Accessibility at the U of M
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is here to provide supports for students with disabilities and to foster success for your academic future. Reach out! If you need help and support as a student, we are here for you. Learn how to register or access accessibility resources below.
How to register with Student Accessibility Services
Arranging for academic accommodations and support takes time. We highly encourage you to contact our office before you apply and immediately after accepting offers of admission in order to make your transition into university life successful.
Step 1: Submit the Disability Assessment Form
Complete the Disability Assessment Form (PDF) with a registered health professional and then call, email or drop in to make an appointment with SAS staff. We keep all medical documentation confidential.
If you cannot fill out the form, you can instead provide the following medical documentation to SAS:
- A clinical diagnosis of your relevant medical condition(s)
- The name of the person who made the diagnosis
- The date of the testing
- Indicators of how your condition(s) affect you day to day
- A recommendation of accommodations you need, such as: extended time for tests/exams, note sharing, braille or large-print textbooks
- Duration of your condition(s) (temporary or permanent), and length of time you’ll need accommodations
If you or your registered health professional is unsure about the type of information required, please contact our office directly.
Step 2: Meet an accessibility advisor
Meet with your accessibility advisor so we can plan out your academic accommodations. During the meeting, we will discuss:
- The accommodations to be provided
- Why and when they will be provided
- Who is responsible for providing them
- How they will be provided
Step 3: Communicate with your instructors
Once we have your permission, Student Accessibility Services will email each of your instructors, detailing your academic accommodations.
You must contact the office each term for your accommodations to be in place.
At this time, you may want to set up a meeting with your instructors. Open communication can help set expectations, making your experience more successful.
Step 4: Follow up if you need more help
Contact SAS if the accommodations have not been implemented in a timely and effective manner. We will advocate on your behalf.
Assistance for accessibility at the U of M
SAS offers a broad spectrum of assistive technologies and programs. Read on to find out how we can support you.
As a student you have access to assistive technologies through SAS. Ensure you complete your Disability Assessment Form — our team will work with you to select the right solutions.
- Kurzweil 3000 is a text-to-speech program that reads documents to you while taking advantage of ocular tracking (highlighting each word as it reads, similar to karaoke). Kurzweil allows you to highlight your text in a variety of colours, which you can then extract into a new document. In addition, Kurzweil has a variety of writing tools, including mind-mapping and word web, which can easily be converted to an outline and draft. Available for PC and Mac.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking (PC) and Dragon Dictate (Mac) is a computer voice-control program, allowing you to complete all keyboard and mouse tasks with voice commands. Where Dragon really excels is in its speech recognition and speech-to-text typing. Dragon learns your voice, improving its functionality the more you use it, as it comes to recognize your unique speech patterns. Dragon even allows for custom vocabulary, perfect for academic writing.
- JAWS and NVDA are screen readers. Intended for users who are visually impaired, they allow you to navigate your computer without sight, using only the keyboard.
- Zoomtext Magnifier is a screen magnification program, generally used by those with low vision. It allows for easy magnification of the entire screen or a selection of the screen, and includes features such as screen masking, colour contrasts, and changing the way your mouse works.
Assistive Technology Lab
Student Accessibility Services runs the Assistive Technology (AT) lab at the U of M. The AT lab is available as a safe place to study for all students registered with SAS. We recommend emailing ahead to reserve a spot.
Location and opening times
335 UMSU University Centre at our Fort Garry Campus
Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
- Five private cubicle-style workstations, each with a desktop computer, fan, and lamp
- Two height-adjustable tables and two stationary tables
- Three PCs with Kurzweil 3000, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Zoomtext, JAWS, and NVDA installed
- Two 27” iMacs with Kurzweil 3000 and Dragon Dictate installed
- The Tutorial Room, a private room ideal for student training, group work, or working with a tutor
If you need help to take notes in class, you can access them via our Note-Sharing Program.
Volunteering with SAS is a great opportunity to get valuable volunteer experience, and students are now able to receive recognition on the Co-Curricular Record (CCR) for your time.
Sharing your notes to help your peers reach their academic goals can motivate your own attendance and help you be more attentive in your note taking.
Sign up as a notetaker via the Courses/Notes section of JUMP.
Peer Mentor Program
Our Peer Mentor Program pairs new SAS users with experienced SAS users from other faculties, for one-on-one advice about accessibility on campus and SAS programming.
Mentors will be available every day in 520 UMSU University Centre at the following times (excluding holidays):
- Tuesdays and Thursdays: 3:30 to 4:30 pm
- Wednesdays and Fridays: 1:30 to 3:30 pm
Students requiring exam accommodations can use the SAS Exam Centre. The Exam Centre has rooms equipped with ergonomic chairs, incandescent lamps and fans. An accessible washroom is located inside the centre. The following assistive technology is available:
- Kurzweil 3000
- Dragon Naturally Speaking
The SAS Exam Centre follows the UM Final Examinations Procedure. Please note, you are not permitted to bring personal items, such as backpacks, into the rooms. Storage is available. We advise against bringing valuables to exams, as we cannot be held responsible for lost or stolen items.
Due to space limitations at the SAS Exam Centre, students may write their exams at a different location arranged by SAS.
Alternate document formatting for accessibility is available upon request from SAS.
If you are a student and require convocation assistance, contact SAS to make arrangements. Ushers are also on hand to help during convocation for guests with accessibility requests.
Career search assistance
SAS and Career Services can provide assistance in your career search. As you begin your job search, ask yourself: as a future employee, and a person with a disability, what do you want and need in a workplace? This should help guide your job search.
Following are some common questions you may ask in the process.
Do I need to disclose my disability?
Ask yourself: will disclosing my disability help me get the job, and will it help me get the accommodations that I will need to perform the job?
You are not required to disclose your disability if:
- You can do the work without accommodation
- Your disability will not pose a danger at work to you or others
How and when to disclose your disability
There are several times within the hiring process when you can disclose your disability:
- When the interview is scheduled, if you require any accommodations for the interview itself
- During the interview
- When the job is offered
If and when you do decide to disclose your disability, there are some things employers may ask to know:
- The impact of your disability on the job regarding safety, efficiency and reliability
- Your self-management skills and how you would handle the duties of the job
Stay positive. The focus should always be on your skills and qualifications, not your disability.
How do I request workplace accommodations?
Employers have a duty to accommodate the disabilities of potential and current employees, to an extent as defined by the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. Example accommodations include:
- Scheduling accommodations, such as modified shifts or job sharing
- Environmental and technological accommodations, including modified lighting, assistive devices, software or automatic door openers
If you are requesting workplace accommodations, you should:
- Know your needs and be able to describe what type(s) of accommodations you would require on the job
- Be prepared to provide the sources and approximate costs of these accommodations, as well as potential sources of funding if applicable
What if I experience discrimination during my job search?
Disability is a protected characteristic under the Manitoba Human Rights Code. Discrimination based on disability, or any of the other protected characteristics under the Code, is prohibited. If you feel you have experienced discrimination by a potential or current employer, contact:
Accessibility maps and floorplans
More accessibility resources
Student Accessibility Services
Fort Garry campus
520 UMSU University Centre
75A Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
SAS Exam Centre
155 UMSU University Centre
75A Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
S211 Medical Services Building
750 Bannatyne Avenue
University of Manitoba (Bannatyne campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0W2 Canada