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Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

About the Accessible Learning Centre

The Accessible Learning Centre (ALC) is committed to providing students with temporary or permanent disabilities any access or accommodations they may need to participate in equal opportunities. We highly encourage you to communicate with your student to learn about how the ALC can give them the support they need.

Some services that the ALC provides include:

  • examination accommodation
  • note-taking
  • alternate-format course materials such as electronic text (e-text), Braille or captioned video
  • peer support and learning strategies

Our ALC staff work collaboratively with students to determine appropriate accommodations. Staff and students work in conjunction with faculty, community and campus resources to develop and implement an individualized plan where appropriate.

There are no costs to students registering with the ALC. At times, there may be a cost associated with certain accommodations (e.g. purchasing technology for home use, tutoring, updated documentation, etc.). Students can discuss potential funding options with their disability consultant.

Transition Tips for Families

Families provide an important element of stability at a time when many things are in a state of change for students, and we welcome the opportunity to provide you with helpful information to support the transition process. We ask for your patience in understanding that the ALC staff is obligated to treat students’ personal information as private and confidential.

Privacy/Confidentiality and the University Landscape

Under the Human Rights Code, universities are mandated to have accessible learning offices on campus to ensure access to accommodations for students with documented disabilities. The ALC offers accommodations often similar to those in high school, however there are some important distinctions:

  • Supports are mandated by Federal and Provincial Human Rights Legislation rather than the Education Act.
  • Personal information is protected by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). All documentation, communication, and student records are confidential and information is not shared freely with families.
  • ALC registration does not appear on any official Laurier documentation and limited information is provided to faculty.
  • Accommodations do not guarantee success. Our role is to level the playing field by collaboratively removing barriers rather than modifying academic expectations/requirements.

Supportive Strategies

We recognize that the transition to university is not just for students; families also experience changes in their roles. We hope the following key strategies will assist you in helping your student achieve a smooth transition to university.

  • Ask questions to demonstrate interest in your student's experience and investment in his or her success while respecting your student's autonomy.
  • Offer coaching to further develop skills needed to foster independence and a healthy identity, such as self-advocacy, tenacity, personal insight, problem solving and organization.
  • Show compassion for obstacles and upsets, because these can serve as essential learning opportunities that allow students to further develop their resiliency and self-confidence.
  • Be flexible when plans change. It is common for students to take a reduced course load or change academic programs, which can often lead to increased engagement, motivation and success.
  • Build capacity for problem solving by encouraging your student to reflect on challenges and help him or her identify solutions or resources to support your student in the future.

Transition Process and Expectations

The transition to becoming an independent adult is emotionally charged for many young people and their families. Layering in a disability can sometimes make it even more challenging. We encourage families to stay engaged and practice self-compassion throughout the process.

A common theme during this transition is figuring out how expressions of support and being needed have changed in your relationships, and shifting to new ways of demonstrating support. Transitioning from “doing for” to “offering encouragement” invites a change in perspective.

  • Don't: Check or respond to emails on behalf of your student.
  • Do: Encourage daily email checking and teach professional communication skills.
  • Don't: Choose courses for your student.
  • Do: Engage in conversation about areas of interest.
  • Don't: Call on behalf of your student.
  • Do: Discuss concerns, formulate questions, and encourage outreach as the ALC prioritizes returning student calls over parent/family calls.
  • Don't: Advocate on behalf of your student.
  • Do: Help your student to find his or her voice.

We find that "doing for" can undermine students' self-confidence, and limit their growth in taking responsibility for their own affairs.

Coach your student on how to express his or her needs, remind them to book an appointment if they have a concern, or teach them how to craft an email to a professor.

Your Responsibilities in the Transition Process

As your student makes the transition from high school to university, understanding your responsibilities as a parent/guardian will help your student adjust easier to university life. 

  • Be proactive instead of reactive. The transition is often successful when parents and guardians are active in supporting their student.
  • Familiarize yourself with the campus, the resources available and the academic program your student is enrolled in.
  • Encourage your student to ask questions and feeling free to ask questions yourself.
  • Encourage your student to speak to their on- or off-campus don and stay on campus over weekends in order to build relationships.
  • Let your child know they are not alone. There are resources, supports and others who are there to help them make their transition a smooth one.

Self-Advocacy Skills Support

As an involved parent or guardian, you have likely been your student's advocate for years and it is a role that has become familiar to you both. Now as a student in a postsecondary environment, it is important for your student to develop and strengthen their self-advocacy skills.

As your student engages in their university career, there will be times when they need to independently manage issues that arise in the classroom and beyond. Knowing how to self-advocate is crucial. The tips below will guide you in helping your student develop self-advocacy skills:

  • Help your student identify the resources they will need to succeed and how to access them.
  • Discuss with your student how they would handle certain situations and provide feedback on how to respond.
  • Role play some discussions that your student may have with a professor, roommate or classmates, so they feel comfortable advocating for what they need. You can then provide feedback so that they are prepared when they are faced with similar situations.
  • Help your student identify their strengths, and areas where they are confident and comfortable. By doing so, your student can draw upon these experiences and strengths, and apply them to areas they find challenging.

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