Schools’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic shows online learning is possible – but students with disabilities still need additional support. By Sherina Harris
This story is part of Learning Curve, a HuffPost Canada series that explores the challenges and opportunities for students, faculty and post-secondary institutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
When universities moved online in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it marked the advancement of something students with disabilities have been requesting for years: more accommodations and support.
It Took A Pandemic To Prove What Students With Disabilities Wanted For Years Is Possible full article
By Tyrone Burke
More than a quarter of first-year students at Carleton self-identify as having a disability, and about 11 per cent have registered with the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities. An additional six per cent of university staff report having some type of disability.
Ensuring that all of our students, staff, and faculty fully participate in Carleton’s life, work, and community means building on a longstanding culture of accessibility and inclusiveness.
“Accessibility is one of Carleton’s core values,” says Boris Vukovic, director of the Research, Education, Accessibility, and Design (READ) Initiative, which aims to establish Carleton as a Centre of Excellence in Accessibility.
New Coordinated Accessibility Strategy Guides Carleton’s Commitment on Campus full article
The group, known as the ‘Ability Co_op’, aims to promote awareness of students with disabilities on campus. Cormac Watson
The group has released a video, produced by student filmmaker Niamh Barry, with students discussing online learning and exams.
Trinity students, alongside the Disability Service, have launched a new co-operative with the aim of introducing mandatory accessibility classes for lecturers and promoting awareness of students with disabilities on campus.
The group, called the Trinity Ability Co_Op, hopes to introduce classes that would be developed by the group alongside the Disability Service, with the aim of educating lecturers on how to deal with students with disabilities.
New Student Group Seeks Mandatory Accessibility Classes for Lecturers full article
By Melissa Boughton
June 5, 2020
Before Mary Fernandez enrolled at Duke University, she was assured she would be provided the accommodations for an equal education to her peers who aren’t blind.
Despite that assurance, Fernandez experienced barriers that permeated every aspect of her educational experience at Duke, according to a news release about a new federal lawsuit against the university.
Blind Student Files Federal Discrimination Lawsuit Against Duke University full article
Digital TrendsMarch 27, 2020
Rachel, an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was actually considering online classes last year before COVID-19 forced many students into online learning.
Rachel, who asked to remain anonymous for her safety, has a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome that affects everything in her body thats made out of collagen and causes damage to her autonomic nervous system, which controls breathing and blood circulation. A flare-up of her symptoms requires her to lie down immediately to quell dizzy spells, which has happened to her during a class.
The Mass Migration to Online Learning is Leaving Disabled Students Behind full article
Renewed Funding Agreement Focuses on Outreach: Stefanson
January 15, 2020
The Manitoba government is investing $120,800 with the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (MLPD) to provide educational and outreach work that will help ensure organizations understand and comply with the accessible employment standard, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.
“Accessibility is important to all Manitobans and a priority for our government,” said Stefanson. “We are pleased to support this work with the MLPD. This funding will help them deliver workshops, share tools and resources, and provide advice and expertise to organizations to promote the development and implementation of accessible employment practices.”
MANITOBA SUPPORTS EDUCATION ON EMPLOYMENT ACCESSIBILITY full article
Settlement is most comprehensive ever to protect college students with mental health disabilities from unnecessary exclusion Palo Alto, CA, October 7, 2019
A coalition of Stanford students and Stanford University have reached a groundbreaking settlement agreement that will result in significant changes to Stanford’s leave of absence policies and practices, all of which will help ensure that students experiencing mental health crises have access to appropriate accommodations and services and are not unnecessarily excluded from campus and housing. Read the settlement agreement below.
Stanford and Students with Mental Health Disabilities Reach Landmark Settlement full article
The project aims to raise awareness of the importance of societal changes for the disabled. October 20, 2019
By: Mideline Bony
In an effort to include people with disabilities which are often excluded from historical records, Carleton University is making a special addition to its library.
The Accessible Canada Act C-81, an act that focuses on creating inclusive and accessibility-friendly communities, workplaces and services, received royal assent on July 21, 2019. That same day, a film crew interviewed several key people, including the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Senator Jim Munson, James van Raalte, Sinead Tuite, Bill Adair and Frank Folino.
Carleton University Creates Video Library Focusing on People With Disabilities full article
Maya Bosdet, 14, uses a wheelchair and wants to attend the same high school her father did Adam van der Zwan · CBC News · Posted: Aug 29, 2019
Maya Bosdet and her mother Lisa say they were disappointed to find Claremont Secondary, the school near Maya’s home, is not accessible for the 14-year-old, who uses a wheelchair.
Maya Bosdet says she’s excited for the beginning of classes next week because it means continuing a family tradition of attending high school at Claremont Secondary, in Saanich, B.C.
But a tour of the school this week has her concerned the building won’t be accessible enough to meet her needs as a wheelchair user.
‘It’s a Basic Human Right:’ High School Should Prioritize Accessibility, Saanich Mother Says full article
For visually impaired students, a lack of accessible learning materials creates enormous barriers to success. By MATTHEW HALLIDAY | AUG 27 2019
When Alycia Pottie was a teenager, she lost most of her sight to a combination of glaucoma and uveitis, a form of ocular inflammation. Shes been legally blind ever since, and for the past four years, as a psychology student at Mount Saint Vincent University, shes relied on the accommodations that many visually impaired Canadian students use: large-print course materials, extra time on exams and, critically, accessible electronic textbooks.
