Student Orientation to Accessibility Resources | St. Clair College

Welcome to SOAR - A Student Orientation to Accessibility Resources

NOTE: If you do not have a disability and have landed on our webpage by mistake, but you would like to meet with a counsellor for academic or career counselling, please contact us.

Did you have an IEP in high school?
Are you a mature student with a disability?

Our SOAR program is here to help you succeed!

Welcome to SOAR!

You may be a student who has been diagnosed with a disability or are in the process of getting a diagnosis. SOAR is an online orientation loaded with information to assist students with disabilities to transition from their high school experience to success at St. Clair College.

Our goal is to provide you with resources and links that are easy to navigate. As you move through the material presented here, you will find information on the following:

  • Accessibility
  • Accommodation plans
  • High school vs college – What are the differences?
  • Six Steps to Readiness
  • OSAP
  • Student Services
  • Helpful links to other College services

Accessibility Resources

Let’s get started. Accessibility services are provided to students who have disabilities. Disabilities can be permanent or temporary and are related to physical, psychological/mental health or learning disabilities that have been diagnosed.

Accessible services include:

  • Accommodation planning
  • Counselling support
  • Services of a learning strategist
  • Services of an assistive technologist
  • Accommodated testing services
  • Deaf and interpreting services

What is an Academic Accommodation Plan?

If you are a student with a disability, you may benefit from meeting with an accessibility counsellor to develop your personal accommodation plan. The accommodation plan will give you the opportunity to access services designed to help you succeed.

In High school, there are Individual Educational Plans (IEP’s). In College, there are accommodation plans.

Accommodations provide students with disabilities the opportunity to overcome learning barriers that may exist as a result of a disability.

Academic accommodation plans are developed by a counsellor in conjunction with the student and outline reasonable and appropriate learning accommodations for the student. Accommodation plans are prepared in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The student is responsible to meet with a counsellor to discuss their functional limitations and accommodation needs. Students are not required under the Ontario Human Rights Code to disclose their disability diagnosis (with the exception of learning disabilities) to receive accessibility supports, service and/or accommodations. The student provides supporting documentation that outlines their functional limitations or a psycho-educational assessment that identifies a learning disability.

Students are encouraged to meet with a counsellor prior to the start of each semester to provide information if their accommodation plan needs to be updated.

High School Versus College – What are the Differences?

In High School In College

To receive support, you must be identified as a student with a disability

School resources help with this identification

You must self-identify as a student needing accessibility services

Supporting documentation is required to identify a diagnosed disability or a verified functional limitation

A formal psychoeducational or psychological assessment is required to verify learning disabilities

An IEP explains your plan to teachers

Your IEP is part of your school record

Teachers are automatically informed of your diagnosis

Accommodation plans are shared with your instructors with your consent

Faculty/instructors are not entitled to know what your diagnosis is (no one is informed unless you choose to tell them)

Modifications to material are allowed

Accommodations may be given

Program requirements may NOT be modified

Accommodations may be given

Your resource teacher contacts you and your parents to arrange meetings and discuss progress

You are responsible for contacting the Student Services office to speak to a counsellor about your disability

You need to make sure your plan is updated and renewed each semester

Your teachers and parents decide what kinds of accommodations and modifications you will receive

You may have some input

You and your counsellor decide what accommodations are appropriate

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act applies, and you decide if you want anyone else involved

Communication with parents cannot occur without your consent

Get Ready in Six Steps!

Now that you understand what an accommodation plan is and how it can work for you, let’s look at how you can Get Ready in Six Steps.

Step 1: Collect Documentation

Students must self-identify with Student Services and submit documentation to support a request for an accommodation plan. The College will provide supports and services to all students with disabilities, both temporary and permanent, with valid supporting documentation. Interim accommodation requests will be received in good faith and can be provided pending receipt of medical documentation.

Students are required to provide the College with current documentation which is:

  • provided by a regulated health professional - qualified in the appropriate specialty area who has treated the student; thorough enough to support the accommodations being considered or requested
  • the functional limitations assessment form (medical form) or psycho-educational assessment (learning disabilities) are two examples of supporting documentation that are accepted to support accommodation plans

Learning Disability: A recent psychological assessment/psychoeducational or neuropsychological assessment (within the last 5 years) which must include a statement of diagnosis by a registered psychologist or psychological associate who is registered by the College of Psychologists. An LD diagnosis is one that reveals average intellectual functioning with a specific processing deficit.

