Hydrocephalus Canada

School Matters - Activity #2

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Going to College or University

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.

What You Need to Do to Prepare for College

Find Out More About Your Condition

  • I can name my condition(s) and describe how it affects my learning.
  • I know my learning strengths? These will help you in school (being organized).
  • I know the type of accommodations you need for learning (e.g. note taking assistance, accommodations during tests, and assistive technology)?
  • I can list the study skills I need that are specific to my disability.

Learn How to Advocate for Yourself

  • I can participate in any activities related to planning your education?
  • I can ask questions when you don’t understand something.
  • I can recognize and anticipate potential problems.
  • I can consider and practise strategies to effectively respond to challenges.
  • I actively seek out people who can assist me.
  • I can learn about laws that affect and support students with disabilities (e.g., the Ontario Human Rights Code).

Create a Personal Information File

  • I know where my disability documentation, educational records, social insurance card, birth certificate and other important documents are kept.

Investigate Possible Careers and Education Options

  • I can get a vocational rehabilitation assessment to help me identify interests and what I might be good at doing (aptitudes).
  • I can identify possible career interests and the education or training needed for them.
  • I can research which colleges offer the programs that match my career interests and   abilities.
  • I can attend college /university fairs.
  • I can look for people in my field of interest and ask questions.

Select the Colleges/Universities You Are Interested in Attending

  • I can visit the colleges/universities I am considering.
  • I can find more information about their services when I visit.
  • I can learn about the types of services and accommodations that may be available to me.
  • I can visit the colleges’ websites or contact the colleges/universities by phone if I cannot visit in person.
  • Based on my investigation, I can pick the colleges/universities I feel have the academic programs that match my interests and will provide the services I need to be successful.

Apply to the Colleges You Are Interested in Attending

  • I can visit the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) website (http://www.ontariocolleges.ca/ontcol/home.html ) and/or the Ontario Universities Application Centre website (http://www.ouac.on.ca/). Submit all applications and supporting documents by due dates. Plan ahead for the deadlines.
  • I can identify the required documentation in order for me to receive services and Accommodations in college.

Prepare for and Meet Program Admission Requirements

  • I can determine if I will be required to write an admissions or placement test, attend an
  • interview, give an audition, and/or have your portfolio reviewed. Check the program calendar or contact the Admissions office for specific requirements.
  • I can contact Disability Services to find out what accommodations are available for the admission processes.
  • I can provide Disability Services with a copy of my disability documentation.
  • I can arrange for accommodations for the admissions process with Disability Services, in Advance.

Apply for Financial Aid

  • Once you have been accepted to a college, I can apply for financial aid through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) if necessary.

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.

  • If you have spina bifida or hydrocephalus you may apply for the Dr. E. Bruce Hendrick scholarship program from SB&H. If you are a student from the Windsor/Essex area, you can apply for the Luciana Spring Mascarin Bursary and you can visit the SB&H website at www.sbhao.ca to download the applications.
  • For more information on scholarships and bursaries contact the college you want to attend, local and provincial service organizations, and search the local library and Internet. (The National Education Association of Disabled Students is an excellent resource -www.neads.ca/)

You’ve Been Accepted to College or University

  • I can investigate community agencies, attendant services, disability office within your school to access personal support services while you are in school. 
  • I can contact Disability Services to request services. I can bring my most recent Individualized Education Plan or other Disability documentation such as information about your condition to the office.
  • I can provide current documentation about my disability signed by a regulated health professional. The name of your condition must be included in your documentation. Ideally, it will also note functional limitations and academic accommodations you have received in the past.
  • I can arrange for other support not provided by the college (e.g., housing, attendant care,
  • equipment repair and transportation).
  • I can contact SB &H for additional resources as needed
  • Be aware that you will need to purchase your textbooks. Visit the campus bookstore or college website for specific prices. If you need your textbooks in alternate format like large print, contact Disability Services as soon as you have been accepted into a program.


• 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.

How Will I Talk with My Professors/Instructors?

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:

Presenting your Information to Faculty

“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?”

Quiet Environment

“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.”

Note Taker

“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.”

Specialized Software
“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.”

The Rights of Students with Disabilities

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.