Publishers, Universities Struggle to Provide Timely Access to Accessible Textbooks full article
The new network of regional centers of excellence comes on the heels of Canada’s first national accessibility law. By SPARROW MCGOWAN | AUG 20 2019
Carleton University aims to draw on the power of partnerships to advance accessibility for people with disabilities through the recently announced Canadian Accessibility Network.
“We are pursuing to establish Carleton as a centre of excellence in accessibility,” said Dr. Boris Vukovic, director of Carleton’s READ (Research, Education, Accessibility and Design) Initiative, where the network will be headquartered. Dr. Vukovic said they plan to create a network of regional centers of excellence across the country, drawing on “Carleton’s history of collaborating with partners within and outside of Carleton, locally, nationally and even internationally on accessibility related projects.”
Carleton to Lead Canadian Accessibility Network full article
FAU’s Online College Ranked One of the ‘Best’ Online Schools for Students With Disabilities
SR Education Group, who has been helping students find online colleges since 2004, found the Florida Atlantic University[FAU] to be suitable for students with audio, visual, and learning disabilities. Kimberly Swan, Contributing Writer
July 1, 2019
FAU’s online college was rated among the top colleges in the nation for accommodating students with disabilities, according to a recent ranking.
SR Education Group, which has helped students find online colleges since 2004, released their 2019 Best Online Colleges for Student with Disabilities list last month. The organization split the rankings into best online colleges for students with audio, visual, and learning disabilities.
FAU’s Online College Ranked One of the ‘Best’ Online Schools for Students With Disabilities full article
(Ottawa, April 23, 2019)
The Federal Budget delivered in March included a number of very important measures for college and university students with disabilities that enhance the Canada Student Loans and Grants programs and will be available for disabled students starting in the upcoming fall school year.
Announcements in the budget specific to students with disabilities include a significant increase on the cap on the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities from $8,000 to $20,000 per year. This grant can go towards exceptional education-related services or equipment for eligible students with a permanent disability.
Federal Budget 2019 Contains Good News for Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities full article
By Danise Olague
Originally posted February 22nd, 2018
“Turn on the subtitles, Ms. Olague!”
I clicked on the “CC” button underneath the YouTube video, and the closed-captioning appeared at the bottom of the screen. Suddenly, all my students were looking at the screen with wide eyes, eager to watch the video.
In my first-grade classroom, a third of my students were learning English as a second language. Though my English learners were the initial reason I starting using closed-captioning on videos, I soon realized that students with special needs also benefited. As a public school teacher, I had to constantly evaluate how my teaching practices and materials could better include and empower the vast diversity in my classroom.
eSchool News: 3 Steps to a More Accessible Classroom full article
By Stacey Pusey
April 11th, 2019
Rockville, MD: If we want to help every child reach his or her potential, we need to take the appropriate steps
While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was last reauthorized in 2004, with amendments in 2015, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) updated back in 2008, the demand for accessibility and equality in education continues to grow. Administrators and teachers, who want to help every child reach their potential, can’t afford to wait for new laws and policies. To ensure accessibility, educators need to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of accessibility initiatives, advocate for resources for their students, and anticipate where they need to go next.
eSchool News: 5 Steps to Ensure Accessibility full article
The U of A is the most recent among universities making headlines for evicting a student with mental illness.
Last week, while #BellLetsTalk flooded social media, allowing institutions to do the bare minimum in relaying their support for mental health initiatives, another story made CBC headlines — in 2016 a University of Alberta student was kicked out of residence after a suicide attempt.
Year after year headlines emerge detailing another student losing their home, being forcibly removed from their school, regardless of academic standing, owing to the fact that they have a mental health problem.
Universities: Stop Evicting Students With Mental Health Issues full article
by Scott Loftesness
Berkeley, CA (July 16, 2018) Three more students have joined a precedent-setting class action brought by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) against Stanford University for violating the rights of students with mental health disabilities.
The lawsuit alleges that Stanford routinely responds to student mental health crises by barring students from campus and evicting them from on-campus housing, violating disability laws.
DRA, a national nonprofit legal center, today files an Amended Complaint and Class Certification Motion on behalf of this growing coalition to end the university’s discriminatory policies and practices.
More Students Join Class Action by Mental Health Coalition against Stanford University full article
Universities are under legal pressure to make their websites fully accessible to people with disabilities, but is “fully” even possible? By Lindsay McKenzie
November 6, 2018
Hundreds of colleges and universities across the country are currently under investigation by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights for failing to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.
Universities that receive federal financial aid are required by law to make reasonable accommodations to ensure their web content is accessible to everyone, including, but not limited to, people who are blind, deaf or have limited mobility.
Feds Prod Universities to Address Website Accessibility full article
Post date: Jul 26, 2018
(WASHINGTON)One in five Americans has a disability, and in today’s digital age it’s more important than ever that people with disabilities are able to use technology, from websites to mobile phones to emerging smart devices.
Twenty-eight years after the seminal passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, leading tech companies agree that building and buying products that everyone can use is an imperative, not an afterthought. But a new national study shows that a major barrier many tech companies encounter is that they can’t find job candidates with the accessible tech skills the companies needand 57% report that, as a result, achieving accessibility in their products and services takes increasingly more time and resources.
PEAT and Teach Access Identify Large Skills Gap in the Tech Sector full article
Globe and Mail, August 16, 2018
Afshan Tafler has left no stone unturned in a bid to get help for her son, who has pervasive developmental disorder and who also shows signs of giftedness. The Toronto-based whole-life coach enrolled him in a private school with smaller class sizes and an on-site occupational therapist. She also pays an additional $10,000 a year above the school’s $23,000 tuition for an even smaller, personalized program within the school that tailors the curriculum to his learning style.
The High Cost of Special-Needs Programming full article