Accommodations are more than ramps. Disability justice requires accommodations and barrier removal for all types of disabilities. All learners can benefit from Universal Design Learning systems (flexibility, different forms of communication through visual, oral, videos, powerpoints, test accommodations (s. 8.3). But people with “invisible” disabilities have a right to accommodations.
“Allowing a student with a hidden disability () to struggle academically or socially when all that is needed for success are appropriate accommodations and explicit instruction is no different than failing to provide a ramp for a person in a wheelchair”.
This quote is by Joe Becigneul, board chair at the Greater St Albert Catholic Schools in Alberta, Canada, and I think it couldn’t be more true.
- At the Ontario Human Rights Commission policy guidelines www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-accessible-education-students-disabilities
5.1.1 Sometimes seemingly neutral rules, standards, policies, practices or requirements have an “adverse effect” on students with disabilities.
Example: A university policy of awarding scholarships only to students in full-time attendance would likely have an adverse effect on students whose disabilities only permit them to attend school on a part-time basis.
Many laws, requirements or standards are put in place without considering the unique needs or circumstances of students with disabilities. Education providers have a responsibility to understand where these may have a discriminatory effect, and to remove this effect where it occurs.