The first year of university may be challenging for most students, yet students with disabilities may encounter additional barriers. Disability Services for Students (DSS) provides accommodation and assistance for students with medical-based and learning disabilities. It is a good idea to learn what DSS constitutes a disability. Disabilities may be:
- Visible – such as mobility or vision issues
- Invisible – consider ADHD, concussions, or mental health issues
- Temporary – for example: a broken arm
- Chronic – such as migraines or epilepsy
Contact DSS if you are unsure whether your disability qualifies you for any of the help that is offered.
DSS has many programs in place (such as notetaking, exam accommodation, and assistive technology), as well as awards, grants and loans to help you lower barriers, so that you can focus on meeting your fellow students and completing your coursework. Students registered with DSS may access these programs.
If you wish to register with DSS or if you are experiencing academic difficulties and are concerned they may be due to a disability or have encountered a medical issue or injury, contact DDS. Near the beginning of the school year there could be a waiting list to get an appointment with DSS. Consider attending a 15-minute drop in advising session. Drop-in sessions are held:
- Wednesdays from 2:00pm – 4:30pm
- Thursdays from 9:30am – 12:30pm
Keep in mind that there is a fee for assessment; however, as a student, you can apply for a grant to help cover this cost. If you require a doctor’s note, consider visiting (or establishing) a family doctor at Student Health Services here on campus. Student Health Services offers multi-disciplinary services for students and their families with a convenient location on the 4th floor of Place Riel.
The University Library works closely with DSS to provide inclusive facilities and services. For in-person assistance with library-related tasks, ask at the reference desk of any branch library. Phone, email, and online chat are available through Ask Us. The Murray Library has an Assistive Technology Room, located on the ground floor of the Learning Commons (Room G19).
As well, there is assistance within the wider community of Saskatoon. The City of Saskatoon provides transportation options for students with reduced mobility. Depending on your disability, there are a number of community organizations that provide a continuum of services for all ages and stages of life.
- Saskatchewan Abilities Council offers a variety of daily living services.
- Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services provides vocational counselling, device sales, computerized notetaking, and interpretation in American Sign Language.
- Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan offers psychoeducational assessment, ADD Coaching, Cogmed, and Neurofeedback.
*Always check with individual organizations about cost of services. While we have linked to 3 organizations we recognize that there are many. If you know of an organization that has been helpful in your journey, please email us or visit us at Student Learning Services to share your experience.
Here's what one former student had to say about attending the U of S as a student with a disability:
"I told my family and friends [about my disability]. It's necessary to have a support system inside and outside of school...the idea is that my disability is a hurdle, and there is no reason why I can't clear it…DSS helped me to take advantage of different study habits, reading habits, as well as just generally becoming aware of what works and doesn't work for me…I'm actually more impressed with myself for having graduated with honours knowing that the odds generally weren't in my favour."