The following activities are organized in a checklist format and can be used in planning your transition goals. You can check off each item as you complete it.
Find Out More About Your Condition
Learn How to Advocate for Yourself
Create a Personal Information File
Investigate Possible Careers and Education Options
Select the Colleges/Universities You Are Interested in Attending
Apply to the Colleges You Are Interested in Attending
Prepare for and Meet Program Admission Requirements
Apply for Financial Aid
You should apply for OSAP in early June if you will be starting college/university in September. Students sponsored by a government agency such as Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB), Canada pension Plan (CPP), Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), except Ontario Disability Support Program( ODSP) that is already funding our education are usually not eligible for financial aid from OSAP or the college, but make sure.
• Self-advocacy involves understanding your strengths and needs, identifying your personal goals, knowing your legal rights and responsibilities, and communicating these to others.
• One of the biggest changes students with disabilities face as they make the transition to postsecondary studies is that they must advocate for themselves.
• In high school, you may have had others speak on your behalf to teachers about your need for accommodations.
• In college and university, arranging for and receiving accommodations works quite differently. You are responsible for advocating for yourself. You will be required to communicate your needs and make arrangements to receive accommodations and services.
• Learning to advocate for yourself is an essential component of achieving not only academic success but fulfillment in life after school. Following are some of the guidelines to practice your advocacy skills.
• Accept your disability. Before you can advocate for yourself, you have to admit to yourself that you have a disability and that you may need some extra assistance in order to be successful.
• Understand your disability and the implications it may have in an academic setting.
• Know what you need to successfully cope with the academic challenges presented by your disability. Think about the accommodations, strategies and services that work best for you.
• Acknowledge when you are having difficulties and ask for assistance.
• An effective self-advocate is assertive, but not aggressive. Always be polite and respectful
when speaking with others. Start with the assumption that college personnel want to help meet your needs.
• Practise what you are going to say beforehand (you will be less likely to feel tongue-tied).
• Communicate clearly.
• Rephrase what you hear to be sure you really understand.
In college/university, you must talk with your professors about your disability-related need for
accommodations. Here are some sample suggestions for how to approach the discussions you may need to have with professors/instructors. Each college/university will likely have slightly different policies and procedures in place to assist students with disabilities, so these are just examples:
“My name is __________. This Memo to Faculty shows that I am registered with Disability Services and lists the accommodations that I will need. My disability causes the following difficulties in learning: __________.”
Extended Time on Tests and In-class Assignments
“I would like to discuss the accommodation of extended time. Because I will need to use extra time to complete my test/in-class assignment, I have arranged to write them in the Disability Services test area on ____________. Would you please return this Test Reservation form to Disability Services with my test?”
“Because I am easily distracted, I need to take tests/quizzes in a quiet environment. I have reserved space in Disability Services to write my test/assignment. Would you please return this Test Reservation form to Disability Services with my test?”
Access to Computers for All Written Tests and In-class Assignments
“My disability makes writing tests or in-class assignments by hand extremely difficult for
me. I will need to use a computer in order to produce an accurate, legible assignment. I
have arranged to write it in the Disability Services test area on ____________where I can have access to a computer.”
“My disability makes switching from listening to writing notes very difficult and I lose my
place in the lecture. I have arranged with Disability Services to have a note taker for your class so that I can concentrate on listening and have good notes to take away. The note taker will be joining me in class.”
“Because of my disability, I may misread questions on a test. I need to be able to hear the questions or directions read aloud. Text-to-speech software allows me to work independently at the computer and listen to the test instructions or questions through headphones.”
Students with disabilities who study at publicly funded post-secondary schools have certain rights intended to prevent discrimination based on disability. Familiarizing yourself with your rights can help you become an effective self-advocate.
Rights and Responsibilities
• Learn about your legal rights and the accommodations and services appropriate to your needs.
• Remember that you have the right to privacy and confidentiality with regard to your disability. You can disclose information to those who need to know and can assist you (e.g. Disability Services, professors) in an environment that is comfortable for you.
• In the unlikely event that a professor refuses your request for accommodations, politely thank him or her. Don’t confront them yourself. Contact your Disabilities Services Office for help in resolving disability- related accommodation concerns.
• Follow through on any arrangements you need to make to receive services and accommodations.