Accommodations and Services

In order for students to receive academic or non-academic accommodations, students must self-identify and register with the Griff Center for Student Success, Student Accessibility Services (SAS) office by completing the appropriate Student Accessibility Services Intake Form, and providing current documentation from a licensed or certified official that states the disability. In the case of most disabilities, the documentation should be no more than three to four years old and the assessment should be given at an adult level. Included in the written assessment should be a description of the current impact of the disability as it relates to the accommodations requested. A brief statement written by a physician on a prescription pad is not sufficient documentation.

The student must meet with a professional in the SAS office to discuss the accommodations, and to become familiar with the procedures. Through consultation and evaluation of the documentation, each student’s needs are identified on a case-by-case, course-by-course basis. If documentation is outdated or further documentation is needed, Student Accessibility Services requires that the student obtain the needed information or assessment to receive services. No diagnostic testing is provided through Student Accessibility Services. There is a psychologist referral list available that highlights cost, locations, and insurance accepted.

Students may register with the Student Accessibility Services office at any point throughout their academic career.  Documentation provided to that office is not considered part of a student’s permanent academic record.  SAS will keep files for a minimum of seven years, and then at that time will destroy the content, unless the student requests the information be returned.

Documentation Guidelines

Review the Documentation Guidelines for submitting paperwork to be considered for services provided by Student Accessibility Services.


Auxiliary Aids

A college student, living with a disability, who is in need of an auxiliary aid, must provide the Griff Center for Student Success, Student Accessibility Services office  with proper  documentation. It is important that the student do this on his/her own behalf first and foremost to verify the student’s eligibility as well as to ensure that the  documentation adequately supports requests for auxiliary aids on the basis of a learning disability that currently substantially limits one or more major life activities.  Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student’s request for appropriate accommodations. In the K-12 school setting, teachers and/or counselors may have arranged support services for students with disabilities. In the college setting, the students themselves must identify the need for an auxiliary aid and give adequate notice of the need to the Student Accessibility Services office. Appropriate aids are selected after discussion with the student and Student Accessibility Services professional. Colleges are not required to provide the most up-to-date sophisticated auxiliary aids available; however, the aids provided should meet the needs of a student with a disability. Colleges have flexibility in choosing the specific aid or service it provides to the student, as long as the aid or service selected is effective.

Examples of Auxiliary Aids

Some of the various types of auxiliary aids and services may include:

-Alternative texts
-Sign Language Interpreters
-Open and Closed captioning
-Calculators or Keyboards with enlarged  buttons
-Assistive Listening Devices
-Assistive Listening Systems
-Telecommunications Devices for Deaf Persons

Auxiliary aids include:

Sign Language Interpreters or other effective methods of making orally delivered materials available to students who are deaf or hard of hearing; readers for students with visual impairments; classroom equipment adapted for use by students with manual impairments; and other similar services or equipment.

While funding for accommodations to ensure equal access is available from Canisius University, funding for auxiliary aids is often the responsibility of state vocational rehabilitation agencies and the student. The college does not provide prescription devices, or devices and services of a personal nature.

The need for auxiliary aids and services is deemed appropriate by Student Accessibility Services based on the documentation provided by the student.  The student must follow these procedures in order to request auxiliary aids and services:

1. The student must initially contact the Student Accessibility Services office to request auxiliary aids and services as early as possible each semester.
2. The student must provide the office with documentation of the disability, which supports the need for auxiliary aids and services. Student Accessibility Services office will then determine which auxiliary aids and services are appropriate accommodations.


Loan of Adaptive Equipment

Student Accessibility Services may loan some types of adaptive equipment and devices to qualified students free-of-charge. Equipment is loaned out on a daily, weekly, or semester basis depending on need and demand for equipment by other students.

The need for adaptive equipment is deemed appropriate by the Student Accessibility Services office based on the documentation provided by the student. The student must follow these procedures in order to request adaptive equipment:

1. The student must initially contact Student Accessibility Services to request to borrow adaptive equipment.

2. The student must sign an equipment release agreement.  The student will be instructed in the use and care of equipment by a qualified staff member. The student is held responsible for the equipment which must be returned to the  Student Accessibility Services office in the same condition in which it was loaned. The student will be responsible for replacing stolen, damaged (outside of normal wear), or lost item(s).  Failure to return loaned equipment will result in a “hold” being placed on the student's registration until the student has returned or otherwise satisfactorily accounts for the equipment.

3. Students must meet with professors to inform them of in-class needs, preferably at the beginning of the semester.


Students may be encouraged to apply for funding from outside sources for auxiliary aids and adaptive equipment (e.g. Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR), New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, and/or NYS Readers Aid Program).

