Supports and Services

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) facilitates a variety of programs and services to assist students living with disabilities so that they may participate fully in university life and maximize campus accessibility.
Students become eligible for our programs and services once they register with SAS and provide documentation to support their disabilities.

Academic Assistant or Attendant Program

The attendant program is designed to provide students with assistance on campus, especially in the classroom. Attendants will help ensure assignments, tests and deadlines are understood by the student. In most cases, Attendants will go to class with students, meet beforehand to go over needs for upcoming class, help decipher pertinent information from lectures and discussions and often meet afterwards to review course notes and upcoming deadlines. Attendants will also assist with interaction between professor and the student. For more information about this program, please contact Jamie Penner at Jamie.Penner1@umanitoba.ca.

American Sign Language Interpreters

The interpreter insures that the speaker's message is communicated to the student. Typically, Interpreters will stand at the front of the room, or wherever the presenter is, to relay the information via American Sign Language.

UM interpreters follow the Code of Ethics of the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC).

The code of ethics requires that interpreters will be professionally accountable, have professional competence, be non-discriminatory and have integrity in professional and business practices. Interpreters must be confidential, and impartial. They cannot give advice, add personal opinions, participate in class discussions, activities or attend classes when students are absent.

When working with Interpreters in the classroom:

  • Please speak at your normal rate.
  • Ensure that participants speak one at a time and loudly enough to be heard by everyone in the room.
  • Please speak directly to the student, not to the interpreter, (e.g., "I have marked your paper") as opposed to addressing the interpreter "tell her I have marked her paper."
  • Please allow time for the interpreted version of the discussion to be received and for the Deaf student to offer comments.
  • Although a person may respond to a loud noise, it does not mean they can understand loud speech.
Interpreters prepare for their role by reading any course materials that are available to ensure the best possible interpretation.

Assistive Technology

The SAS test/exam centre is equipped with software and equipment provided to assist students in their academic work including studying, test-taking, and assignment completion. JAWS, WindowEyes, Kurzweil, Dragon, ZoomText and TextHelp are available for use on the computers in the test/exam centre.

More information on assistive technology offered.

Students are welcome to use our Exam Centre offices and computers/programs for studying or coursework provided they are not in use for tests/exams. This is on a first-come first-serve basis, so it is best if rooms and computers are booked by dropping by the Test/Exam Centre at 155 University Centre.

The UM Libraries has space and equipment available for students to use, please see their website for further details.

If you would like further information, Student Accessibility Services has an Assistive Technologist on staff that can help with the installation and training of many adaptive programs. Please contact our Test/Exam Centre to set up an appointment or click here.

Alternate Format Materials

To request alternate format materials, please fill out the Alternate Format Material Request Form.

In order for Student Accessibility Services to acquire alternate format textbooks, the student is required to purchase a copy of the book and provide the SAS office with a copy of the receipt. If it is not possible for the office to find an alternate format already created, the book will need to be produced. Different format requests will require special procedures.

Available formats

PDF:
The PDF format will normally be a raw publisher file with print markers, etc. PDF is a good format for students who need alternate formats for magnification purposes. This format will also work with screen readers like Kurzweil or Read & Write Gold. However, slight errors can arise due to the print markers and the fact that the documents are saved as raw files. This textbook format is favoured by students due to the faster availability rate, rather than the slower E-text format. Two weeks is needed for order and delivery of the PDF format.

E-text:
The E-text format will arrive in a PDF format that has been cleaned up specifically for screen readers like Jaws or Window Eyes. The document will be proof-read to ensure everything is in order and works properly. However, this format can take between 2 and 3 weeks to be delivered, which can be detrimental for staying caught up with course material.

Note on PDF and E-text: The copy of the book provided will be sent away, the spine cut off to allow for alternate format production, and will be returned to you coil-bound. A copy of the course syllabus will also need to be provided so that in the case of delayed production, individual chapters can be produced and delivered as the term progresses.

Audio (MP3):
The Audio format is a descriptive reading of the book requested, that is saved as a MP3 file. This format usually takes quite some time to get in as most books need to be produced. The wait time is typically 2 months.

