Students must provide SAS with current documentation regarding their disability-related needs in order to determine an appropriate accommodation plan. SAS accommodates both permanent and temporary disabilities. It is understood that appropriate documentation occasionally takes time to obtain. We recommend students request documentation from their health professional well before the start of the academic term. Accommodations and appointment times are more limited as the term progresses.
For all students, documentation must come from a licenced diagnosing health professional experienced in the field of the student’s disability.
1) Students with Physical, Mental Health, Sensory or Chronic Health Disabilities:
All students must use the SAS Disability Documentation Form, which is to be completed by a licenced diagnosing health professional.
Note that for OSAP-eligible students, an option is to have the OSAP Disability Verification Form (DVF), in addition to the SAS Disability Documentation Form. The OSAP DVF is completed by a licenced diagnosing health professional, and can be uploaded by the student to their OSAP profile. The OSAP DVF has the potential to change a student's grant-to-loan ratio.
Licenced diagnosing health professionals include:
- Nurse Practitioner
- Other medical practitioner who is authorized to provide a clinical diagnosis
For students with temporary disabilities, note that SAS may require an annual update of documentation.
2) Students with a Learning Disability:
SAS requires a copy of your latest psycho-educational assessment report, completed by a Registered Psychologist within the last 5 years. Also accepted is a detailed letter from the Psychologist that outlines the functional impacts and recommended accommodations.
An assessment report that was authored more than 5 years ago is acceptable, if the student was at least 18 years old when the assessment was completed.
For students who were assessed when they were younger than 18 years of age, and whose assessment report is more than 5 years old, SAS will typically implement interim accommodations, until such time that the assessment can be updated.
The psycho-educational assessment report must include all of the following:
- A clear statement that the student has a specific learning disability;
- Interview obtaining relevant background information and education records;
- Formal intelligence test;
- Formal measure of academic achievement;
- Formal measure of information processing skills;
- Evidence of functional impairment in academic performance;
- Evidence that identified challenges are not better explained by other conditions or diagnoses; and
- Recommendations and a summary of the areas of need in an academic context.
An IEP may be submitted as part of a student’s documentation; however, this is not sufficient for providing ongoing accommodation at Trent University.
3) Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):
Examples of attention disability include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Acceptable documentation includes either the SAS Disability Documentation Form or a psycho-educational assessment (completed in-person using Adult Measures and within the past 5 years).
Whether submitting a psycho-educational assessment report or completing the SAS Disability Documentation Form, confirming an ADHD/ADD diagnosis for Trent students must be based on the following criteria:
- Meet the DSM-V definition of ADHD/ADD: Individual shows a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development; and
- Confirms the student exhibits five (5) or more symptoms of inattention and/or five (5) or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity; and
- Confirms that symptoms:
Were present before 12 years of age;
Reduces functioning in two or more areas of life: home, school, work, family and friends, or other activities;
Cannot be explained by another mental disorder such as mood, anxiety, dissociative or personality disorders.
In assessing students for ADHD/ADD, qualified health professionals must base their diagnosis, at minimum, on a structured diagnostic interview that assesses:
- Family history, relevant development and academic markers, presence/absence of co-existing disorders (e.g., mood or anxiety disorders, substance use, neuromedical conditions, symptom exaggeration), and other conditions or behaviors that can mimic ADHD;
- Data from different sources – student, significant other, parents, school records and employment records;
- Confirmation that symptoms were present prior to age 12, even if symptoms were not functionally limiting until adolescence;
- Confirmation that symptoms have been present for at least 6 months;
- Clinical observations of hyperactive behavior, impulsive speech, and/or distractibility;
- Established impairment in one or more life areas, including social, academic or employment settings;
- Accounting for periods when student was symptom free (if applicable);
- Details of ADHD medication use and treatment response (if applicable).
Qualified health professionals must verify either in a psycho-educational assessment report or on the SAS Disability Documentation Form they have diagnosed the student with ADHD/ADD in accordance with the above criteria and that the diagnosis is based on in-person testing. Trent does not accept documentation or assessments confirming an ADHD/ADD diagnosis made solely from a symptom count-based checklist or a rating scale.
Qualified health professionals with training in differential diagnosis of ADHD and other psychiatric disorders who may complete Trent’s documentation requirements include:
- Registered psychologist
- Family physician with relevant training
- Nurse Practitioner with relevant training
In accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), a service animal is defined as an animal that a person with a disability uses for reasons directly related to that disability (AODA, Reg 191/11, Section 80.45). Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button.
Conversely, an emotional support animal that solely provides comfort and security, unrelated to the functional impacts of a disability, is not recognized under the law and has no legal entitlements.
Students who need to bring a service animal onto campus must submit the Service Animal Recommendation Form (SARF), which is to be completed by a regulated health professional. The SARF asks the health professional to certify that the student has a disability-related need for a service animal who performs a specific task to aid with the day-to-day functional impacts of the disability.
Students must also ensure the service animal(s) has up-to-date rabies and core inoculations as determined by the Ontario Veterinary Medicine Association, are free of disease and pests, and are tagged and licensed in accordance with municipal bylaws.
Examples of Service Animal:
A Guide Dog or Seeing Eye® Dog is a carefully trained dog that serves as a travel tool for persons with severe visual impairments or who are blind;
A hearing or Signal Dog is trained to alert a person with significant hearing loss or who is deaf when a sound occurs, such as a knock on the door;
A psychiatric Service Dog is a dog that performs tasks that assist individuals with disabilities in detecting the onset of psychiatric episodes and lessening their effects. Tasks performed by psychiatric service animals may include reminding the handler to take medicine, providing safety checks or room searches, turning on lights for persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, interrupting self-mutilation by persons with dissociative identity disorders, and keeping disoriented individuals from danger;
A sensory Signal dog, or social Signal dog, is a dog that assists an autistic person or their caregiver. These dogs can perform various social or sensory tasks based on the needs of the individual. For example, a dog might cue a person to pay attention to street crossings and crosswalks when walking to their job. Or a dog might listen for a parent calling a child’s name and guide the parent to the child;
A seizure Response Dog is a dog that assists a person with a seizure disorder. How the dog serves the person depends on the person’s needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure, or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person to sit down or move to a safe place.
Questions? Contact us!