SAS Student Handbook

Introduction

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff at Red River College Polytechnic 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, SAS Manager, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Manager 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 collaborating with everyone involved concerning the accommodations provided.

Red River College Polytechnic has an Academic Accommodation policy (A28). 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 Freedoms.

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 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?

To be eligible for accommodations, you must provide current medical documentation from a registered healthcare professional qualified to diagnose the condition (e.g., physician, psychologist, psychiatrist) that confirms a permanent or temporary disability. The document also needs to explain how the functional limitations, or the symptoms of your disability, impact your learning and performance in the College setting.

Refer to the 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.

Student Accessibility Services at RRC Polytech recognizes various major areas of disability that are likely to occur among the College population, including:

  • 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 and 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, you begin the process of developing your accommodation plan.

How to Contact Student Accessibility Services

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

Notre Dame Campus
D102
204.632.3966

Exchange District Campus
P210
204.949.8375

Students returning for subsequent appointments can schedule with their SAS Accessibility Specialist/SAS Manager/DHHS Manager.

Note: For the remainder of the handbook, SAS Accessibility Specialists, SAS Manager and DHHS Manager will be referred to as “Accessibility Specialists”.

Process to Request Accommodations

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

  • Review your documentation
  • Discuss the impact of your disability on learning and demonstration of knowledge

During your first appointment, the Accessibility Specialist 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. It is important to note that more than one meeting may be needed to develop your accommodation plan.

Develop an Academic Accommodation Plan

Accommodations are student-specific and are unique to the individual and their courses (program).

Accommodations are forms of assistance that are provided, or arranged, by Student Accessibility Services to help you achieve your academic goals.

Types of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Test or exam accommodations (e.g., extended time, reduced distraction test environment)
  • Height-adjustable desk
  • Ergonomic chair
  • American Sign Language-English Interpreting
  • Instructor PowerPoint notes
  • Audio recordings
  • Reduced course load
  • Assistive technology (e.g., voice dictation software, text-to-speech software)
  • Alternate format of print material (e.g., electronic)
Accommodations are:Accommodations are not:
Specific supports to reduce the barrier the disability presentsModifying course standards or course outcomes
Established best practices that acknowledge no accommodation is perfectGiving a student an advantage
Student and course specific individualized supportsA method to weaken academic/program requirements

Additional supports may include:

  • Referring students to other RRC Polytech departments
    • Tutoring Services
    • Academic Coaching
    • Indigenous Support Services
    • Counselling
  • Assistance accessing disability-related financial resources

Types of Accommodations

Reduced Course Load

You may find your learning needs are best met by reducing the number of courses you take during a term. It may take a little longer to complete your program, but it may help you manage your workload more successfully and learn more effectively.

To utilize this accommodation:

  • Meet with your Accessibility Specialist and request this accommodation.
  • The Accessibility Specialist will review your documentation. If this accommodation is supported, you will be advised to connect with your program coordinator to develop an academic plan.

Note: Not all Red River College Polytechnic programs can be taken part-time due to the program’s fundamental structure or intake schedule.

Test and Exam Accommodations

You may require accommodations for your quizzes, tests and exams. If you wish to use this accommodation, you will write your tests/exams in the Exam Accommodations area (Winnipeg campuses only), unless otherwise advised. Here are a few of the accommodations that may be available to you depending on your disability and the documentation provided:

  • Extended time
  • Small group environment
  • Individual space (monitored by a proctor)
  • Reader and/or Scribe
  • Alternate format of print materials
  • Height adjustable desk
  • ASL – English Interpreter

To utilize this accommodation:

  • Meet with your Accessibility Specialist and discuss your needs
  • If you are eligible for this accommodation, your Accessibility Specialist will refer you to Exam Accommodations
  • An Exam Accommodations Exam Facilitator will connect with you to inform you of the process to receive this accommodation
  • This process includes but is not limited to:
    • you must provide Exam Accommodations 7 full days’ notice prior to each quiz/test/exam
    • you must complete an online request through the SAS student portal, providing accurate exam details (your name, student number, date of test, start time of test, length of test, instructor’s name, course name, etc.)
    • you must review and sign the Exam Accommodations Student Responsibility Acknowledgement form once per academic year (found in the SAS student portal)

Exam Accommodations Locations:

Notre Dame Campus – D110 (examaccommodationsndc@rrc.ca)
Exchange District Campus – E440 in Manitou a bi Bii daziigae (examaccommodationsedc@rrc.ca)

Notetaking

When your disability affects your ability to take notes in class, the Accessibility Specialist may recommend accommodations related to notetaking. You may find notetaking accommodations helpful in some classes and not necessary in others, depending on the structure of the course.

