Home Accessibility and Accommodations Recommendations for Accessibility and Accommodations

Recommendations for Accessibility and Accommodations

Be aware of different disability models

Having a general understanding of the medical, social, and human rights-based models of disability can help you to identify which models you and others might be using in discussions and programming. Aim to use the social and human rights-based models when thinking about and discussing disability.

Combat ableism and stigma

Find ways in your role to fight ableism when you see it on campus. This means reflecting on your own ableism as well as questioning institutional forms of ableism that are part of campus processes and procedures.

Use respectful language

Ask the person you’re connecting with if they prefer identity-first or person-first language. Either way, make sure you are speaking to them as equals, and without dehumanising or degrading them. Don’t refer to people with disabilities as courageous, brave, or special – they are simply human beings.

Question your assumptions

Ableism can manifest as assumptions made about students who use accommodations or the accommodation process in general. What kind of opinions do you hold about disabled students and are they based in fact or in subjective experience? Try to engage in self-reflection on a regular basis.

Get familiar with the accommodation process at your institution

Each school has a unique process to be followed for obtaining accommodations. Familiarise yourself with your institution’s process, the required documentation, and the support available to students from the disability services office, so that you can refer students effectively.

Practice recognizing struggling students and refer them to support

The duty to inquire means that post-secondary staff have a responsibility to offer support to students who may have a disability. Staff should also be aware that some students may need accommodations, even if they haven’t requested one. Check out More Feet on the Ground for a free online course on how to recognize, respond to, and refer a student to supports for their mental health.

Learn about Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning is an accessibility tool that is available to staff on campus to ensure that programming is within reach for all students. Check out your institution’s disability services office or learning resources to see if they offer any training sessions so you can learn more about UDL.

Employ both accommodation and accessibility strategies

Both accommodation and accessibility are critical to ensuring an equitable learning environment for students with disabilities. Accessibility means that students’ diversity of learning needs will be considered and accounted for, and accommodation ensures that any students who have outstanding needs will be supported.

Guide: PDF Version