Policies Concerning Documentation of Disabilities or Temporary Disruptions of Functioning
Policy Concerning Documentation of Disabilities for Academic Accommodations
Our policy and activities concerning professional documentation of disabilities is best understood within the context that we are a university service that offers counselling and our primary mandate is to provide counselling for personal, career and learning disabilities concerns. The demand for this service is large and we have limited resources, thus we must focus our activities on actively helping students make improvements in their personal functioning, career development and learning. This includes helping students who have various types of disabilities. Unfortunately, providing an additional disability documentation service would require significant diversion of resources into formal psychological testing, assessment and report writing.
1. Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and ASD
Our Learning Disabilities psychologist helps students with these concerns to improve their learning and academic performance; and assists students about the advisability of seeking formal documentation to address these concerns.
We do not provide full testing and documentation for these types of disabilities.
Students seeking documentation of Learning Disabilities will be assisted to identify appropriately qualified private practice psychologists who can assess and provide documentation of learning disabilities.
Students seeking documentation of disability related to Attention Deficit or Autism Spectrum Disorders will be assisted to identify appropriately qualified medical practitioners (preferably psychiatrists) or private practice psychologists who can assess and provide documentation of these conditions.
2. Mental Health Disabilities
Our personal counsellors help students improve their coping and psychological functioning, and indirectly their academic performance.
Counsellor-psychologists here may be able to provide documentation of a mental health disability, if in the course of their counselling of a student they have accumulated enough knowledge about the student’s functioning, limitations and needs. This type of assessment typically could be made only after at least several sessions. It could not be appropriately provided after one walk-in counselling session.
We do not provide a documentation service for students who do not wish counselling, but only wish documentation for the purposes of academic accommodations. Students who are seeking only assessment and documentation will be assisted in identifying appropriately qualified medical practitioners (preferably psychiatrists) or private practice psychologists who can assess and provide documentation of mental health disabilities.
Policy Concerning Students in Crisis and Other Temporary Severe Disruptions of Their Normal Functioning
In the course of their work with students, counsellors may become aware that a student is temporarily unable to be academically productive or perform adequately. In such cases, and when the student requests, a counsellor may write a brief letter to a professor indicating that the student is temporarily not able to be productive, and suggesting that the professor use their professorial discretion, on compassionate grounds, to permit some latitude concerning a specific deadline, delay of writing a test, etc. or other temporary adjustment of an academic requirement.
This is not documentation of an on-going disability, and in all cases the final decision is up to the professor.
We encourage all faculty to consider that our busy function is helping students improve, and ask faculty not to instruct students to go to Student Health & Wellness Centre for “just a note” to provide paper documentation for the professor in support of some adjustment in course requirements which the professor is already willing to provide.
We do encourage faculty, when they become aware of students who are in crisis or who might benefit from counselling, to refer students to the Student Health & Wellness Centre directly or use our online student referral form.