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Centre for Students with Disabilities

Serving students who experience learning, ADHD, autism spectrum, mental health, medical, deaf/hard of hearing, mobility/functional and visual disabilities.

Faculty and students talking at the launch of the Inclusive Design Research Institute at OCAD University. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Services and programs

The CSD provides services to students with documented disabilities and provides bridging accommodations to those who need support in obtaining documentation or diagnosis. The following is a broad list of some of the disabilities that our students face:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Medical
  • Psychiatric/mental health
  • Mobility/functional
  • Deaf/hard of hearing
  • Blind/low vision
  • Autism spectrum

All disabilities must be formally documented by registered psychologists or medical doctors (family physician, psychiatrists, neurologist, ophthalmologist, etc.). The CSD helps students obtain formal disability documentation or update dated documentation. All disability documentation should prescribe specific formal learning accommodations for each individual student.

Register early

Students must register each term with the CSD to receive accommodations and related support. It is important to register early in the semester to ensure the accommodations can be in place by the start of the semester.

Make an appointment

Contact the Assistant at 416-977-6000 ext 339 or to make an intake appointment with the Disability Counsellor at the CSD. During the intake appointment we will discuss what we do and how we can support you based on your disability documentation.

Documentation required

All students registered with the CSD must provide documentation of their disability(ies). This may include:

  • Audiology report
  • Vision test
  • Letter from psychiatrist (including discharge disposition summaries if available)
  • Psychometric/psychoeducational/psychovocational testing results (either private or from the school board)
  • Speech language pathologist report
  • Counsellor/social worker/occupational therapy reports
  • Letter from family doctor or medical specialist (internist, oncologist, neurologist, orthopedic surgeon, ophthalmologist, etc.)

If you already have documentation, please bring it to your first appointment. If you don’t, we can assist you in obtaining the requisite documentation and provide you with interim Bridging Accommodations. Please note that Ministry of Colleges, Training and University guidelines state that we cannot accept documentation from alternative health professionals including naturopaths, massage therapists or chiropractors.

Developing accommodations

CSD staff will work with you to develop appropriate accommodations and a goal-oriented plan for the academic year. Some accommodations provided by OCAD U include:

  • note takers
  • allotting of extra exam time
  • dedicated exam/test space at CSD
  • sign language interpreters (ASL)
  • preferential reserved seats
  • recording of classes (affidavit available upon request)
  • access to presented material (overheads, PowerPoint, slides, etc.)
  • assistive technologies
  • learning strategists.

We may also be able to provide other academic accommodations as described and verified with documentation.

All students registered with the CSD have the option of having professors/faculty notified of their need for accommodation via an Accommodation Letter.  Students have the option of whether or not to include specific diagnostic information in this letter but it will include the kind of supports the student will need in order to be successful at OCAD U. We encourage students to discuss their accommodation needs with professors/faculty as they relate to each course; however, students may chose not to disclose the nature of their disability for a variety of reasons. But, by virtue of being registered with the CSD, the student has provided the CSD with medical documentation validating the accommodations listed in the letter and this is sufficient for professors/faculty.

Each subsequent semester, if you would like the CSD to notify your professors by sending out a copy of your Accommodation Letter, please fill out the Academic Accommodation Letter Request Form. If there are any changes that need to be made due to a change in your disability status, please make an appointment to come in and see your primary advisor at the CSD. Appointments can be booked by contacting the Assistant at 416-977-6000, Ext. 339 or

CSD Guidebook (PDF)

CSD Guidebook Text Only (PDF)