Here you can find more information and links to specific strategies and techniques they can employ to ensure a universally accessible classroom, and provide more in depth information about specific disabilities and accommodation types. Any questions can be directed to Student Accessibility Services at extension 28652.

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  1. Important Instructor Information: The Yellow File
  2. Accommodations for Various Disability Types
    • Blind or Visually Impaired
    • Deaf, Deafened, or Hard of Hearing
    • Physical Disability
    • Learning Disability
    • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    • Mental Health
  3. External Resources
  4. University Policies
  5. Legislation and Regulations

Important Instructor Information: The Yellow File

The Yellow File is meant to provide instructors and the teaching team with basic information regarding students with disabilities, SAS and the academic accommodation process.
Download – SAS Yellow File 2019-2020

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Accommodations for Various Disability Types

 Note: This is a basic list and may not apply to all individuals. For more specific information to accommodate specific students, please contact the SAS Program Coordinator listed on the student’s letter of accommodation.

Blind or Visually Impaired

Any person with ten percent or less, or ten degrees of field of vision, is considered to be legally blind.

  • Make available reading lists or course syllabus in advance.
  • Try to select textbook titles already available in print alternative format.
  • When using visual aids in class (e.g. chalkboard, overhead, PowerPoint), be descriptive or provide a print copy of material at the beginning of lecture.
  • Make available electronically a (text format) copy of lecture notes and transparencies/overheads/PowerPoint files.

Deaf, Deafened, or Hard of Hearing

Any person with a moderate to severe hearing impairment. Some people may wear a hearing aid, use an FM hearing system, or sign language support services. Many people rely on lip-reading to gather information. Sign language, captioning, FM use, or lip-reading generally achieves at best approximately 60-70% information accuracy.

  • Reserve a front-row seat in class for the student.
  • Arrange for a partner for lab work.
  • Speak clearly at a normal pace, face the class when speaking, avoid pacing or covering your mouth.
  • Become familiar with etiquette and protocol while a sign-language  interpreter is present – for more information here is a video on Working with Interpreters in the Classroom (captioned).
  • Allow consideration for spelling and grammar when grading work, as English may be a second language.
  • When requested, use a portable sound transmission device (e.g. FM system).

Physical Disability

Any type of condition that limits movement, gross or fine motor function (e.g. paraplegia, quadriplegia, CP, MD, MS, amputation, chronic back injury, tendonitis, carpal tunnel).

  • Arrange for reserved seating and consider accessibility in class.
  • Arrange for a partner for lab work.
  • Allow for alternative arrangement to in-class tests/assignments.
  • Make lecture material available electronically or by handout.

Learning Disability

Learning disabilities can affect the way in which a person takes in, processes, recalls, understands, and expresses information.

  • Make reading lists or course materials available in advance.
  • Allow students to submit a rough draft or outline of assignments in order to ensure students fully understand assignment expectation and requirements.
  • Make lecture material available electronically (text format), or by handout.
  • Ensure instructions and expectations are clear and concise.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

People who have ADD/ADHD often present with inattentiveness, impulsivity, limited concentration, limited recall, and in some instances hyperactivity. Symptoms are sometimes closely aligned with those of anxiety. See suggested Learning Disability Accommodations above.

Mental Health

Common mental health disabilities accommodated on campus include students with anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, OCD, and eating disorders. People with invisible disabilities of this type are often reluctant to identify for fear of stereotyping.

  • Flexible deadlines (to be discussed with students at the beginning of term).
  • Alternative or supplementary assignments (e.g. a taped interview, oral presentations, take-home work).
  • Consideration for missed work or participation marks due to occasional absences from class related to disability.
  • Accommodation for laboratory work. The assistance of a lab partner may be necessary.

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External Resources

McMaster University Accessibility Website

More information on McMaster University’s implementation of the AODA.

Canadian Association of Disability Service Providers in Post-Secondary Education (CADSPPE)

CADSPPE is an association of university and college disability services in Canada promoting accessible and inclusive post-secondary learning environments for students with disabilities.

Inter-University Disability Issues Association of Ontario

The IDIA is an association of university disability services in Ontario. It seeks to support members in providing innovative services for students with disabilities in a manner that respects individual student needs and academic integrity.

Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

AHEAD is an association of American university and college disability services and service providers.

COU’s Accessibility Resources Website

Resources for every level of the university.

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University Policies

The McMaster Senate Code of Student Rights and Responsibilites

The McMaster Senate Policy on Academic Accommodation

The McMaster Senate Policy on Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

The McMaster Senate Policy on Discrimination and Harassment: Prevention and Response

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Legislation and Regulations

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005)

Province of Ontario Integrated Accessibility Regulation

Ontario Human Rights Code (1981)

Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2001)

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