To utilize this accommodation:

  • Make an appointment to meet with your Accessibility Specialist
  • If you are eligible for this accommodation, you and your Accessibility Specialist may explore options such as audio recording of lectures, requesting PowerPoint presentation slides from instructors.

Audio Recording Lectures

Due to your disability, you may find it useful to audio record some of your class lectures so that you can listen to them again after class.

To utilize this accommodation:

  • Talk with your Accessibility Specialist to determine if you are eligible for this accommodation
  • If approved for this accommodation, you will need to review and sign an agreement to confirm you will use the recorded information responsibly
  • Your accommodation letter that you release to your instructors will indicate that you are eligible for this accommodation

Access to Instructor PowerPoint Notes

If you have difficulty taking notes while you listen to your lecture, due to your disability, you may find it useful to have copies of the PowerPoint notes your instructors may use in class. This way, you can focus on listening in class and then review the PowerPoints later.

To utilize this accommodation:

  • Meet with your Accessibility Specialist to determine if you are eligible for this accommodation
  • You will be required to review and sign a written agreement ensuring this accommodation is used appropriately
  • Your accommodation letter that you release to your instructors will indicate that you are eligible for this accommodation

Note: Using accommodations such as note taking, audio recording of lectures or accessing copies of your instructors’ PowerPoint notes, do not substitute for your need to attend class.

Assistive Technology

You may benefit from a variety of technology designed for students with disabilities, such as reading software, voice dictation software, magnification software, and audio recording devices. Many software programs and devices are available for trial in Student Accessibility Services.

Some students with disabilities may already know what types of assistive technology work for them, while other students may not be familiar with assistive technology. Students who are not aware of assistive technology may be referred to the SAS Assistive Technologist or may be referred to a consultant in the community for recommendations and training.

To provide students with the most comprehensive recommendations for assistive technology for which they are eligible, the Assistive Technologist will be provided with a copy of your relevant medical documentation. The Assistive Technologist maintains the privacy and confidentiality of these documents.

Note: Students are responsible for securing funds to acquire assistive technology. Your Accessibility Specialist can explore funding options with you.

Textbooks in Alternate Format

You may require your study materials to be in an alternate format. Often, textbooks can be provided in a variety of formats such as e-text or Braille. As specified by copyright laws, to be eligible to receive the textbook in an alternate format, you must purchase the textbook and provide receipts.

To utilize this accommodation:

The Accessibility Specialist will refer you to the SAS Assistive Technologist to determine the type of alternate format material you require
You must provide the Assistive Technologist with a list of your textbooks, including title, author, edition, and ISBN, who will conduct a search for the availability of your materials in the appropriate format
You are required to sign a written agreement ensuring this accommodation is used appropriately.

Note: Inform the SAS Assistive Technologist as soon as you know what textbooks you will require in alternate format as it can take up to a few months to have the books converted to the requested format.

American Sign Language – English Interpreting and Transcription

ASL – English interpreting or transcription can be provided for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

To utilize this service:

  • Meet with the Manager of Deaf and Hard of Hearing services and indicate when booking the appointment if an ASL-English interpreter will be required
  • The Manager of DHHS will assess your needs and set up a plan with you
  • Deaf or hard of hearing individuals are required to provide as much notice as possible prior to the start date of the College program to ensure staff are available to meet these accommodation needs. We recommend connecting with SAS at least 4 months prior to the start of the program.

Physical Accessibility Accommodations

If you are a student with a mobility disability, you may have concerns about navigating the College efficiently, where your locker will be, and where you will park your vehicle.

