students who have documented disabilities could be eligible to receive accommodations. Students are required to provide appropriate documentation from a registered health care professional (e.g. physician, psychologist, psychiatrist) in order to be supported for classroom, exam, and/or clinical/practicum accommodations.

Refer to the Disability Documentation Guide for detailed information on SAS’s documentation requirements.

For most disability types, with the exception of Specific Learning Disorders (Learning Disabilities), Intellectual Disabilities, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, students can choose to have their physician or Registered Health Care Provider complete our Medical Documentation Form.

In order to qualify as a student with a disability, as well as for academic accommodations, a student’s disability must be consistent with the definition as described by the Government of Canada:

“Permanent Disability means a functional limitation caused by a physical, or mental impairment that restricts the ability of a person to perform the daily activities necessary to participate in studies at a post-secondary school level or the labour market and is expected to remain with the person for the person’s expected life.”  

Student Accessibility Services at RRC Polytech recognizes various major areas of disability that are consistent with this definition and are likely to occur among the college population.

They are:

  • Specific Learning Disorders or Learning Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorders
  • Psychiatric Disorders or Mental Health Disabilities
  • Chronic Illnesses
  • Physical/Mobility Disabilities
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Blind or Low Vision
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
IMPORTANT: Student Accessibility Services should be your first point of contact.

By making an appointment with an SAS Accessibility Specialist/DHHS Manager, you begin the process of developing your accommodation plan.

How to Contact Student Accessibility Services

A student can book a first time appointment either in person or by completing the online registration form.

Students returning for subsequent appointments can schedule in-person or by phone.

Notre Dame Campus
Room: D102
Phone: 204-632-3966

Exchange District Campus
Room: P210
Phone: 204-949-8375

Appointment Process

Intake

  • Complete the online registration form
  • Indicate whether you are a prospective student, applicant or current student
    • If you are an applicant, indicate whether you would like accommodations for admission testing
  • Provide documentation from a registered health care professional.
    • Whenever possible, SAS asks that students submit documentation prior to the first appointment to allow staff time to carefully review the documentation.

Meet with an Accessibility Specialist or DHHS Manager

  • Review your documentation
  • Discuss the impact of your disability on learning

During your first appointment, the SAS Accessibility Specialist/DHHS Manager will review the documentation you provide verifying your disability and functional limitations. The two of you will also discuss your academic history, what kinds of accommodations you may have used in the past, and any other types of issues that may impact your academic performance. After sufficient information is gathered, the two of you can begin to work on your accommodation plan.

Develop an Academic Accommodation Plan

Develop a plan based on:

  • Documentation
  • Your self-report
  • Program learning outcomes
  • Referrals made to implement plan
  • Ongoing follow up discussed and next appointment booked

Potential Accommodations

  • Height-adjustable desk
  • Ergonomic chair
  • American Sign Language-English Interpreting
  • Computerized note-taking
  • Instructor PowerPoint notes
  • Audio recordings
  • Reduced course load
  • Test or exam accommodations
  • Assistive technology
  • Alternate format of print material

Meeting with an Accessibility Specialist or DHHS Manager

Typically, a student should meet with their Accessibility Specialist/DHHS Manager at the beginning of each semester, and then on a regular basis as mutually decided. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss challenges with academics, monitor the effectiveness of your accommodation plan, and support you in the midst of personal struggles, should they occur.

Facts about the Disclosure of a Disability

Disclosure of a disability is voluntary. However, if you would like to receive accommodations based on your disability, you must complete a Registration Form with SAS, provide documentation regarding your disability and meet with an Accessibility Specialist/DHHS Manager to develop a plan. All information is confidential and will only be shared if you sign a release of information form, which gives your Accessibility Specialist/DHHS Manager permission to discuss your academic and accommodation needs with your instructors, as necessary.

Financial Assistance for Students with Disabilities

Canada and Manitoba Student Loans

Canada Student Grant for Persons with Permanent Disabilities

If you have a permanent disability and qualify for a federal student loan you may receive $4,000 per academic year to help cover the costs of accommodation, tuition, and books.\

Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Persons with Permanent Disabilities

If you have a permanent disability which requires you to incur exceptional education-related costs for things such as tutors, note takers, interpreters, or assistive technology/equipment, you may receive up to $20,000 per academic year to help pay for these expenses.

For further information about these grants or other financial assistance available through Manitoba and Canada Student Loans Programs.

Red River College Polytechnic Awards for Students with Disabilities

Student Accessibility Services offers several awards and bursaries for students with disabilities. Please refer to the AS Financial Awards and Resources webpage for detailed information.