Alternative Text

Students with print disabilities, such as visual impairments and certain learning disabilities, may require textbooks and material in an alternative format. The following policy has been created to provide information and direction regarding the alternative text services the Student Accessibility Services office provides, as well as guidelines relative to how these services may be obtained from this office. This policy is reviewed and modified on a regular basis to meet the ongoing needs of students with print disabilities at Canisius.

Policy and Procedure

  • Alternative text accommodations are provided to students who are registered with Student Accessibility Services and have been approved for this accommodation by the Director.
  • Students requesting alternative text must be enrolled in the course for which the alternate text is being requested.
  • In order to secure a request for alternate text (i.e., Braille, tactile graphics, e-text, large print, etc.), the Request for Alternate Text Format form must be completed and submitted to the Griff Center, Student Accessibility Services office.
  • Requests for alternative text must be received with each new semester as well as each new class.  It is recommended that requests be made at least 4-6 weeks in advance of classes starting. If the student has trouble obtaining this information from the course instructor, the student must contact Student Accessibility Services as soon as the delay is known. The student is still responsible for purchasing the textbook(s) appropriate for each class.
  • In order to receive alternate text materials, the student must verify that the instructional materials have been purchased and/or ordered. Student Accessibility Services will then order materials on behalf of the student.
  • Alternate text requests should be submitted as soon as the student enrolls in a course. Late requests will be honored with the understanding that Student Accessibility Services will attempt to complete the work in a timely fashion. Turn-around times for alternate text requests are determined on a case-by-case basis. Upon review of material to be formatted and converted, Student Accessibility Services will notify the student of the projected completion date.

If further information is necessary or in the event of a complaint, please contact Student Accessibility Services at 716.888.2485.


Housing Accommodations

The Griff Center for Student Success and Student Life at Canisius University work to promote academic excellence and personal growth for all Canisius students. Appropriate housing assignments enable students to build a foundation for academic success and create an environment that fosters healthy lifestyles.  Accessibility-Related Housing Accommodations are based on medical, psychological, or other disability-related needs.

All students are expected to complete the Residence Life Housing Application, meet the appropriate housing deadlines, and pay the housing deposit. In addition, students requesting housing accommodations must register with the office, complete the Student Accessibility Services intake form, as well as the Accessibility-Related Housing Application, and provide proper documentation by a licensed or certified official. A new housing form must be submitted to Student Accessibility Services at the beginning of each academic year. It is recommended that students requesting housing accommodations make an appointment with Student Accessibility Services at least two weeks prior to the housing application deadline to discuss the requested accommodation(s). Student Accessibility Services will only facilitate housing accommodations for Canisius students living in buildings/houses owned by Canisius University. Housing rates are set on the basis of the building, type of room, and occupancy of room. Rates are the same for all students regardless of a disability and a list of the rates are available in the Student Life Office.  All information regarding housing accommodations is kept in The Griff Center for Student Success and is strictly confidential.


To assist in fully and fairly evaluating each request and ensuring that the prior accommodation(s) are made, Student Accessibility Services requires:

- Documentation of the disability/condition, the functional limitations, and the treatment or - prognosis (if applicable) that are the basis for the request
- A clear description of the recommended housing accommodation
- An explanation of how the request relates to the impact of the disability/condition
- An indication of the level of need for the recommended accommodation
- A statement of the level of need for (or the consequences of not receiving) the recommended accommodation
- Possible alternatives if recommended accommodation is not possible

In order to fully evaluate your request, students need to provide current documentation as is appropriate for their disability. The type-written documentation should be provided by a licensed physician or psychologist that describes the student’s medical disability/condition and provides support for housing accommodation(s). The documentation should include:

- A diagnostic statement including the date of the most recent evaluation
- The current impact of (or limitations imposed by) the disability/condition with a description of the level of severity, duration, and frequency of the above medical or psychological disability/condition
- Description of the current medical or psychological treatment plan, medications, devices or services currently prescribed or used to minimize the impact of the disability/condition
- Description of how the current medical or psychological condition may require special housing accommodations
- Alternatives in the event that the requested accommodation is not possible

Student Accessibility Services evaluates all requests for housing accommodations carefully.  Below is a summary of the factors considered when evaluating special-need housing accommodations.

Severity of the Disability

- Is the impact of the disability life threatening if the request is not met?
- Is there a negative health impact that may be permanent if the request is not met?
- Is the request an integral component of a treatment plan for the disability?
- What is the likely impact on academic performance or social development if the request is not met?

Timing of the Request

- Is the request made with the initial housing request or before the housing application deadline?
- Is the request made as soon as possible after identifying the need? (Based on date of diagnosis, receipt of housing application, change in status, etc.)