Lockers – specific requests for a wheelchair accessible locker can be made at the Campus Store (Notre Dame Campus – Mall Level just off the bus loop; Exchange District Campus – Atrium/Main Floor of Building P)

Parking – Notre Dame Campus students who possess an accessible parking permit issued through Manitoba Possible (formerly Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD)) can request Accessible Parking through Commuting and Parking (AB38, Notre Dame Campus).

Notre Dame Campus students who require accessible parking as a temporary accommodation are required to complete the Accessible Parking Application Form and submit the completed form to SAS.

Note: Accessible parking at the Exchange District Campus is only available via metered street parking, monitored by the City of Winnipeg. To access these accessible parking spaces, a student must possess an accessible parking permit issued by Manitoba Possible (formerly SMD).

Height Adjustable Desks/Ergonomic Chairs – to request a height adjustable desk or ergonomic chair in your classrooms, notify your Accessibility Specialist of your classroom locations. This may require you and the Accessibility Specialist to meet on campus to look at each classroom.

Wheelchair Lift in J Building (Notre Dame Campus) – if you use a wheelchair and your classes are located in J Building, please advise your Accessibility Specialist as soon as possible that you will need to use the wheelchair lift. Your Accessibility Specialist will assist you in getting a key for the wheelchair lift and will arrange for training on how to use the lift safely and independently.

Feedback on Campus Accessibility

The College continues to put forth effort to make College campuses increasingly more accessible. If you have feedback for us, please do not hesitate to share it with your Accessibility Specialist and put it in writing. Your feedback is important to us and will be provided to our Facilities department.

Note: RRC Polytech has the expectation that all students with disabilities, in collaboration with their Accessibility Specialist, explore funding to support the costs of academic accommodations and supports. However, we will not refuse service to anyone on the basis of funding being denied.

Additional Supports

Tutoring Services

The Academic Success Centre (ASC) offers a range of tutor-led supports designed to help you succeed in your courses. Students referred by Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to the ASC can access in-person tutoring at the Notre Dame Campus (CM-18) and Exchange District Campus (P2-14) libraries. In addition, both Winnipeg-located and regional campus SAS-referred students can access online tutoring. Students referred by SAS can access up to 8 hours of one-on-one tutoring, per term, from an ASC staff tutor. Agency-sponsored students and students eligible for the Canada Student Grant may be eligible to receive additional tutoring hours per term. Speak to your Accessibility Specialist for more information.

Additionally, all students are encouraged to attend the diverse selection of ASC supports including review workshops, study groups, writing supports, and academic coaching. For further details and to book a tutoring session, visit www.rrc.ca/asc.

To determine your eligibility for additional tutoring and academic coaching supports:

  • Meet with your Accessibility Specialist and determine if you are eligible for funding
  • If funding has been approved for additional tutoring, your Accessibility Specialist will include that in the referral to the Academic Success Centre who will match you with a tutor based on your needs
  • Important:
    • You are responsible to prepare for your tutoring sessions by bringing the necessary materials and knowing what you need to work on
    • If you cannot make a scheduled tutoring appointment, you must let your tutor know at least 24 hours in advance (other students may be waiting for a time to meet with a tutor!)

Student Counselling Services

At RRC Polytech we recognize that although coming to college and pursuing your career goals is a huge part of your life, you likely have many other things going on as well. You may have family/relationship problems, feelings of anxiety or depression, or you may experience some kind of personal crisis while you are a student. These types of personal issues can have a big impact on how you manage your academic life, and Student Counselling Services would like to offer understanding, support and guidance through these difficult times. We also want to see you succeed in your career goals and by better managing personal difficulties this is more possible.

By connecting with Student Counselling Services, you can also receive guidance regarding academic concerns, underachievement in your studies, and assistance with career direction. There could be times when a student questions their program selection or has confusion about the goals they once were very certain about. Counselling Services can provide assistance in gaining more clarity and getting re-focused.