ADHD: A functional limitations form completed by a qualified professional or a psycho-educational/psychological assessment by a registered psychologist or psychological associate who is registered by the College of Psychologists.

Physical: A functional limitations form completed by a medical professional who is registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Physical disabilities include deaf/hard of hearing, blind/low vision, medical conditions and physical Injuries.

Psychological: A functional limitations form completed by a qualified professional accredited by the College of Physicians and Surgeons or a psychological assessment from a registered psychologist or psychological associate who is registered by the College of Psychologists.

Prior to meeting with a St. Clair College counsellor, here are some steps you can be working on:

  • Book an appointment with your regulated health professional (i.e. doctor) and have St. Clair College’s functional limitations form completed.
  • Provide a copy of your psycho-educational assessment current within the last 5 years to confirm a learning disability.
  • Outdated assessment? If possible, arrange for an updated psycho-educational assessment to be completed in preparation for attending college.
  • No assessment? Provide a copy of your IEP. Accommodations can be provided in good faith on a temporary basis. (Your counsellor can discuss options for you to arrange having the assessment updated).

Step 2: Book an Appointment with a Counsellor

In light of COVID 19 restrictions, we are unable to make in-person appointments. This is the right time, however, to begin the accommodation plan process. We are reaching out via this webpage to provide you with the information you need, and to set up a virtual appointment for you. Please click the link below to request an accessibility services appointment.

Request for Accessibility Services Form

Step 3: Be Prepared to Discuss Your Learning Needs

Your personal Academic Accommodation Plan is created by a College counsellor, in consultation with the student and upon review of appropriate documentation as outlined above. The plan outlines reasonable and appropriate accommodations and supports that may assist in overcoming disability-related barriers. These may include in-class, instructional, testing, and out-of-class accommodations to be provided by faculty and staff.

When preparing for the counselling appointment, you may want to:

  • Have an idea about what your accessibility needs are and how we can support you
  • Review your IEP, functional limitations form or assessment
  • Think of potential challenges that you may experience
  • Think of potential solutions to overcome barriers
  • Think of your technology needs
  • Think of services that you may benefit from

Step 4: Get familiar with College Processes

Completed accommodation plans are emailed each semester to the student’s St. Clair College email account and to their professors/instructors with student signed consent. Accommodation plans are dated and valid for a specific academic period.

If adjustments to the plan or clarification regarding any accommodation are required, the student must arrange a meeting with the counsellor to discuss the plan and its implementation.

You may also want to review the College website by checking out the following:

Step 5: Be prepared to ask for help/self-advocate

Self-advocacy is the ability to speak up for yourself, and practicing self-advocacy is an important key to success. Part of being a self- advocate is to learn about campus supports and services and how to access them. All College staff are here to support your academic success and are willing to help and guide you.

Students will benefit by asking for help when they need it, and by expressing thoughts and feelings.

  • In College, you are responsible for self-identifying as a student with a Disability and arranging to meet with a Counsellor to create your accommodation plan
  • If your needs are not being met, you need to appropriately communicate your concerns
  • You can communicate with your instructor/professor directly or you can meet with a counsellor to seek support

Step 6: Attend your Orientation

Program orientation generally occurs the week before classes begin. Your program orientation is very important, and we encourage all students to participate.

During orientation, students have the opportunity to meet their program chairperson, program coordinator, and some of their faculty, and to receive important program and course information. Students also receive valuable information from the student government bodies; Student Representative Council (SRC, Windsor), and Thames Students Incorporated (TSI, Chatham).

Virtual Orientation

OSAP - Ontario Student Assistance Program

For those students who are applying for OSAP, here is some helpful information as it relates to students who have disabilities.

What is OSAP?

