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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Career Equity Resources

For faculty

Welcome to the Career Equity Resources page for faculty and staff. CEL recognizes that many students enroll in post-secondary education because they want to pursue their career interests. We also acknowledge that TRU faculty and staff are instrumental in helping students prepare for future employment.

Practical components in programs such as nursing and social work are often imperative to a student’s success in their chosen field. CEL would like to show their commitment to supporting students with accessibility needs by making resources available for faculty and staff who may be serving this student population. As an additional resource, the Accessibility Experiential Learning Coordinator is available for consultation on ways to make practical learning scenarios more accessible.


What conditions are considered a disability?

The Career and Experiential Learning department uses the terms medical condition, injury and disability to describe a diagnosable condition that impacts permanently or temporarily impacts a person’s functioning. The World Health Organization uses the overarching term “disability” to describe most of these conditions. Here are just some examples of medical conditions that are considered a disability in Canada.

 Conditions defined as a disability by the government of Canada

Here is a list of many of the common disabilities recognized by the Canadian government. This is by no means a complete list but will give you an idea of the many conditions that may cause changes to the way a person works and learns.

  • Addictions
  • Agoraphobia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Angina
  • Autism
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Ataxia
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Behcet’s Disease
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Chromosome Abnormality
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Chronic Disability Pain
  • Chronic Pain Disorder
  • Colitis
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Cri-Du-Chat Syndrome
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • De Vivo Disease
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Developmentally Delayed
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Dysgraphia
  • Elimination Difficulties
  • Epilepsy
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gender Identity Dysphoria
  • Glaucoma
  • Global Developmental Delay
  • Hearing Disorders
  • Hepatitis C
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Hypermobility Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypotonia
  • Inability or Difficulty Walking
  • Inability or Trouble Feeding
  • Infantile Spasms
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mania
  • Mental Illness
  • Migraines
  • Mild Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Myotonic Myopathy
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Panic Disorder
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Personality Disorder
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Psychosis
  • Quadriplegia
  • Retinoschisis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Scoliosis
  • Seizure Disorder
  • Sleep Disorder
  • Specific Developmental Disorder
  • Speech Disorder
  • Stroke
  • Substance Abuse
  • Tic Disorder
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Trouble Dressing
  • Tumor
  • Vision Problems


What is a functional impact?

A functional impact describes how a person’s medical condition or disability affects the way they work and learn. For example, a person may have difficulty interacting socially or experience on-going migraines. A person’s medical diagnosis is considered confidential; therefore, employers should accommodate based on how a person’s functioning is impacted, rather than on their diagnosis.

What is an accommodation?

An accommodation is an adaptation to the way a person works and learns that allows them to meet the expectations of a job. For example, a person who has chronic back pain may require a supportive chair or, a person with difficulty with focus and concentration may need a distraction reduced environment.

Functional ImpactsAccommodations
Sitting Stretch breaks
Standing Stool/chair for rest
Stair Climbing Accessible workspace
Communication Assistant/Interpreter
Fatigue Stretch breaks/extra time
Attention/Concentration Distraction reduced environment
Social Interactions Redistribution of workload/accessible space
Information Processing Extra time, repeat instructions
Memory Project management software
Time Management Time management software

How can I prepare for students who may need practicum or clinical accommodations?

At the beginning of the semester, remind students who may need accommodations for a practical or clinical placement to meet with an advisor in Accessibility Services to discuss their needs, even if the student is not sure what they need yet.

Accommodations can take time to implement, so the earlier the student can notify Accessibility Services that there is a practical component to their program, the better. Accessibility Services will also work closely with faculty members and the Accessibility Experiential Learning Coordinator to determine reasonable accommodations, as needed.

It is recommended that faculty supervisors still try to accommodate students who have disclosed a disability or ongoing health condition even the student does not want to access services through Accessibility Services.

What should I do if I receive an accommodation letter for a student that requires clinical or practicum accommodations?

Set aside some time to speak with the student privately about how to best support them in the field/practical setting (unless otherwise specified in their accommodation letter).

If you are still unsure of how to implement the recommended accommodations, contact Accessibility Services for assistance.

Where can I get accessibility help for students not registered with Accessibility Services?

The Accessibility Experiential Learning Coordinator from the Career and Experiential Learning Department works closely with Accessibility Services Advisors and is also available to faculty and staff for consultation related to career accessibility for students not registered with Accessibility Services.

What should I do if I think a student may be struggling in their placement due to a disability?

  • Set aside some time to speak privately with the student to discuss their academic progress in their clinical/practicum placement.
  • Ask if they are accessing any student services to help support them with their learning this semester.
  • Refer the student to the student services desk to assess what services (if any) would be best suited to support them.
  • Avoid asking if the student has a health condition or disability.
  • If the student does not disclose a disability and does not register with Accessibility Services, the Accessibility Experiential Learning Coordinator is available to faculty and staff for consultation.

What should I do if a student who is struggling in their placement discloses that they have a disability?

  • Set aside some time to speak with the student privately about how to best support them in the field/practical setting.
  • Refer student to Accessibility Services for assistance with determining practical/clinical accommodations.

What should I do if I think an accommodation compromises an academic requirement?

If you believe an accommodation may compromise an academic requirement of your degree program, here are some options to consider:

  • Contact Accessibility Services for assistance with determining whether the student would be otherwise qualified to participate in a field placement if reasonably accommodated
  • Consult your chair, dean, other post-secondary institutions and/or other related resources for possible accommodation solutions
  • Review your clinical/practicum standards and requirements to ensure that they are in line with minimum learning/performance qualifications.
  • Make sure students have been clearly informed of all behavioral and clinical performance standards.
  • Work with your field/practicum host to come up with possible accommodation solutions

How can I prepare for a decision to deny a field placement accommodation?

If a field placement accommodation compromises an essential requirement and/or causes an unresolvable safety issue, a decision to deny the accommodation may be necessary.

Here are some ways to prepare for this decision:

  • Be prepared to illustrate that the requirement is an essential part of the degree program
  • Explain how accommodating a student with a disability would lower the academic requirements
  • If applicable, explain how the accommodation “would create a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of others [direct threat] and no reasonable accommodation is available that would allow the student to perform the essential requirements/and or functions without creating such a risk” (Sorley, 1994, P. 531).
  • Be confident that you have thoroughly investigated all possible accommodations and/or removal of environmental barriers and include the student in the program of study in the discussion.

Community resources

Deep Map
The Deep Map is a community resource hub in the form of an interactive map. The purpose of this map is to identify inclusive community services to support our diverse student population. With limited resources due to COVID-19, it’s even more important that we are providing students, employers, faculty and staff with information that prioritizes health and well-being. Search the map by people group or service using the drop-down menus. To view the contact information and a description of services for an organization, simply click the hotspot location on the map. Click here to view the Deep Map! 

Working towards accessibility

Scholary articles

The following published works are not the property of Thompson Rivers University but rather links to published works by scholars and experts in the area of practical learning accommodations.

Useful links

University of New Brunswick

Lakehead University

Accessibility Resources for Faculty and Staff

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