Student Counselling Services has professional and registered counsellors that have extensive experience and skills, and they are here to support you. Compete the secure online intake form to get started, or take a look at some of the frequently asked questions. These services are voluntary, free, and confidential.

Indigenous Student Supports

The Indigenous Student Supports team provides the tools and resources to help Indigenous students succeed, from community to classroom to career. Located at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses, the Indigenous Support Centres provide a home away from home where students can smudge, participate in events, cultural teachings and ceremonies, or spend time with friends. The welcoming atmosphere of the centres include a computer lab, kitchen, telephone, study area and lounge. Indigenous Student Supports promotes respectful cultural awareness for all students and staff. Elders-in-Residence are here to support education through Indigenous ways of teaching, learning and leading and they play an important role in student and staff health, wellness, and cultural and spiritual development.

There are many supports available through Indigenous Student Supports including an Indigenous Liaison Advisor (provides support and guidance for the application process, admission requirements, registration and selecting the best fitting program), Academic Liaison and Resource coaches, Navigation Coaches, and much more. Visit the Indigenous Student Supports and Community Relations webpage for more information.

Notre Dame Campus
Building F – Room 209
Phone: 204.632.3773

Exchange District Campus
Princess Building – Room P407
Phone: 204.949.8506

Follow-Up Meetings with an Accessibility Specialist

Typically, a student should meet with their Accessibility Specialist at the beginning of each term 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 and connect you with appropriate resources in the midst of personal struggles, should they occur. It is up to you to contact your Accessibility Specialist if you are having difficulties in your courses, or you would like to adjust your accommodation plan.

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 to develop an accommodation plan. All information is confidential and will only be shared if you sign a release of information form, which gives your Accessibility Specialist permission to discuss your academic and accommodation needs with your instructors, and other applicable College departments as necessary (e.g. Academic Success Centre, Registrar’s Office, Exam Accommodations).

Rights and Responsibilities

Students

Students have the right to:

  • Equal access to participation in the post-secondary education experience
  • Be treated with dignity and respect regarding their disability and accommodation needs
  • Appropriate, individualized accommodation
  • Protection of confidential information
  • Timely service provision, consistent with notice provided by the student
  • Prompt, equitable investigation and resolution of complaints
  • Appeal accommodation decisions

The student with a disability has a responsibility to:

  • Meet admission requirements and on-going academic standards of their selected College program
  • Comply with RRC Polytech’s Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities, as all students of the College are required
  • Self-identify as a student with a disability to SAS
  • Provide relevant and current documentation verifying their disability as per documentation guidelines
  • Develop an accommodation plan in collaboration with an Accessibility Specialist
  • Make requests for accommodations by contacting their Accessibility Specialist at the beginning of each term
  • Prior to starting a new term or course, release a Letter of Accommodations to their instructor(s) through the SAS student portal
  • Make requests for accommodations by contacting SAS at the beginning of each term
  • Meet regularly with an Accessibility Specialist, as mutually agreed, in order to monitor the effectiveness of the accommodations and supports
  • Follow procedures in receiving accommodations as set out by Exam Accommodations and other RRC Polytech student support services (e.g., Academic Success Centre)
  • Establish good working relationships with instructors, which may involve discussing with them accommodations and/or concerns (self- advocacy)
  • Make needs for assistive technologies and/or alternate format of materials known to the Accessibility Specialist in advance, so they can assist in acquiring these supports in a timely way
  • Apply for the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Disabilities, which could provide funds for assistive technology/services and help offset costs in the provision of accommodations

Instructors

Instructors have the right to:

  • Determine course content and general methods of teaching
  • Ensure that the standards of the course are not lowered or compromised
  • Ensure that a student has demonstrated mastery of the essential learning outcomes of the course in order to obtain an appropriate grade
  • Fail any student if the student does not demonstrate mastery of essential learning outcomes relative to their peers who do not have disabilities
  • Question, discuss, and appeal a specific accommodation
  • Be treated respectfully by all students in class

Instructors have the responsibility to:

