accessibility services office

application for reasonable accommodation

About Applying for Reasonable Accommodation

About Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodation is defined in the Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities as eliminating social barriers “when a person with a disability expresses the true need to eliminate social barriers and providing accommodation does not impose disproportionate burden”.

At Hokkaido University, reasonable accommodation is decided by mutual agreement between applicant(s) and provider(s) and by ensuring such accommodation may be provided without incurring excessive burden. Therefore, it is determined on case-by-case basis and not by universal rules.

Providing accommodation means creating a level playing field for students with disability or impairment with others by providing modifications or support without altering course content, objectives and learning outcomes. It does not mean grading leniency or just being exempt from assignments. It is about changing the method used for the assignment or giving another equivalent assignment if the assignment is difficult to complete due to disability or impairment. In principle, a reasonable accommodation is deemed appropriate when it does not alter course objectives, content or evaluations.

Also, what constitutes reasonable accommodation may change in accordance with technological advancement and change in our societies.

Please contact the Accessibility Services Office if you would like to apply for reasonable accommodation, or if you do not have disability or impairment but have concerns about your study or research (walk-ins are accepted; however, scheduling an appointment by email or phone is recommended as our staff may be with other clients and not be able to speak with you right away).

Background on Reasonable Accommodation

In 2016, the Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities took effect and national and public universities are mandated to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disability or impairment.

Before getting into what “reasonable accommodation” means, let us first talk about “disability”.

It may surprise you to know that disability does not mean loss or impairment in a person’s body structure or function, or mental functioning. Due to the great shift in understanding of disability that started in the second half of the 20th century, we have now come to understand “disability” as activity limitation or participation restriction for a person with loss or impairment in body structure or function, or mental functioning, which is caused by the society’s lack of accommodation for such person. For example, it is not that a person cannot participate in class at university because of hearing impairment. The person with hearing impairment cannot participate because the class is designed disregarding people with hearing impairment. In other words, disability is not an issue of individuals but of the society around them.

Society must provide “accommodation”, which means modifying existing methods or creating an accommodating environment, that allows people with impairment to fully participate in the society (although under the condition that it shall not impose excessive burden). Such accommodations are called “reasonable accommodations”.

These understandings on disability are now shared around the world and have become public views as they are included in international treaties and internal laws. In short, our views on disability have been greatly transformed. The number of students with disability or impairment who enters university has been increasing, and it is expected to continue to grow in the future. Every person with disability or impairment has their own unique situation, and it is imperative to communicate with each of them as an individual who is on their journey to grow and to deepen our understanding of each person, as we do with others without disability or impairment.

Eligibility for Reasonable Accommodation

Hokkaido University students with permanent disability or impairment (including special auditors, credited auditors, auditors, research students and international students, etc.) are eligible for reasonable accommodation. To apply, submission of supporting documents such as a disability certificate, a certification of diagnosis from your doctor, or a letter of opinion by other professional, etc. is required.

Application for Reasonable Accommodation

In general, the process of Reasonable Accommodation (providing accommodations) starts from application by a student. Reasonable accommodations are services that allow students with disability or impairment to participate in their study and research equitably with other students without disability or impairment, which may include modifying methods of learning or evaluations without altering course objectives, content or learning outcomes described in the curriculum policies.

How Reasonable Accommodation is organized

Process of Reasonable Accommodation

(as of April 2021)

Step 1 Application

A process for Reasonable Accommodation (providing accommodations) generally starts from application by a student. To apply, submission of supporting documents such as a certification of diagnosis from your doctor (in English or Japanese), a disability certificate, etc. as well as a copy of your student ID card is required.
We also request that you visit the Accessibility Services Office and complete the application form, “Request for Reasonable Accommodation” (hereinafter referred to as the “Application Form”).
Once you complete the Application Form, you or the Accessibility Services Office, at your request, submits the Application Form to your affiliated department, school or institute.

Step 2 Consultation and Discussion

Our specialist staff at the Accessibility Services Office speaks with you personally based on your Application Form, and the Accessibility Services Office drafts a “Memorandum on Reasonable Accommodation” (hereinafter referred to as the “Memorandum”).
The Accessibility Services Office then submits the Memorandum to your affiliated department, school or institute.
After the Memorandum is submitted, you, faculty or staff of your affiliated department, school or institute, and staff of the Accessibility Services Office discuss the situation regarding your disability or impairment and reasonable accommodations that you request.

Step 3 Decision

After the discussion, your affiliated department, school or institute makes a decision on the reasonable accommodation provided and sends the “Notice of Reasonable Accommodations” to relevant course instructors.

Step 4 Providing Accommodation

After the “Notice of Reasonable Accommodations” is sent to the relevant course instructors, you will speak with each course instructor personally and discuss the details of reasonable accommodation.
Reasonable accommodation is provided in your courses.

Step 5 Follow-Up Services

After the reasonable accommodation has started, the Accessibility Services Office speaks with you, and faculty or staff of your affiliated department, school or institute as needed, to check on how your study and research is progressing. The meeting will be held several times a year.

Accessibility services office TOP

Become a peer supporter

Hokkaido University takes applications for peer supporters at designated times throughout the year. Peer supporters are paid part-time staff (administrative assistant) of the university. Check out the peer support unit web site or come to the Center for more information.

Thinking about visiting us?

If you would like to make a counseling appointment, please call us, email us, or even just drop by in person. Students with appointments are given priority, so we recommend making an appointment.