Availability and Feasibility of  Housing Accommodation

- Is space available that meets the student’s needs?
- Is the student in special interest housing — can the requested accommodation be met within that area?
- Can space be adapted to provide the requested accommodation without creating a safety hazard (electrical load, emergency egress, etc.)?
- Are there other effective methods or housing accommodations that would achieve similar benefits as the requested accommodation?
- How does meeting this request impact housing commitments to other students?
- Is the cost of meeting the request prohibitive?

Appeal Process

If a student with a documented disability believes that he/she has not been provided with a reasonable housing accommodation, the student should direct his/her concern to the Dean of Students or designee. The student must provide in writing the nature of the concern and any other relevant information. The decision of the Dean of Students or designee is final.

Parking Passes

The Griff Center for Student Success, Student Accessibility Services Office at Canisius serves as an advocate for students with registered disabilities. With appropriate documentation regarding a student’s disability, the office is responsible for facilitating the necessary academic and non-academic accommodations.

In certain cases, students registered with the office require a personal aide to assist/support them on campus throughout the day. As a result, students and/or aides are provided with a Canisius Temporary Parking Permit which allows them to park in lots that best accommodate the student they are assisting.

Student Accessibility Services issues temporary parking passes for permanent as well as temporary disabilities. It is the responsibility of the student and/or aide to meet with Student Accessibility Services to obtain the parking pass, park in the appropriate parking lots, display the parking pass properly, and let Student Accessibility Services know if there are any changes in regards to the disability or pass. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Student Accessibility Services at 716-888-2485.


Student Accessibility Services coordinates note taking services for students with a disability who are registered with the office. Based on the documentation of the disability, Student Accessibility Services will determine on a case-by-case/course-by-course basis the use of note takers as an appropriate accommodation. Students who receive this accommodation typically have a visual or hearing impairment, physical disability, traumatic brain injury, or learning disability. The note taker service is free to qualifying students with disabilities, and it is a paid position to the note taker.

How the Service Works

Student Accessibility Services approves note taker accommodations, and like all disability accommodations, are based on the student’s disability documentation, the current nature of their disability, and the specific requirements of the course or program. The service is meant to supplement class attendance and not replace it. Students eligible for this accommodation are asked to make a formal request every semester and for each class in which there is a need. It is strongly encouraged that students attend the first two classes to determine which classes are appropriate for use of a note taker.  It is the student's prerogative whether or not to disclose their identity to their note taker. Students are also encouraged to recommend classmates who they know are responsible, take good notes, and attend class reliably. 


Student information shared with the Student Accessibility Services is considered confidential.  Therefore, note takers may not know the identity of the person for whom they are taking notes. However, there may be instances where the student will want to share their identity in order to collaborate with their note taker. In this case, the note taker is expected to keep shared information confidential. The relationship, whether anonymous or not, between the student and their note taker(s) is important.

How to Use the Notes Effectively

For students utilizing the services of Student Accessibility Services, the note taking service is effective if you attend class regularly, actively engage in the class, and use the notes in a proactive manner. Below are some steps you may choose to take to make the most out of the note taker service. 

Three Ring Binders: Using a three-ring binder can be an effective way of keeping your notes organized. Weekly notes can be hole-punched and organized as they are received along with your own notes.

Reviewing the Notes:  Read your notes within two hours or less of receiving them. Once you have read over the notes, try to paraphrase important points that the professor made in the lecture, fill in gaps as you remember points heard but not recorded, and find answers to any questions remaining unanswered. Answer the following questions:
- Are the notes readable?
- Is important information from the lecture, including blackboard, overheads or Power Point included?
- Is the note taker using headings, bullets, indentations, and underline or star (*) major points and key words? Do they leave white space for later additions?
- Do I understand the note taker's abbreviations?

If you, as a student using the note taking services feel that you are not receiving quality notes, please contact Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible at 716.888.2485.

Being a Student Note-Taker

Student Accessibility Services coordinates note taking services for students who are registered with the office and who due to a disability, or disabilities, are either unable to take notes or need notes to supplement their own note. Students who receive this accommodation may have a visual or hearing impairment, a physical disability, a learning disability or traumatic brain injury.

Job Qualifications

Note taking services are effective for the student with a disability if the note taker attends class regularly and is actively engaged in the class. Students interested in being a note taker should:

- Attend class regularly
- Have strong note taking skills
- Have legible handwriting or be able to provide typed notes in Word format, and
- Email notes at a maximum of 24 hours after class to Student Accessibility Services email (@email) using ScanBot App.  

Notes Should Include

- Main points of the lecture and presentations
- Explanations, examples, and comments given by the professor
- Information from the blackboard, overheads and Power Point
- Dates and details for upcoming exams, quizzes, papers, and other assignments
- It is not necessary to provide personal notes from readings or notes that you have created for studying or writing papers.

General Guidelines

- Use a black or blue pen 
- Keep your notes within the margins of the page and leave a blank line at the bottom of each – page
- At the top, please include the date, class # and page # in the upper right hand corner of every page.  For example, 9/3/16, ENGL 101 A, pg. 1 of 5.

