How to Get Accommodations in Post-Secondary Education

I remember my first class at university and how excited I was. The professor walked in carrying a brown briefcase. He took out a sheaf of notes, placed it on the podium and began to speak into the microphone. His voice echoed throughout the lecture hall. To me, his voice bounced off tables and walls, and didn’t translate to clear speech.

I missed a lot in that lecture. I spent most of the time trying to decipher what the professor was saying with all the echoing that was going on. I realized that I needed to get accommodations and wasn’t sure how to get them. 

Now, I know and I wanted to share some of the tips I learned with you!

Tip #1: Find your school’s accessibility centre and book an appointment with them several months before your first day of classes. 

During that appointment, make sure to ask any pressing questions that you might have. Some sample questions are:

  • What kind of documents are required to get accommodation services? 
  • What type of accommodations do they offer for e-learning and/or in class settings? 
  • Is it possible to get a certain type of accommodation that is not initially provided for?
  • What is the deadline to register for these accommodations?
  • If an instructor is not accommodating, what can I do? 

Tip #2: Consider any obstacles or barriers you might face. 

This can vary depending on whether you’re doing online learning or in-class learning.



Which platform will the school be using? 

When you find out, practice with the platform beforehand and get familiar with the settings that it provides, or if you need to request features to be added (i.e. automatic captioning etc.)

What do your classes look like?

Think about the size of the classroom, and the background noise you might encounter. 

How will your instructors conduct their classes?

Speak to your instructors beforehand and let them know about your hearing loss, and provide some suggestions that can help:

  • Encourage the use of the chat function instead of having student vocalize their questions/responses so you can easily follow along with the conversation
  • Limit the discussion to one or two voices, if possible, because it can be hard to differentiate from one speaker to the next
  • Get a detailed agenda of the class beforehand so that you can follow along with it. 
  • Let the instructor know it’s better if they speak slower, which can increase the accuracy of automatic captions. 

Where would be the best place to sit in the classroom? 

Consider doing a mock lecture with a friend and test out the acoustics of the room and determine where in the room would be best for you to sit and hear the lecture. 

Other Tips to Consider:

  • Sit in the front row of each class, in the seat closest to the professor.
  • After the first class with a new professor, book office hour appointments with them and let them know about your hearing loss.
  • Get a buddy in class and see if you can compare their notes with yours to make sure you didn’t miss anything
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