Job Posting

Program Coordinator, Disability Specialist



McMaster University

Deadline: October 21, 2020

Posted: October 9, 2020

Unit/project Description:

The position of Program Coordinator (Disability Specialist) is a key function of the Student Accessibility Services (SAS). SAS provides academic accommodation planning, assistance, and support to students with disabilities, faculty and the university. SAS is a part of the Student Affairs team and is located in the McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) room B-107.

Job Summary:

Responsible for overseeing and delivering disability related education and academic accommodations, support, and supportive counselling services to students with a wide range of disabilities. Assists with access to funding supports. Complies with institutional policies and required procedures, provincial and federal regulatory and statutory requirements.

Purpose and Key Functions:

• Regularly conduct individualized and in-depth accommodation-related assessments including intakes and regular re-assessments, to determine the academic, educational and other disability related needs of students
• Frequently conduct in-depth interviews with students, prospective students, parents / guardians, resource supports, etc. as required to fully determine the most appropriate academic accommodations required.
• Determine, develop, coordinate and implement appropriate individual disability-related (academic accommodation) education plans for students with disabilities.
• Arrange, coordinate and schedule the provision of support services including, but not limited to, note takers, interpreters, captioners, and interveners.
• Ensure, and follow-up as necessary, on individual student disability-related education plans and accommodations, to ensure equitable access is arranged for students.
• Regularly review and assess documentation from a variety of sources, as it relates to the determination of appropriate academic accommodations to determine relevance.
• Consult with health care providers or other university officials to assist the University in meeting its human rights obligations.
• Provide on-going supportive counselling and advocacy supports to students with disabilities, and refer students to appropriate university and community support systems and services as necessary.
• Regularly provide significant input into the design and delivery of all student accessibility services to students including, assistive technologies, learning strategies, transition, test and exam administration, clinical or practicum site accommodations, and alternative format or captioning / describing audio-visual materials.
• Frequently respond to students’ crises, escalation of symptoms, emergencies and urgent situations to best meet student and University identified needs.
• Work in collaboration with Faculty advisors, staff and other campus professionals regarding academic and disability-related services and needs of students.
• Follow best practices, manage conflicts between university policies and student needs, deal with issues of disclosure, follow provincial and federal regulations, related to privacy / confidentiality and promote the need for atypical accommodation.
• Follow recommended guidelines, systems, prescribed and non-prescribed processes when supporting and documenting student interactions and accommodation plans.
• Participate actively in student risk assessments, report to appropriate university officials where perceived or imminent risk of harm to, by or from a student is determined.
• Participate as prescribed in Crisis Response situations as required by the University’s official crisis response plan.
• Develop and deliver presentations, seminars and workshops on campus to the University community to facilitate awareness of disability issues and attitudes, and provide coaching and advice.
• Provide input to University policies, operation and service delivery decisions, and the design and structure of programs, activities, web pages, and promotional material.
• Recommend allocation of resources and support systems by academic and administrative departments/Faculties in the accommodation of students.
• Collect and obtain quotes for bursary requests.
• Make referrals recommendations for scholarship awards, internal and external bursaries, and other funding supports
• Refer individuals to community resources for support and diagnosis of disability (in areas of cognitive impairment such as learning disability assessments, ADHD assessments, concussion and brain injury assessments, utism spectrum disorders).
• Provide support to families on education and disability-related needs.
• Determine in consultation with students, parents and health care providers, to whom a referral should be made for psychological, neuro-psychological or psycho-educational testing and most appropriate type of testing.
• Receive and review any reports following completion of referred assessment to determine if referral objectives have been attained.
• Consult with school board staff, teachers, and special education support staff with regard to post-secondary education for individuals with disabilities.
• Use professional judgment to respond to signs of psychological distress, including signs of suicide risk or suicide ideation.
• Consult with physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, counselors and health care practitioners regarding students’ needs and following, where appropriate, any prescribed recommended supports or accommodations
• Complete analyses and interpretation of evaluation data obtained regarding disability services within the University.
• Complete and retain comprehensive case notes pertaining to client history, annual progress, accommodations and treatment plans.
• Design forms and records to gather and maintain data to be used when determining appropriate student and departmental needs.
• Complete internet searches for information related to disability, medication, access technology, specific psychological and psychiatric conditions and other disability related needs.
• Represent the department at University organized showcase or information fairs.
• Keep abreast of various types of psychological and psycho-educational assessment tools used to diagnose and recommend accommodations for students with psychological, cognitive and acquired brain injuries/disabilities, and understand the tools’ impacts.
• Understand all aspects of Faculty policies and academic program requirements at all levels, to most adequately determine and promote student academic accommodation needs.
• Remain current on disability related matters, service delivery models, theories of disability, accommodations, and institutional and non-institutional policies and regulations; at times through regular and selective professional development activity attendance.

Masters degree in human services or related discipline

Requires 3 years of relevant experience.

The successful candidate will work with students who present with a range of disabilities, including, but not limited to, students with learning disabilities, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorders, acquired brain injuries, mental health disabilities, physical disabilities, chronic medical conditions, and students with sensory disabilities.

Responsibilities include meeting with students, discussing university and SAS policies and disability-related procedures, review of relevant documentation, determining accommodation plans based upon relevant documentation and experience, assessment and consultation with Faculties, instructors, and other university officials. The successful candidate will provide disability-related supportive counseling and disability-related academic support, in addition to other disability or student-related needs that may have an impact upon a student’s academics or campus life.

The successful candidate must have a proven track record of working with persons with disabilities including solid experience in working specifically with one or more of the groups mentioned above. A preference will be given to person’s who have completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work, Disability Studies or another human or health service related discipline. Specific training and experience in administering, interpreting and reporting on psycho-educational assessment data would be an asset.

Additional Information:

•The hours for this position are 35 hours per week, normally 8:30am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Occasional evening and weekend work will be required for special events. • Disability Services staff work closely together as a team and as part of the Student Affairs Unit in effective service delivery to students with disabilities. A sound understanding of university acumen is essential.
• The successful candidate must complete required workplace health and safety, AODA customer services, and other required employment training.