How to Apply to Be a Note taker

Contact Student Accessibility Services to apply for a note taking position that has been announced in one or more of your classes. We also encourage past note takers to contact the office during the first week of classes to let us know of the classes that you are available to take notes for. We will either let you know at that point if there is currently a class available, or we will phone you when one becomes available. 

Effective Note Taking 

Note taking is a skill which takes practice and involves effort. Note taking is meant to provide a written record for review.  This requires an active effort on the part of the listener to condense, rephrase and organize information in a short period of time. Below are several steps that may help note takers improve note taking skills:

- Sit in the classroom where hearing and seeing are better for you, and where there are fewer distractions.
- Review the previous class notes and think through what has happened in class to date.
- Be alert for speaker emphasis through tone or gesture, repetition, and use of cue words such as remember, first, finally, usually, however, but, most importantly, etc.
- Don't try for a verbatim transcript, but do get down all of the main ideas and record some details and illustrations.
- Paraphrase and develop a suitable system of shorthand - be consistent in its use
- Leave plenty of white space on the page for later additions
- Use an outline format, indentation, underlining, circles, etc. to indicate relative importance of information
- Underscore or "*" major points

Testing Accommodations

The Testing Center is a designated area for students that need testing accommodations due to a disability or to make up a missed exam. Test accommodations are determined on a case-by-case/course-by-course basis after review of a student’s official documentation. These accommodations include (but are not limited to) the following:

Each student is unique, and accommodations may vary from student-to-student, and may include accommodations that are not listed here.

  • "Test," as used in this context, refers to quizzes/examinations taken during the semester including final exams in conjunction with an academic class.  A student should discuss his/her specific needs for testing accommodations (e.g., extended time, separate location, use of a computer, etc.) with Student Accessibility Services in a timely manner before tests are to be administered.
  • Extended Time – a factor in reading testing material, processing information, or writing answers. [The amount of time allotted is based on the student’s official documentation.]
  • Reader – questions may have to be read to the student by a proctor due to visual difficulties or cognitive problems.
  • Scribe – proctor will write or type the student’s answers for them if they have a physical disability where their own writing capabilities are affected.
  • Adaptive Equipment – screen enlargers, talking computers, word processors, or Braille printers can be used during the test if needed.
  • Modification of Test Response Format – enlarging answer sheets or transcribing answers onto a computer scan sheet are techniques that may be used.
  • Environmental Control – a separate quiet testing room and earplugs to eliminate any additional noise or interruptions. This helps to relieve anxiety and encourage concentration.

Testing Environment and Academic Integrity

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) enforces the highest level of academic integrity while administering exams. SAS requires that students maintain the same level of academic integrity and respect that is conveyed within the classroom - in the Testing Center. If the proctor suspects that a student is cheating, the exam will be confiscated and the incident will be reported to the professor. 

To create a positive academic environment that is conducive to test taking, we ask that the student adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The following items are not allowed in the testing rooms: electronic devices (unless permitted by the course instructor), book bags, notebooks/books, purses, jackets, etc.
  • All materials – including scrap paper – must be returned to the proctor upon completion of the exam.

Scheduling an Exam

The student is responsible for contacting The Testing Center (OM 317) to schedule the day and time for the exam at least 1 business day before the scheduled exam time.  It is important to notify the office of any special needs, such as a scribe, reader, separate room, or the use of a computer. This helps prepare sufficient accommodations for each student. Students can schedule exams by calling 716-888-2485, emailing @email, or stopping into Old Main 317. 

In addition, the student is responsible for providing their professor with a Testing Form with the top portion filled out at least 2 to 3 days prior to the exam. Testing Forms can be sent to professors via email or delivered in person. Hard copy Testing Forms are available in Old Main 317.

The student should be present at least ten (10) minutes prior to the scheduled start time. If the student is late to the exam, the professor will be notified and the exam will be held in the office until further direction is given. An exam will not be administered past the scheduled time.

Submission Process for Professors

Professors are responsible for filling out the bottom section of the Testing Form that was given to them by the student(s). This completed form should be attached to the exam upon submission.

Professors should supply enough copies of the exam to cover the number of anticipated test takers. If an unknown number of students will be taking the exam, please supply two copies per exam.

Delivery of all materials to The Testing Center is the responsibility of the professor. The exam and completed Testing Form is to be delivered to the Testing Center (Old Main 317) prior to the scheduled exam time. Exams will be secured in the office. Professors are encouraged to personally deliver the exams to Old Main 317 in order to possibly clarify any questions or concerns. However, tests can also be emailed to @email as long as the completed Testing Form is attached to the email. Campus interoffice mail is not encouraged.