Accessibility for students
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.
We are on campus! Accessibility Coordinators and the Assistive Technologist are available for in-person, phone, email, or online appointments.
Please contact an Accessibility Coordinator directly, the general office by phone 204-474-7423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your appointment. The 520 University Centre office is available for in-person, phone and email inquiries Monday-Friday between 8:30am-4:30pm.
Get the latest information on service disruptions.
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.
Students requiring exam accommodations can use the SAS Exam Centre. The Exam Centre has rooms equipped with assistive technology, ergonomic seating, incandescent lighting and other assistive devices. An accessible washroom is located inside the Centre.
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 the storage is in an open area.
Due to space limitations at the SAS Exam Centre, students may write their exams at a different location arranged by SAS.
Tests need to be booked at least two weeks in advance.
Students - If you need help to take notes in class, you can access them via our notetaking program. Please check out our tutorial for how to request a volunteer notetaker.
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. For instructions on signing up, please check out this link.
Sign up as a notetaker online here
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.
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 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- 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
Peer Mentor Program
Our Peer Mentor Program pairs new SAS users with experienced SAS users from other faculties, for one-on-one advice about SAS programming and accessibility on campus.
Peer mentors are now in the UMSU Accessibility Centre, 113 Helen Glass.
Winter term hours are:
Monday 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday 1 to 3 p.m.
Wednesday 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.
Thursday 1 to 4 p.m.
Friday 1 to 2 p.m.
Instructors – You can view student accommodations through the SAS scheduler by logging in here
Here are instructions for adding extended time to UMLearn tests
- Click Assessments
- Select Quizzes (or Tests, you may have your own title)
- Click on the test title name
- Select the “restrictions” tab
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see a button to select “Add users to special access”
- Scroll to the bottom and you can search for the students name (We would advise setting up one student at a time)
- Click in the box beside the students name (this selects the student)
- Scroll back up and you can set the amount of time the student has (select “Enforced time limit” and there will be a box with time limit (in minutes) and you manually can enter this in.
- To finalize – click on the blue button at the bottom of the screen that says “Add Special Access”
- To confirm the time, go back into the restrictions tab and scroll to the bottom Underneath the “Add users to special access” button you will see a listing of the student’s name, the amount of time they have to complete the test, and the availability of the test (e.g. begins March 16th 2020 8:00 AM, Ends March 17, 2020, 8:00 AM).
Accessible course and test content
Please review our materials on the website under “Making Accessible Documents”. Or click here: Making Accessible Documents. The Centre has excellent resources for transitioning to an online format. We are available to assist you in creating alternate formats tests, (e.g. large print, Kurzweil). The student’s letter will state “Assistive Technology for tests/exams”. Please contact Erika at email@example.com for assistance.
Faculty and Staff
The Handbook for Faculty and Staff (PDF) is an information and resource guide for academic staff members at the University of Manitoba. It may also be a useful guide for senior and academic administrators and staff who wish to learn more about services at the University for students with disabilities.
For information relating to faculty or staff personal accessibility accommodations, visit the Employee Wellness page.
Test and Exams
You can access student accommodation information on the SAS scheduler. Access the SAS scheduler by logging in here
If you do not want to upload your test, you can drop it off at 155 University Centre, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax 204-261-7732. Students may need large print, e-text or assistive technology friendly versions of your test. Due to this, tests should be delivered 3 days prior to the exam date.
Students write in a variety of spaces across our campuses due to our limited 8 space exam centre. Please visit the Test Centre, or contact them at 204-474-6213 to find out where your student(s) are writing. Students will be in semi private or small group spaces. Students using assistive technology with sound may write in a separate space. All students are supervised by exam invigilators.
Instructors are asked to request volunteer notetakers on behalf of SAS for their classes if Volunteer Notetaker is listed as an accommodation in the letter of accommodation.
A sample announcement for your request is below.
Student Accessibility Services requires volunteer notetakers for this class. If you would like to volunteer and receive recognition on your Co-Curricular Record (CCR) for your time, please login to upload notes directly online. Thank you.
A PowerPoint slide with this information is available.
Creating accessible documents
Why Accessible Documents?
It is important that all materials you provide to your class are accessible to every student. This means that all learners can access the information within the documents you are providing. If you have any questions or concerns about these documents please contact email@example.com.
- Ensure there is white space within your document
- Ensure hyperlinks and images have descriptive text
- Convey information from diagrams and charts with actual text as well
- Use black font on a white background
- Use 12 pt font or larger
- Fonts should be sans-serif (e.g. Verdana, Arial, Helvetica)
- Limit use of italics
- Use bullets or numbers to indicate lists
- Document should be formatted with heading styles (e.g. Heading 1, Heading 2, etc)
- Don’t convey information with colour; avoid animated text
- Use pre-defined slide layouts
- Have a title for each slide
- Avoid text boxes (they appear as graphics to screen readers)
- Add descriptive text to any images
- Keep use of tables limited; use appropriate slide layout to insert
- Avoid animation and use of colour to convey a message
- Use high contrast colour schemes
- Use descriptive text for any images
- Limit use of charts and graphs; add to separate worksheets
- Avoid a lot of white space
- Ensure rows and columns have headers/titles
- Name the sheets within your document
The following links will take you to the Microsoft accessibility website with tutorials on how to create accessible MS Office documents
Using MS Office Accessibility Checker:
Making Accessible MS Word Documents (Office 365, 2019, 2016):
Making Accessible MS Excel Spreadsheets (Office 365, 2019, 2016):
Making Accessible MS PowerPoint Documents (Office 365, 2019, 2016):
Making Accessible PDF Documents:
By creating accessible MS Office documents, you can then easily successfully covert those documents into HTML or PDF files.
Transportation at Fort Garry campus
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
66 Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
SAS Exam Centre
155 UMSU University Centre
66 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