The Accessibility Services resource library holds links to resources and documents related to COVID-19, registration, accommodations, online learning and guidance for faculty.
- Certificate of Disability (PDF)
- Accessibility Services Undergraduate Student Handbook (PDF)
- Accessibility Services Graduate and Professional Program Student Handbook (PDF)
- Documentation Requirements for ADHD and Learning Disabilities (PDF)
- Demystifying Academic Accommodations (PDF)
- Transfer of Accommodations Form (PDF)
- Disability-related Extension Request Template (PDF)
- Calculator Accommodation Approval Form (PDF)
- What is a Cue Sheet? (PDF)
- Cue Sheet Instructions for Students (PDF)
- Dictionary Accommodation Approval Form (PDF)
- Service Animal Registration Form (PDF)
- Livescribe Echo 2: Recording Pen for Note Taking
The Livescribe Echo 2 is a pen that allows a student to take handwritten notes on specialized paper while simultaneously recording the audio being presented in class. Afterward, the student can tap on their written notes to replay exactly what was said at that moment in time, and then fill in any details that were missed. The digitized notes, including audio, can be transferred to a computer or mobile device for future reference and study, and can also be shared.
Who might benefit from using Livescribe?
Livescribe may benefit students with disabilities that impact their ability to take effective notes in class, including those disabilities that affect working memory, attention, auditory processing or writing speed.
- Allows the user to concentrate more on listening and understanding in class by writing only minimal notes, rather than scrambling to write everything down.
- Reduces anxiety created by potentially missing important information – the user can always go back to the notes and audio for clarification or to add further detail later.
- Allows the user to be strategic with recordings and study time – can go back to hear only the specific points of the lecture needed for revision or review, not have to listen to the entire lecture all over again.
- Good option for course notes involving drawings, charts, diagrams, or mathematics.
- Livescribe is only useful for courses in which the student hand writes their notes.
- The cost of accessories and the pen itself – consider likelihood of loss or damage.
- Strategies for effective note taking are still very important.
- MindView 8: Mind mapping software for written expression
MindView is a mind-mapping tool that is designed to help capture, organize and present ideas visually. Maps can be converted to outlines and then exported to MS Office to facilitate the writing process.
Who might benefit from mind-mapping software?
- Students with learning disabilities affecting written expression.
- Students with disabilities that impact cognitive functioning, including planning, organizing thoughts and ideas, memory and recall, problem solving.
- Students who are strong visual learners.
- Students with difficulty beginning the writing process.
Processes mind-mapping can help with:
- Brainstorming and capturing ideas to start the writing process.
- Organizing and sequencing ideas to assist in planning a piece of writing.
- Breaking down complex concepts and ideas into smaller pieces.
- Exploring ideas and the connections between them for deeper understanding.
- Creating visual associations to trigger memory.
Challenges when mind mapping:
- It can be tempting to spend too much time on a mind map making it look attractive. Keep in mind that the writing assignment/presentation of ideas is the end goal, not the map itself.
- Because there is no limit to the size and scope of a map, be wary of creating one that is too large and complicated to be useful as an outline. Remember to regularly review and re-assess the main idea.
- Kurzweil 3000: For Students with Learning Disabilities (Reading)
Kurzweil 3000 is a text-to-speech tool designed for students with learning disabilities involving reading. It highlights and reads digital text aloud using customizable voices and variable speed options. In addition to text-to-speech, Kurzweil includes document annotation tools and writing features.
What kind of reading difficulties does Kurzweil address?
Kurzweil addresses difficulties with the mechanics of reading that can interrupt reading fluency. These interruptions can include losing one’s spot on the page (tracking), misreading words, and reading “word by word” (forgetting the beginning of the sentence before reaching the end).
How Kurzweil can help:
Kurzweil’s text-to-speech can assist the reading process by taking over reading pace and reducing the interruptions that interfere with fluent reading. This can help the reader move beyond the mechanics of reading and concentrate more on understanding the text.
What Kurzweil can't do:
Text-to-speech on its own does not address crucial learning skills such as knowing what is important in your readings or using active reading strategies to stay motivated and focussed on lengthy or complex material.
Alternative text to speech options (free):
- Dragon Naturally Speaking: Speech Recognition Software for Writing
Dragon Naturally Speaking is a speech recognition software that is used with a microphone to convert spoken language to digital text or to utilize verbal commands to control a (Windows) computer.
What kind of writing difficulty does Dragon address?
Speech recognition was originally used by students with mobility/physical disabilities or injuries that impacted the ability to type or write. However, Dragon can also benefit students with disabilities affecting written expression, including difficulties with spelling, the mechanics of writing, or transferring ideas to paper. Voice recognition may also be beneficial to students with health-related disabilities that necessitate lying down to work or a reduction in screen time.
How speech recognition software can help:
- Reduces reliance on finger, hand and wrist use (eases mechanical aspects of typing)
- Allows a variety of work positions, reduced time looking at screen, alternating typing and speaking
- Shifts focus from physical typing to expression of thoughts
- Can increase legibility of written output – more representative of true oral language skills
- Can decrease anxiety – less worry about spelling, mechanics, getting started
- Necessitates editing and proof-reading of written work
Limitations of speech recognition software:
- User must be mindful of vocal strain – breaks are especially important
- Learning curve – it takes time, practice and patience for use with academic writing which is quite different from conversational language
- Some specific language disorders may make speech recognition more difficult or ineffective
- Requires a quiet workspace and a well-functioning computer with adequate processing speed
Alternative voice recognition options (free):
- Immersive Reader: Free Reading Support Tool within Microsoft Office
Immersive Reader is a multi-featured reading tool that supports the comprehension and readability of digital text for a wide variety of learners. It is built-in to many Microsoft platforms including Word, OneNote, Outlook, Edge and Teams.
Immersive Reader is highly customizable and includes text-to-speech to improve reading fluency as well as text enhancements such as font, size, and word spacing. Users can also select from several colour themes to improve visual access. Other features include line spacing options and a focus mode to reduce visual crowding and help sustain attention.
Immersive Reader is free and embedded in existing Microsoft products that are already available and familiar to students.
The wide range of features support a variety of learning styles and needs, including those that struggle with decoding, fluency, focus and English language learning.
- Strategies for Online Learning & Accessibility (PDF)
- Taking a Timed Exam in Quercus (PDF)
- Submitting a Take Home Test or Exam in Quercus (PDF)
- Submitting a Take Home Exam in Quercus with Turnitin (PDF)
- Microsoft Teams Instructions (PDF)
The University’s Library Accessibility support team, based out of Robarts Library, helps provide library collections or other course materials in alternate formats to students with disabilities. They also offer assistance with use of the library spaces and services, and loan assistive technology-equipped laptops and wheelchairs to students in need.
- Tips for Accessibility When Moving to Online Course Delivery (PDF)
- Accessibility in Online Education: Planning Guidelines for Faculty and Instructors (PDF)
- Accessibility Checklist for Faculty: Planning for Online Courses (PDF)
- Cue Sheet Instructions for Professors (PDF)
- Information for Faculty and Academic Staff on Accommodations for Placements and Practicums (PDF)