Guide for parents and caregivers of students with disabilities

Main Content

An overview of everything students' parents and caregivers should know about working with Accessible Learning Services (ALS), including eligibility, roles and responsibilities.

Early Identification

Student using desktop computer

Students are encouraged to register with ALS before the start of their program or when accommodation needs arise. 

ALS works in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff. Together, we identify and implement accommodations and services to ensure all students have an equitable opportunity to achieve their educational goals. 

Parent and Caregiver Support

ALS values and promotes students’ dignity, individuality, confidentiality, independence, inclusion, and equitable access to education. As students transition to the post-secondary environment, we work with them directly to identify barriers and determine accommodations. This means that the role of parents and caregivers shifts from primary advocate to supporter and coach. We encourage parents and caregivers to work with us in supporting students to develop their independence and self-advocacy skills. 

Team Member Support

As students transition to college, they will find a supportive and welcoming ALS team. This team includes Welcome Desk staff, an intake co-ordinator, accessibility consultants, learning strategists, adaptive technologists, tutors, class assistants, note takers, and peer mentors. We encourage students to discuss the resources that are available and applicable to their individual accommodation needs. 

Duty to Accommodate

Accommodations are changes in the traditional rules and procedures surrounding teaching and testing which allow students with disabilities to participate on a level playing field. 

In Ontario, post-secondary institutions have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities. This means that institutions are expected to make every reasonable effort to accommodate students with disabilities. 

ALS and students work together to develop an accommodation plan. Please note that we may need time to arrange accommodations. 


The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) guides George Brown College’s confidentiality and consent policies. While ALS recognizes the value of parent and caregiver support, completion of an external consent form is required to discuss a student’s accommodation needs with a parent or caregiver. 

Getting ready for college

Paying for college

It's important for students to think about financial costs and develop a plan to pay for their post-secondary education. Students are encouraged to visit George Brown College’s Financial Assistance page for options on funding post-secondary education and grants that may be available for students with disabilities.


As a parent or caregiver, you can support your student by helping them gather and understand their disability documentation. Please visit the Disability Documentation page for more information.

Communication support

Students who require an American Sign Language interpreter to attend meetings can email ALS at and arrangements will be made.

Roles and Responsibilities

Students are responsible for the following: 

  • Registering with Accessible Learning Services 
  • Choosing to have someone attend their intake appointment with them 
  • Providing documentation in a timely manner 
  • Following procedures and deadlines for requesting and accessing accommodations 
  • Distributing and discussing accommodations with each instructor 
  • Updating Accessible Learning Services if accommodations are not being met or needs have changed

Parents and caregivers can offer transition support to their student by: 

  • Helping students identify their strengths 
  • Encouraging the student to connect with campus services and activities 
  • Promoting decision making and providing support as students develop educational goals 
  • If an updated psychoeducational assessment is needed, looking into your insurance benefits to determine what portion of the assessment can be covered 
  • Providing support and encouragement as your student navigates through the exciting — and often stressful transition — to post-secondary education

Accessible Learning Services offers support by: 

  • Meeting with students to support their transition to George Brown College 
  • Reviewing documentation and obtaining additional documentation as required, including funding options (i.e., updated psycho-educational assessment, medical documentation, etc.) 
  • Working with students to create an accommodation plan to support disability related needs 
  • Assessing students for learning and adaptive technology needs and providing services and resources to support access and/or facilitate loan or purchase of equipment 
  • Providing alternative format materials.