Note on audio – Two copies of the textbook will be required for production of this format type. One is required for the reader and the other for the sound engineer; both books will be returned back intact once the file is created. A copy of the course syllabus will be need to be provided so that in the case of delayed production, individual chapters can be produced and delivered as the term progresses.

Braille:
Student Accessibility Services does not have a specific timeline for Braille production, as formatting times can vary quite dramatically depending on time of year. For large works, textbooks are sent away to be produced, whereas smaller class handouts are produced on campus at the University of Manitoba. Typically, Braille format documents produced on campus are ready within 1 week. For more details please contact the Test/Exam Centre at 155 University Centre.

Note on braille - The copy of the book provided will be sent away, the spine cut off to allow for alternate format production, and will be returned to you coil-bound. A copy of the course syllabus will also need to be provided so that in the case of delayed production, individual chapters can be produced and delivered as the term progresses.

For more details on alternate format materials please contact Jeff Buhse at jeff.buhse@umanitoba.ca

To order alternate format materials, please use our online request form.

Classroom Equipment Program

For students with decreased mobility, classroom accessibility and equipment can be assessed according to each student's needs. Equipment such as tables, Obusformes, and podiums can be placed in classrooms as necessary, and any classroom accessibility issues can be discussed with an Accessibility Advisor at the beginning of each term.

Computer/Study Room Use

Students are welcome to use the SAS Exam Centre offices and computers/programs for studying or coursework provided they are not in use for tests or exams. This is on a first-come first-serve basis, so it is best if rooms and computers are booked ahead of time by contacting the SAS Exam Centre at 155 University Centre.

Note-Takers

  • SAS offers note-taking for students who are unable to take notes due to disability related reasons. Note-takers take detailed notes of lecture material and then provide the notes to the student after class.
  • Students who require note-takers are encouraged to contact their Accessibility Advisor before the beginning of the term in order to set up this service.
  • Note-takers are confidential, and impartial. They cannot give advice, add personal opinions, participate in the class discussions, activities or attend classes when students are absent.

Note-Sharing Program

SAS offers a note-sharing service for students who require assistance taking notes in class. Students who require notes must activate their account with Student Accessibility Services by emailing student_accessibility@umanitoba.ca or their Accessibility Advisor and inform us that you require a Volunteer Note-taker for the term.

Test/Exam Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are individualized and flexible, based on the nature of the disability and academic environment. Accommodations are arranged and discussed upon the initial meeting with your Accessibility Advisor.

Test and Exam Accommodations may include:

  • Alternate test formats
  • Computer
  • Calculator for exams (use and type of calculator use may also be specified by instructors, dependent upon the nature of the test/exam)
  • Document conversion
  • Exam administered in two parts
  • Private, quiet exam rooms
  • Assistive technologies
  • Time extensions, etc.

Transcriptionists

The transcriptionist will type what is heard aloud in the classroom. The student will watch the laptop screen in order to participate in the lecture. Transcriptionists and the student will sit at the reserved seating in front of the classroom.

Transcriptionists must be confidential, and impartial. They cannot give advice, add personal opinions, participate in class discussions, activities or attend classes when students are absent.

When working with transcriptionists in the classroom:

  • Please speak at your normal rate.
  • Ensure that participants speak one at a time and loudly enough to be heard by everyone in the room.
  • Please speak directly to the student, not to the transcriptionist, (e.g., "I have marked your paper" as opposed to addressing the transcriptionist, "tell her I have marked her paper.")
  • Although a person may respond to a loud noise, it does not mean they can understand loud speech.
  • Ensure that there is enough light available for the transcriptionist to see clearly.

Please provide the transcriptionist with course materials if not already submitted to the Student Accessibility office (e.g. course syllabus, handouts, film or video titles).

If you will be using videos for the course, please ensure the closed captioning is turned on. If closed captioning is not available, please send the titles to our office in advance so that we can ensure there is a transcribed copy for the student.

Tutoring Services

SAS staff will assist you in locating a tutor through the Academic Learning Centre and outside resources.