Academic Accommodations for Students with Mental Health Disabilities

Posted on October 28th, 2015

28 October 2015 | Presented by the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health and Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses.

The webinar “Academic Accommodations for Postsecondary Students with Mental Health Disabilities: Recommendations from an Ontario-wide Research Study" presented findings and recommendations from a three-year research project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities that was jointly undertaken by researchers at Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College. The project focused on academic accommodations in the postsecondary sector for students with mental health problems.

View the SlidesWatch the Webinar



Overview of Webinar

The webinar highlighted the project’s three key deliverables:

  1. Recommendations regarding accommodations: these fourteen recommendations deal with documentation standards and guidelines, functional limitations as the basis for accommodation, temporary accommodations, retroactive accommodations, the roles of the Office for Students with Disabilities, etc. The Functional Limitations Assessment Form developed as part of the project will also be discussed
  2. Information and training for students, faculty, access/disability advisors, student leaders and administrators, on how best to accommodate post-secondary students with mental health disabilities
  3. An information and resource handbook for students with mental health disabilities

Panel Discussion

In addition, there was an rich panel discussion with representatives from Ontario and BC to reflect on the implications of the new recommendations for practice and students. 

Panelists included:

  • Cheryl Sokol, Disability Services Coordinator from the BC Institute for Technology and Member of the BC Articulation Committee on Disability Services
  • Jenna Omassi, VP Academic & University Affairs from the AMS Student Society of University of British Columbia - Vancouver
  • Nora Simpson, Associate Director of Accessible Learning Services at Humber College and the Professional Development Representative for the College Committee on Disability Issues (CCDI)
  • Somei Tam, Disability Advisor at Carleton University and Chair of the Inter-University Disability Issues Association (IDIA)

Key Learnings

  • Learn about the findings from a province-wide study on the challenges of accommodating students with mental health problems and their implications for postsecondary institutions
  • Learn about the importance (from both the professional practice and human rights perspectives) of focusing on functional limitations rather than on diagnoses in developing accommodations
  • Review recommendations regarding challenging accommodation requests (temporary accommodations, retroactive accommodations, fieldwork) and how to handle these
  • Review information and training resources for students and faculty

Continue the Conversation 

You are invited to join the online group on academic accommodations to connect and share with other folks who are interested in this focus area and working towards implementing the recommendations. Once you have logged into the Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses online community platform (sign up here), the group can be found at this direct link

Related Resources

Project Overview and Deliverables

New  14 Recommendations Report: Recommendations for Documentation Standards and Guidelines for Post-Secondary Students with Mental Health Disabilities

New  Video Series on Accommodating Post-Secondary Students with Mental Health Disabilities – 8 Videos for Faculty

New  Student Guide: A Guide to Academic Accommodations and Managing your Mental Health while on Campus

Presenter Bio

Michael Condra Ph.D., Recently Retired Director, Health, Counselling and Disability Services, Queen’s University

Dr. Condra is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry and recently retired as Director of the department of Health, Counselling and Disability Services at Queen’s University. Dr. Condra has taught in the undergraduate and graduate programmes in the Department of Psychology at Queen’s and in the faculties of Education and Law. He consults with the university’s senior administration on issues involving mental health and lethality and has extensive experience in the provision of education and training on the topics of mental health, stigma-reduction, crisis-intervention and suicide-risk assessment. He is also the Principal Investigator for two projects on mental health funded under the provincial Mental Health Innovation Fund.


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