  • Provide a classroom atmosphere that is harassment-free, inclusive, and nondiscriminatory
  • Encourage students with disabilities to identify themselves privately
  • Protect and maintain student confidentiality
  • Cooperate with SAS in providing authorized academic accommodations
  • Consult with SAS on questions regarding disabilities and academic accommodations, as necessary

Student Accessibility Services

SAS has the right to:

  • Request current documentation from a registered health care professional verifying disability and functional implications within an academic environment
  • Request consent from the student to communicate with registered health care professionals to understand the student’s need for accommodation
  • Set and maintain healthy boundaries in relationships with students

SAS has the responsibility to:

  • Treat each student as an individual, and with respect and dignity
  • Maintain confidentiality of all information submitted by the student; release information only with written consent of the student or on a need-to-know basis with prior consent
  • Maintain documentation submitted by the student and any other written records pertaining to the student’s accommodations
  • Help students determine which support services are appropriate, explain how these services will be provided, and submit referrals when needed
  • Provide advocacy and support to students when communicating with instructors, as necessary and with student consent

Making Sure You Receive the Accommodations You Need

Service through Student Accessibility Services

Our goal at SAS is to provide you with a safe and confidential environment to develop an appropriate accommodation plan to ensure equal access to education. We also understand that there could be times students have concerns or complaints about services they receive. We want to resolve any student concerns as quickly as possible. If you do have a complaint, we suggest you follow these steps to help resolve the problem:

  • If you are not receiving the services that you need or have asked for, tell your Accessibility Specialist as soon as possible as they may be able to help you resolve the situation or suggest a course of action
  • If you have a problem with or a complaint about anyone who works in SAS, please discuss your complaint with that person first
  • If these suggestions do not resolve your concern or complaint, please contact one of the following Managers:

Lori Walkow
Manager, Student Accessibility Services
D110, Notre Dame Campus
Phone: 204.632.3808
Email: lwalkow@rrc.ca

Jill Patterson
Manager, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
D110, Notre Dame Campus
Phone: 204.632.3092
Email: jpatterson

Addressing Instructor Questions or Concerns about Your Accommodations

Accommodation recommendations are made in accordance with the Manitoba Human Rights Code and the documentation you provide from your registered health care professional. Ideally, you, your Accessibility Specialist, and your academic program collaborate about the accommodations that would be appropriate given all the available information.

There may be times, however, when instructors/programs question the accommodations you have been deemed eligible for, and would like more information to better understand how these accommodations will work. In these situations, please consult with your Accessibility Specialist so the two of you can discuss the situation and consider ways to work it through. Most often, your Accessibility Specialist can work with your program to help them better understand the purpose and your eligibility for accommodations and mediate a resolution. Alternatively, the program may provide you and the Accessibility Specialist with information as to why the accommodation may compromise learning outcomes. Understanding, communication, and collaboration are key in this process.

Appeal Process

If you believe you did not receive the accommodations you have been approved for, a formal appeal process can be pursued as outlined in RRC Polytech’s Academic Accommodation Policy A28 and Student Appeals S3.

However, as mentioned above, the informal appeal should take place first through discussions between you, your Accessibility Specialist and your program/instructor. If you are unsatisfied with this outcome, you have the option to pursue the formal appeal process.

If you are not in agreement with the accommodation plan your Accessibility Specialist developed with you, you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with the SAS Manager.

Financial Assistance for Students with Disabilities

Canada and Manitoba Student Loans

Canada Student Grant for Students with Disabilities

If you have a permanent disability or persistent/prolonged disability (i.e., symptoms have lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months), and qualify for a federal student loan, you may receive up to $4,000 per academic year to help cover the costs of accommodation, tuition, and books.

Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Disabilities

If you have a permanent disability or persistent/prolonged 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 we recommend you go to the Manitoba Student Aid website.

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 SAS Financial Awards and Resources webpage for detailed information.

For other awards, bursaries, and scholarships available through RRC Polytech please refer to the Awards, Bursaries, and Scholarships webpage.

Questions?

If you have any further questions, please contact your Accessibility Specialist or Student Accessibility Services at accessibility@rrc.ca or:

Notre Dame Campus
D102
204.632.3966

Exchange District Campus
P210
204.949.8375