This week, I had the chance to sit down with one of the Peer Advisors (for more information, check out: https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/as/peer-programs#node-5632) at Accessibility Services and talk to them about what they do and why you should come talk to them about your struggles. Gina helped me understand the importance of Peer Advisors at Accessibility Services, and I hope our little chat helps some of you out!
First, thank you for letting me ask you a couple of questions. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do here.
I’m Gina, I am an undergrad peer advisor, and my job is to help students navigate university with a disability. I can assist with things like getting registered with the service, navigating the accommodations, and other student life aspects.
Why should students with disabilities register with Accessibility Services?
It makes being a student and dealing with a disability easier, especially with the right accommodations and support.
What are some things students with disabilities can do to help with academics, besides registering with Accessibility Services?
I think self-awareness in how much you can handle is really important, for example, the number of classes you’re deciding to take. Having the right supports, health wise, is also pretty significant, because if that’s taken care of, then it makes studying much easier. General planning and time management are things I would recommend. If a student is having trouble with that, we have a learning strategist, Rahul, at Accessibility Services to assist with that.
What is some advice you would give to students registered with Accessibility Services, or students that are considering registering with Accessibility Services?
Don’t feel guilty about registering, don’t feel like you are lesser than others because you are registered with Accessibility Services. When I first registered, I was hesitant and scared, and felt guilty about things like needing more time on a quiz. When I did register, I regretted having waited so long. Definitely don’t try to handle things on your own. Getting accommodations doesn’t put you on a level above others, it gets you to the same starting point.
Anything else you would like to let students with disabilities know?
We can help you out with common issues such as registering, downloading the letter of accommodations, writing emails to professors, test accommodations, accessing your class notes, etc. We are here to help, and we’ve got amazing undergrad and grad peer advisors who know the service really well. If you have any questions, need support, or if you just want to talk, come see us!
Many thanks to Gina and the folks at Accessibility Services for being so helpful. If you would like to visit a Peer Advisor, check out the drop-in hours online at https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/as/peer-programs#node-5632.
Happy October, U of T!