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Bridging Gaps: Accessibility Supports at Western

Written by: Sima Kootar, Policy Research Analyst

As Western students, we all have the right to have our education delivered to us in an equitable and accessible way. As a student registered with Accessible Education, I am very familiar with the necessity of accessible education and the way it levels the playing field for students with disabilities. Through Accessible Education (AE) at Western, students with disabilities or any form of accessibility needs are given access to a multitude of resources to ensure they are supported in their education. However, finding and accessing these supports can be quite difficult. That is why we have compiled them into a comprehensive, non-exhaustive list!

The following support services are reserved for students registered with Accessible Education. Students who have disabilities of any kind (long term or short term) are encouraged to reach out to Accessible Education at to begin the registration process. From my own experience, registration was a smooth and seamless process as the staff at AE are very kind and supportive!

1. Learning Accommodations

Students registered with AE are able to request the following learning accommodations:

  • Alternative textbooks (Braille, electronic)

  • Permission to record the audio of a lecture/tutorial

  • Use of ASL interpreters during a lecture/tutorial

  • Access to powerpoint slides and notes that were provided during the lecture

  • A personal assistant during labs

2. Accessible Study Spaces

  • Students are able to book accessible study rooms at Weldon Library for a maximum of 3 hours on a first come, first served basis

  • Students also have access to the Accessible Learning Lab at Weldon Library which is located on the first floor and contains specialized equipment and technology to support users with disabilities. I personally use this room all the time and it is one of my ALL TIME favourite study spots!

3. Accommodated Exams

Students are able to register to write their exams with accommodations. The student would work with their AE counsellor to determine what specific supports would accommodate them best. Some of these accommodations include

  • Extra time (eg. 20 minutes of extra time per 1 hour of the exam length)

  • Quiet writing locations 

  • Use of noise-cancellation headphones 

  • Use of assistive technology such as specialized software 

  • Permission to eat, take medication, and take short breaks

4. Interpretation and Note-Taking

Students are able to request an interpreter or volunteer note taker for their lectures/tutorials/labs

5. Learning Strategy Counselling

Students are able to meet with an AE learning strategist weekly to discuss academic challenges and formulate personal learning strategies based on their unique situation. The Accessible Learning Lab also hosts drop-in hours with learning strategists during exam periods

6. Accessible Campus Transportation

AE has partnered with Voyageur Transportation to create Western’s Accessible Transportation Service (WATS). WATS is a service that will provide transportation to students within campus (eg. travelling between classes). For individuals who drive to campus, accessible parking permits are available through purchase with Western Parking Services. 

7. Western Maps & Floor Plans

In order to determine all accessible routes throughout campus and whether certain building entrances are accessible or not, students can use the Western Maps & Floor Plans.

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