The gap in accommodation coverage for learners with exceptionalities in post-secondary education remains an ongoing concern in Ontario.
To understand why accommodation issues are so important it is helpful to consider that the number of students who graduate from Ontario secondary schools and who have benefited from special education programs has increased significantly over the past several decades.
While recent graduates have benefited from comprehensive and consistent special education programs in Ontario’s publicly funded elementary and secondary schools, once students enter Ontario’s colleges and universities, they encounter a provincial post-secondary system that is inconsistent and significantly different from the special education programming they received in their earlier schools.
For many students, it is considered the “luck-of-the-draw” with respect to how their learning needs will be accommodated in Ontario’s post-secondary institutions.
“In the post-secondary context, academic accommodations are essential to make sure that students with disabilities have equal access to education. Many students who do not receive academic accommodation are unable to complete their education,” says Reema Khawja, counsel for the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).
“There were so many times at Institution A where I felt that my learning needs were not being met and I just wanted to stop and drop-out because it was too difficult to keep up and to stay on track,” says current Ontario post-secondary student Lauren Casciato.