In order to register with the CAL, a Disability Access Advisor must first determine your eligibility to receive accommodations and services. All students must submit the Application for Services Form AND the appropriate Verification Form, including any supporting documentation, that is specific to your disability. See the Specific Documentation Requirements for complete documentation guidelines. Verification forms may be downloaded or picked up at the CAL office. All forms may be submitted via mail or fax, or can be dropped off in person at the CAL office (1250 Maggie Benston Centre).
Need definitions? There are descriptions of each type of disability under the Specific Documentation Requirements below. For a complete definition of 'disability' as it is recognized at SFU, as well as the meaning of 'reasonable academic accommodation,' please see our Definitions.
Why Documentation is Necessary
You are required to provide documentation of your disability so that your Disability Access Advisor may fully address your current diagnosis and the specific functional limitations it causes you, as well as assessing any test data that substantiates the affect of your disability on academic requirements. Such protocols are governed by the SFU Access Policy for Students with Disabilities and are in place to ensure that each student’s request for accommodation is treated equally. The CAL has a responsibility to ensure that all disability claims are properly documented and this is the only way your eligibility for academic accommodation can be confirmed.
General Documentation Requirements
All documentation submitted to the CAL must be authoritative, comprehensive and current.
Authoritative: To be authoritative, documentation must be provided from a regulated healthcare professional acknowledged as qualified to diagnose your disability. The specific type of professional (i.e., generalist or specialist) depends on the type of your disability. For example, a primary physician may be able to diagnose a hearing deficit, but for the purpose of establishing entitlement and determining services, SFU would require a comprehensive report from a registered audiologist. SFU follows the recommendations of the BC Ministry of Advanced Education’s Disability Services Articulation Committee in establishing documentation requirements for specific disabilities.
Comprehensive: To be comprehensive, documentation must include a description of the symptoms that formed the basis of the diagnosis including their severity AND the functional impact of the impairment on your ability to meet the demands of a university environment. The disability must substantially limit your functioning in order to necessitate reasonable academic accommodation. For example, a brief letter stating that a student has a particular disability and needs accommodations is very unlikely to meet SFU’s documentation requirements. Please note that additional information may be required depending on your type of disability, such as a description of current treatments, the expected prognosis or relevant test results.
Current: To be current, the documentation must describe the symptoms and levels of impairment you presently experience. Depending on your type of disability, timeliness will be particularly critical due to the possible changing nature of the condition. For most chronic conditions, the CAL requires that documentation must be produced within the last three years. For disabilities whose impact is more variable, documentation may be required on a more frequent basis.
Students are responsible for covering any expenses related to obtaining the required documentation, but CAL staff will gladly make referrals and suggestions for local testing and evaluations.
Note: Students who suspect they will require the services of an external or government agency should contact a CAL Disability Access Advisor prior to arranging for documentation, as external documentation needs may be different from those required in the guidelines by Simon Fraser University and the CAL.