  • The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), which is offered by the Government of Ontario, provides financial assistance to students to help them attend college or university
  • OSAP is based on financial need, not grades
  • With one application, students will be considered for loans and non-repayable grants


To be eligible, students must meet all four criteria:

  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person
  • An Ontario resident
  • Currently attending or entering an OSAP-approved program and school
  • Currently enrolled in or entering a certificate, degree or diploma program

The Bursary for Students with Disabilities

  • The BSWD is designed to offset student’s education-related costs associated with their disability
  • Students meet with a Student Services accessibility counsellor to determine needs (ie. disability-related equipment and/or services)
  • Students must apply for OSAP and self-identify as having a permanent disability on the application, and provide documentation to verify a disability
  • Students must be OSAP eligible (ie. demonstrate financial need according to their assessment to qualify for BSWD)

Permanent Disability Documentation

  • Appropriate documentation must be submitted. The only acceptable document to verify a disability is the disability verification form
  • This form can be printed off directly from your OSAP account, or obtained at the financial aid office at your respective campus
  • An IEP by itself is not acceptable documentation

Helpful Links

Student Services

In addition to counselling for students with disabilities and accommodation plans, we are available to provide additional help for accessibility and academic support within Student Services. We hope you will reach out for help whenever you need it.
Within the Student Services department, accessibility supports are provided by:

  • Assistive Technologists
  • Counsellors
  • Deaf and Interpretive Services
  • Learning Strategists
  • Testing Services
  • Tutoring Services

Assistive Technologists

Assistive technologists are available to provide training and support on specialized software and devices available at St. Clair College to help you succeed. Examples include text-to-speech and speech-to-text software, digital recorders, FM systems, low vision devices, etc. Technologists work with accessibility counsellors and learning strategists to research assistive devices and new technologies. AT’s can also provide textbooks in an alternate format. Visit our Learning Strategist & Assistive Technology page to make an appointment or to get more information.


In addition to accessibility counselling, our counsellors are qualified to provide assistance with personal, career and academic counselling.

Counsellors - Accessibility:

  • Create accommodation plans with students with disabilities
  • Assist students in accessing supports and accommodations related to accessibility needs
  • Assist in resolution of accessibility issues

Counsellors - Personal:

  • Provide short term support to address stress and a student’s ability to cope with their program
  • Assist students to develop coping strategies, problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Refer to community agencies or local support services to address ongoing therapy needs related to mental health (i.e. depression/anxiety)

Counsellors – Indigenous:

The Indigenous Counsellor is available to provide culturally appropriate counselling support services for First Nations, Métis & Inuit students at the Windsor (South and St. Clair Centre for the Arts) and Chatham campuses.

For more information on counselling including career and academic counselling, please check our web pages:

Deaf and Interpreting Services

Deaf and Interpreting Services is dedicated to providing deaf and hard of hearing students with an optimal learning environment. Students schedule an accommodation appointment with an accessibility counsellor and support the request for accommodation with appropriate documentation. Following their appointment with a counsellor, students meet with the ASL/English interpreter officer to discuss and create an interpreting service plan. The ASL officer will:

  • Arrange for and provide interpreting services
  • Support communication needs in class settings and academic-related activities on campus
  • Promote college-wide communication access for students who are deaf or hard of hearing

For more information visit

Learning Strategist

Learning strategists focus on the individual learning needs of each student and work with the student to develop appropriate strategies for academic success.

The LS helps with time management and organization, test-taking and study strategies, memory techniques, using a textbook effectively, note-taking strategies, etc.

Visit our Learning Strategist & Assistive Technology page to request an appointment or to get more information.

Testing Services

Accommodations are provided to students who require them for tests and exams. Testing accommodations may include:

  • Extra time to complete tests (ie time-and-a-half or double the time allowed)
  • Use of assistive technology (text-to-speech and speech-to-text software)
  • Online courses – testing is completed online with accommodations as outlined on an accommodation plan
  • On-campus courses – written in our testing labs and proctored by Student Services staff

Tutoring Services

Tutoring is FREE to enrolled students who need assistance to improve academic performance. A predominately peer program, tutoring is provided by students in their second or third year, or those with prior post-secondary degrees or diplomas.

Retention coordinators are full-time faculty who are available within the tutoring department to provide additional writing and math support.

COVID-19 has moved our tutoring appointments online for the time being. One-on-one, group tutoring, and writing support is available through Microsoft Teams and Video Chat. Apply on-line via SIS for an appointment.

Click for more information on Tutoring Services


Developed in part by our student retention team, THRIVES is loaded with information and resources. THRIVES will help in your transition to this new education environment by highlighting St. Clair's culture and expectations of students. You can explore study skills and strategies useful for learning at the college level. Available through Blackboard.

