Accessibility Services

What we do

Accessibility Services (AS) facilitates and promotes the ongoing development of an inclusive and accessible learning environment in which students with disabilities can participate in all aspects of campus life.

The purpose of Accessibility Services is to provide equal access to educational opportunities for students with disabilities at Okanagan College.

Steps to receive accommodations

Intake process

What you need to know to get started.

Documentation

See what medical documentation is required.

Accommodations

Types of accommodations and eligibility.

Questions?

Just contact us!  We are here to help.

Ask questions

Virtual drop-ins

Have a few quick questions ? Meet with a member of our team in a virtual drop-in session.  

Participants will:

  • enter into a virtual waiting room
  • get moved into a private virtual room  when it's their drop-in session
  • have 10 minutes to ask questions
  • can return later for another session
  • check here to confirm no changes have been made to our virtual drop in schedule

Drop-in dates and times:

No drop-in dates scheduled at this time.  Please contact accessibility@okanagan.bc.ca and we would be happy to meet with you virtually, by phone or in person.

 

Submit a question

Fill out our online form if you have a question for the Accessibility Services department. We will do our best to respond to your inquiry within 48 hours.

Attend a Virtual Open House

Accessibility Services hosts online Open Houses to provide new and returning students additional information about the services we provide.  Please check back for future dates.

 

Accommodations

Accommodation definition

An accommodation involves the removal of barriers (physical or instructional) to provide an inclusive learning environment. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • An adaptation to the physical and/or instructional environment
  • Alternate formats and methods of communication
  • The use of adaptive technology and/or adaptations to the examination environment 

An accommodation does not usually involve modification of curriculum or evaluation; a student must still meet the learning objectives and essential requirements of the course.

Types of accommodations

Services and accommodations may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Access to technical aids and adaptive equipment
  • Accommodated tests and exams
  • Alternate format text material
  • Assistance with funding for students with disabilities
  • Facilitation with note taking
  • Instructor liaison
  • Mobility and physical access assistance
  • Orientation to OC
  • Referrals to support services
  • Sign language interpreting

Eligibility

To receive academic accommodations, students are required to self-disclose their disability and request supports to Accessibility Services. We support students who live with disabilities that can include:

  • ADHD
  • Blind or low vision
  • Chronic/systemic health impairments
  • Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental health disability
  • Mobility/functional impairment
  • Neurological disabilities

Documentation

Depending on the disability, documentation should:

  • Be current
  • Outline the nature and extent of the disability
  • Explain how the disability impacts the student in an educational environment
  • Outline the functional capacity in an academic setting
  • Provide recommendations for supports that mitigate the impact of the disability in an educational setting

When a service dog is required, the student may be required to show evidence of BC certification for the dog. The student will also be required to provide medical documentation to support the need for a service dog.

Temporary disabilities

Students with a temporary disability (e.g. a broken arm) should first contact professors/instructors to discuss temporary and reasonable accommodation. If the prognosis for the temporary disability proves to be longer than expected (more than one semester) or the professors/instructors are having difficulty determining a way to accommodate, the student should contact Accessibility Services.

Intake process

Steps for intake

1. Complete an intake form

Interested students will complete an intake form and a consent form before making an appointment with an Accessibility Services Coordinator. If you have questions about completing the forms, please contact accessibility@okanagan.bc.ca for assistance.

2. Medical documentation

To register with Accessibility Services, you must provide current documentation from a medical professional that is qualified to diagnose the disability or medical condition for which you need accommodations. An IEP or a doctor’s note is not accepted medical documentation.  Take the OC Disability Verification Form to your doctor or psychiatrist for completion.  If you have questions regarding medical documentation, contact accessibility@okanagan.bc.ca

3. We'll contact you

When Accessibility Services receives the above forms, an Accessibility Services Coordinator will contact you to discuss what you may be eligible for while you are attending school.

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about this intake process, please contact the Accessibility Services Coordinator on your campus or email accessibility@okanagan.bc.ca.

Medical documentation

Acceptable documentation must be obtained from a certified health care professional who has specific training, appropriate professional designation, and expertise in the diagnosis of the conditions for which the accommodation is being requested. Examples of appropriate health care professionals include the following:

  • Certified audiologist
  • Certified school psychologist (CVASP registered if in BC)
  • Neurologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Physician or medical specialist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Registered clinical psychologist

The documentation we require for a learning disability must include a psychological-educational assessment from a registered clinical psychologist or certified school psychologist. The psychological-educational assessment must have been completed in the last five years or the assessment must have been made after age 18.

The documentation must speak to the degree and extent of the functional impact of the disability. It must also provide recommendations on what would be deemed appropriate and reasonable and/or services. When consulted, the Accessibility Services Coordinator will review the documentation and discuss with the student the appropriateness and reasonableness of the recommendations in relation to the university's academic standards and the essential requirements of the course and/or program.  

Contact us

Our campuses

Kelowna Campus:
Student Services Building (S111)
250-862-5451

Penticton Campus:
Ashnola Building (PL142)
250-492-4305

Salmon Arm Campus:
Main Building (SA103)
250-832-2126

Vernon Campus:
Administration Building (A300)
250-545-7291

Our staff

Rhyscia Cerda

Accessibility Services Access Liaison (she, her)
Office: Student Services Building 111H
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4730
Staff photo of Rhyscia Cerda, Accessibility Services Access Liaison

Shannon Kiehlbauch

Accessibility Services Coordinator/ Education Advisor (she, her)
Office: Salmon Arm Building 119
Campus: Salmon Arm
Phone: 250-832-2126 ext. 8211
Educational Advising - Shannon Kiehlbauch

Sam Matychuk

Accessibility Services Coordinator (they, them)
Office: Student Services Building 111G
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4477
Staff photo of Samantha Matychuk, Accessibility Services Coordinator

Gitan Rakhra

Accessibility Services Coordinator (she, her)
Office: Ashnola Building 105
Campus: Penticton
Phone: 250-492-4305 ext. 3242
Regional Dean's Office - Penticton - Gitan rakhra

Shelly Smit

Accessibility Services Coordinator / Exam Coordinator (she, her)
Office: Main Building A307
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-545-7291 ext. 2672
Financial Aid - Shelly Strait