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Navigating Post-Secondary Education with a Disability

Disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill students face numerous barriers as they navigate their way through post-secondary institutions. While progress has been made for the advancement of inclusion for students with disabilities in Canadian universities and colleges, there is still work to be done to reduce additional obstacles faced when accessing post-secondary education.

The Landscape of Accessibility and Accommodation for Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities in Canada, a report by the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), states that “students with disabilities experience an additional ‘cognitive load’ associated with navigating their lived experience with a disability, both within and external to the educational environment. Accessibility within the post-secondary environment must therefore take into consideration the students’ lived experiences external to their education, which may impact their education.”

Accessibility Services in Manitoba Post-Secondary

Academic accommodations are available for students across the province through the institution at which they are registered. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Exam Accommodations
  • Assistance with course load decisions and scheduling needs
  • Physical access to facilities
  • Referral to community support services
  • Support in applying for funding
  • Notetaking assistance
  • Convocation assistance
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Under government legislation, The Accessibility for Manitobans Act mandates that organizations, like universities and colleges, must remove barriers, create access to education, and provide a more encouraging and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff. Arranging for academic support and accommodations can take time and can provide more stress for an individual seeking support. Here is a list of institutional supports:

If you are unsure of what kind of accommodations you may need, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has created an A to Z of Disabilities and Accommodations page, which provides examples of accommodations commonly associated with a variety of disabilities.

For students who do not have a diagnosis but are seeking assistance, please reach out to the Accessibility Office at your institution.

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a picture of multicoloured umbrellas

Creating accessible environments requires consistent learning, universal design, and an ability to integrate all aspects of the student experience. As stated by the NEADS report, “accessibility and inclusion legislation, policies, practices, and guidelines must recognize the evolving nature of disability and accessibility for individuals over time (particularly for individuals with chronic, episodic and degenerative disabilities), and in particular, the evolving nature of the interaction among disability, technology, and the learning and workplace environments.”

Campus Manitoba is a consortium of Manitoba’s public universities and colleges. Through collaborative projects and shared services, we facilitate student mobility and expand access to post-secondary programs for students in Manitoba. In addition to campusmanitoba.ca, our websites include ecoursesmb.casetyourcourse.ca, and openedmb.ca.

Published On: August 10, 2021|Categories: Educational Technology, Online Learning|Tags: , |

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