Check it out for a chance to win a $500 bursary!

Click for more information on THRIVES

Summary Pages


Book an appointment to see a Counsellor
Bring documentation
Apply for OSAP
Attend College Orientation
Complete THRIVES modules
Be a Self-Advocate
Consider purchasing E-books
Review your program/courses on-line
Review the Student Services webpage

More SOAR to Come

Check our webpage and join us in August for more Student Orientation to Accessibility Resources!

Reach out, Speak up, Take the Initiative. Make your College Experience Successful!

Additional On-Campus Services Available

The goal of SOAR is to provide you with all the resources that we believe will help you become a successful student right from the start!

Along with the accessible services provided within Student Services, there are many other on-campus services available to you. Here are some quick links to help you navigate them all:

Campus Bookstores - Textbooks, course materials, school supplies, Saints clothing, knapsacks, gifts and snacks are all available at our campus stores. Required texts are available to purchase new or, if you get there early enough, used books at greatly reduced prices. Some texts are available in electronic format (e-books). If you're looking to save cash you can also rent new book(s) for a semester or get price matching when you find books on an online retail store. Check out the BuyBack Program at the end of the semester.

Financial Aid - Did you apply for Financial Aid?. Visit the webpage for important information about the OSAP application process, as well as how and when to apply for bursaries and scholarships.

Health Centre - All St. Clair College students are welcome to use the Health Centres for their primary or emergent health care needs. We’ve made health care services on campus convenient and easy to access. Medical professionals are here to provide first aid and primary health care services to all staff and students. You will be treated in a caring, supportive and non-judgmental manner in a private setting where confidentiality is always respected. In addition to first aid and primary health care, we offer a variety of services including health screening, weight reduction, lowering cholesterol, smoking cessation, back care, mental health counselling, and more!

Important Dates - St. Clair College posts important academic dates on our website. This is an important link to be aware of deadlines when adding/dropping courses, holidays and exam weeks.

IT Services - New students will receive information via their home email (as provided when you applied to St. Clair) to set up their mySt.Clair account. Need assistance? Please visit to log any account issues. Please enter all other issues via the mySt.Clair portal and clicking on the IT Helpdesk tile.

Library Resource Centre - Our library supports the teaching and learning process with information, media, and technology resources.

Lockers - Need a locker to store all your books between classes? Go online now to Reserve a locker through the College SIS portal. No more long line-ups!

Parking - Staff and students parking a vehicle on St. Clair College property must purchase a parking permit from the Parking Department. Hourly/daily use permits are also available from pay stations, located in lettered lots on College property. Visit the webpage for rates and more information.

Residence - Living on campus is a great part of college life. You meet new friends, learn new things and best of all you're close to everything on campus. St. Clair College now has residences in both Windsor and Chatham! For further information about either one of the residences please call 519-966-1601.

St. Clair OneCard - OneCard is essential to campus life at St. Clair College. Currently, your OneCard is St. Clair College's official identification card, library card and print card. Your OneCard will be required for writing an officially scheduled exam, checking out books at the library facilities, and printing your documents at print stations. The card is free if you are a full-time student. You can upload your own photo.

St. Clair College Student HUB - This space is for students at St. Clair College to access help with logging in to their Self-Service Account, joining a Blackboard class or to get information about services that will help make the best of your college experience! Links to important college procedures can also be found here.

Student Life
Student Representative Council (Windsor) and Thames Students Incorporated (Chatham) are incorporated student governments. They provide a variety of social and support services to students - and represent student interests both inside and outside the college.

The Student Athletic Association encourages St. Clair students to make constructive use of leisure time, to acquire new physical skills, and enhance fitness. St. Clair is proud of its successful varsity sports programs. Check us out at

Student Success Officer - Assists students who are returning to college and are involved with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (receiving WSIB funding). Also assists with problem-solving and directs students to seek support within appropriate College departments.

Still have a question? Perhaps our list of FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

We are here to help.

Contact Student Services at:

Chatham Campus:
519-354-9100, ext 3306

Windsor Campuses:

519-972-2727, ext 4226

St. Clair Centre for the Arts (SCCA, Downtown)
519-972-2727, ext. 4348