Learning strategies are active approaches to learning that benefit all students, but they are crucial tools for students who have disabilities. They provide structure and organization so that learning can be accomplished more effectively and efficiently.
The most effective strategies for individual students will be those which utilize their learning strengths while helping them to manage their areas of difficulties. However, determining the most appropriate strategies for individual students within specific situations may require a period of trial-and-error as various strategies are proven more or less effective. What works for one student, may not be effective for another student even with a similar learning profile. Further, what works for one student in one situation may not easily transfer to new and different learning situations.
Our learning strategists work with students to create a plan to work on skills, such as:
- Time Management
- Effective Textbook Reading
- Study Skills
Assistive Technology (AT) is a generic term that includes any piece of equipment that is used to increase efficiency, maintain function, or improve the capability of individuals with disabilities. AT is used to achieve greater independence while compensating for any functional deficits while attending post-secondary education. Our Assistive Technologists work closely with our Learning Strategists and Accessibility Advisors in supporting students with disabilities. Some common examples of AT:
Text-to-Speech Software verbalizes, or “speaks,” everything on a computer screen, including alternative format textbooks, website text, etc.
Mind Mapping Software allows the user to organize their ideas through web-diagrams and by creating visual linkages between concepts and information.
Voice Recognition Software allows the user to voice computer commands and to enter text using their voice, rather than a mouse or keyboard.
Recording Devices allows the user to record information presented verbally (lectures, workshops) for review at a later time.
FM Systems (Frequency Modulated Systems) transmits an instructor’s voice directly to the student at a constant level, insuring that the instructor’s voice is heard above the level of background noise.
Editing Software provides the user with auditory feedback so they can hear their written text, which enhances the editing of written documents. Additional features alert the user to probable errors in written text (grammar, word usage, structure, spelling, style, punctuation and capitalization).
Some student accommodations may include the use of a memory aid and/or formula sheet. A memory aid is developed case-by-case, in collaboration with the student, Accessibility Services and the student’s faculty.
A memory aid is a student created tool used to cue or trigger recall of information that the student has learned. It is intended to allow equal opportunity to demonstrate competence, and to display knowledge and understanding of the course content.
Students may refer to the Memory Aid Accommodation Guide for further details and examples.
Students registered with Accessibility Services may access our test centre as part of their accommodations. Students are asked to complete the online Test/Exam Request Form 5 days before the test/exam in order to accurately schedule and accommodate students. Testing accommodations are based on the unique needs of each student and may include:
- Additional time for tests/exams
- Access to assistive technology
- Alternate format tests/exams
- Private rooms
- Accessible seating
Student Test/Exam Accommodation Request Process
- Log into your Student Account using your Northern College username and password.
- If you are registered with the Accessibility Services Department, you will see a new menu option on the left hand side that says “Test/Exam Accommodation”. Click this link.
- Pick the class that the test is for.
- Fill in the time and date.
- Click Done at the bottom of the page.
- Wait for the form to disappear and a confirmation sent message. A copy will be sent via email to the professor, the Accessibility Centre and to your Northern College email account.
Register with Accessibility Services
We encourage current and prospective students to contact one of our Accessibility Advisors as soon as possible to begin the intake process. For example, if you are starting classes in September, please contact us early in May/June.
Northern College supports students with permanent and/or temporary disabilities. Documentation is required from a regulated health care professional confirming a disability and identifying the functional limitations you will experience in post-secondary education. Interim accommodations may be provided to students who are being assessed or waiting on documentation. It is not a requirement to provide a specific diagnosis to access accommodations and support services at Northern College.
If you have a learning disability, you will need a current psycho-educational assessment completed by a Psychologist or Psychological Associate within the last 5 years or as an adult (18 years or older), confirming your functional limitations. Referrals for updated psycho-educational assessment may be facilitated through Accessibility Services.
If you have physical, medical, hearing, vision or mental health concerns, your registered health care professional can complete the Medical Information Request Form or provide similar documentation confirming your functional limitations.
- An IEP provides background information, but does not confirm a disability or related functional limitations.
- A registered healthcare professional is someone who is capable of providing confirmation of a disability and providing the functional limitations that may affect your academic functioning (i.e. chiropractor, optometrist, family physician, psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, etc.).
Orientation to Accessibility Services
At Northern College, we are committed to your success. This orientation to Accessibility Services is offered before the Fall semester and will help students at all campuses navigate the tools and services at Northern College that are available to you.
What are the benefits?
- Focus on things that are important to know when you’re enrolled in college and have a disability
- Learn to navigate the college Blackboard platform
- Learn how to find important information – where is my booklist? Who is my program coordinator?
- Learn to use technology that might be useful to you during your college experience.
- Learn about services available to you