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Faculty Awareness and Training in the Post-Secondary Community: An Annotated Bibliography

Memorial University of Newfoundland

St. John's, Newfoundland

Equal Access: A resource book for students, faculty and staff (2nd Edition, 1992)

Guidebook

This 34-page book was released at the time of Memorial's opening of the Glenn Roy Blundon Centre for Students with Disabilities, and begins with a listing of resources available to students through the centre.

A section on visual impairments opens with a definition of legal blindness, and provides guidelines on guiding a blind person, and seating them as they enter an office. The paragraphs that follow provide information - which is similarly included in each subsequent disability-related section - on how the centre can help with accommodations, as well as emphasizing the students' responsibility to contact the centre and professors before the semester begins, to arrange for required accommodations. The Professors Responsibility section strongly suggests providing reading lists as early as possible before the semester, announcing at the start of the semester the intention to be available to help students with disabilities, and agreeing on test and assignment strategies with the student early in the semester. The section closes, as do the other sections, with a list of community resources available - in this case, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

The section on hearing impairments provides a definition and states that about 1.5 million Canadians have some degree of hearing loss. Also pointed out is the fact that, while many can lip-read, there may still be up to 50 per cent non-comprehension of what is being said. As a result, visual cues are important, as is keeping one's hands clear of their face while speaking. Professors are encouraged to complement oral presentations with visuals such as overheads and handouts, provide copies of lecture notes, and outlines before lectures, to allow students with hearing loss to better participate.

The mobility impairments section points out that such impairments include more than just students in wheelchairs, and that consideration must be given to the needs of all students with mobility difficulties. Professors are asked to speak privately to students about their needs, where applicable, and to develop a strategy on assignments and exams.

The learning disabilities section provides a brief definition, and stresses that students may have just one learning disability, or several. Approximately 10 per cent of Canadians, it is stated here, have learning disabilities, and the presence of students with learning disabilities in universities is ever increasing. Professors are reminded that the needs of students with learning disabilities are unique to each individual. That said, certain common accommodations are listed in the text, such as early provision of reading lists to enable students to obtain taped texts where needed, allowing lecture taping, and being flexible with assignments and exams.

A section on chronic illnesses indicates that a wide range of ailments fall into this category, such as cancer, AIDS and Multiple Sclerosis. These illnesses may have various symptoms and effects from treatment, including fatigue and mobility difficulties, which need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The section write-ups here contain good explanations of each category of disability, as well as providing some context through statistical information. While only a small number of accommodation suggestions are given, they are a useful base for instructors to broaden their understanding of the needs of students with disabilities.

The "mini-index to campus services" at the end of the book is a valuable listing of some services that may be of use to the student population at large, as well as students with disabilities. The information at a glance is relevant to instructors' needs to help students with accommodations.

Contact:
Ruth North
The Glenn Roy Blundon Centre
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Thomson Student Centre
Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, Newfoundland A1C 5S7
Phone/TTY: 709-737-2156
Email: Blundon@morgan.ucs.mun.ca
Web site: http://www.mun.ca/student/disabilities


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