Well, 10 years from now, I won’t even be in college, I will be working, of course. On this topic of discussion, I bring to you several ways that colleges could communicate to meet the needs of disability students.
For myself, as a deaf student at Canadore College, I find that most colleges today do not know how to meet accessibility needs for students with a disability. They don’t even know the right questions to ask… and that is cause for concern. So what can “we” do to help? What can we as students with a disability do to further explain our accommodations needs in order to succeed throughout the years of college?
First and foremost we must advocate for ourselves quite clearly, explaining our disability to our professors, and the accommodations we require in order to succeed (i.e. extra time for tests, access to PowerPoints, larger fonts, access to notes in braille for the blind, closed captioned videos for the deaf). Unfortunately we as students with disabilities do not always have this degree of accessibility.
So this is what I am hoping to recommend to all colleges in Ontario or colleges worldwide: start by meeting with your students one on one to find out their common needs. They may require ramps all over the college or outside of the college for wheelchair access. They may require closed-captioned videos. For example, last year I required Dragon Naturally Speaking on my laptop.
These needs are crucial to students and it can be frustrating if these accommodations are not provided at a college. Furthermore, students can suffer from anxiety from this as well and tend to stress when accommodation needs are not met. Colleges can reach out to other colleges or businesses that offer these accommodations for students with disabilities and see what resources are available to them at a low cost.
In reference to the future, I am hoping that colleges provide external links or even a social media platform only used for students with a form of disability. This social media platform could provide access to all of the student’s homework and lectures as well as provide for their accommodation needs. For example, if a lecture is offered as a Power Point video, it can be provided with closed-captioning or in braille. The platform could also provide the student with external resources that they may require and offer free access to tests and exams within limited time frames.
This will be a huge--HUGE!--success in 5 or 10 years from now as most students today prefer social media for any form of information provided to them. I am really hoping that this blog gains attention from professors as well as students, to emphasize the value of providing practical accommodations and resources for any form of need among students with disabilities.
See what Canadore offers in Accessibility here: https://www.canadorecollege.ca/support/student-success-services.