Access to Academic Materials for Post-Secondary Students with Print Disabilities

Student Survey Details

Section B: Disability information

This section is comprised of three questions addressing disability type, aids and services used, and funding.

12. Please indicate the nature of your disability/impairment:

Respondents could indicate more than one category for this question. The highest response was from students reporting a learning disability (81), followed by blind/visually impaired (36), mental health disability (14), mobility impaired (9), neurological disability (10), deaf/hard of hearing (2), medical disability (9), and lastly other (10).

Chart 10
Chart 10: Disability/Impairment

Of the five student respondents who checked “other” for this question, one identified as quadriplegic, one noted dyslexia, one student indicated a processing disorder, one wrote “speech/communication,” and one student indicated “temporary mental issues (stress), and mono.”

Disability Profile

The responses to the previous questions regarding disability type are central to this report. The following list of tables presents further analysis outlining the type of disability by type of institution.

Comm Coll22
Tech Voc7

Table 8. Type PSEI & Learning Disability Crosstabulation

Of the 81 students reporting a learning disability, 55.55% attended university, 27.16% a community college, 8.64% a technical/vocational institution, 4.93% attended a CEGEPs, and 3.7% reported other as the institution they attend.

Comm Coll8
Tech Voc2

Table 9. Type PSEI & Blind / Visually Crosstabulation

Of the 35 students who reported that their disability was blind/visually impaired the results for percentages are as follows: university 54.28%, community college 22.85%, CEGEP 11.42%, technical/vocational 5.71%, and other 5.71%.

Comm Coll3
Tech Voc0

Table 10. Type PSEI & Mobility Crosstabulation

Nine students reported a disability relating to mobility. Of these, 66.66% attended a university, and 33.33% attended a community college.

Comm Coll1
Tech Voc0

Table 11. Type PSEI & Mobility Crosstabulation

Ten students reported a neurological disability. Of these, 90% attended university, and 10% attended community college.

Comm Coll1
Tech Voc0

Table 12. Type PSEI & Deaf/Hearing Crosstabulation

Just two students identified their disability as relating to being deaf or hard of hearing. One attended community college, and one attended a CEGEP.

Comm Coll2
Tech Voc0

Table 13. Type PSEI & Mental Health Crosstabulation

Fourteen student respondents reported a mental health disability. A huge 71.42% of these were in attendance at a university. 14.28% attended a community college, while 7.14% attended a CEGEP, or an institution defined as “other”.

Comm Coll5
Tech Voc0

Table 14. Type PSEI & Medical impairment Crosstabulation

Those who reported a medical disability were small in number, with nine respondents in total. Of these, 55.55% attended a community college (the most commonly attended institution type by respondents of all disability types), and 33.33% attended university. 11.11% attended “other”.

Comm Coll4
Tech Voc0

Table 15. Type PSEI & Other Crosstabulation

Those who reported that their disability type was ‘other” attended the institutions in the following order: university 50%, community college 40%, and other institution 10%.

13. On a day-to-day basis, what kinds of aids or services do you use to accommodate your disability?

Chart 11
Chart 11: Aids and services used, 1

Chart 12
Chart 12: Aids and services used, 2

Question 13 is critical to the access issues facing our student respondents. We received the following responses by type of accommodation.

  • 111 Academic accommodations
  • 100 Adaptive technology
  • 88 Alternate formats
  • 20 Drugs and medical supplies
  • 59 Tutor
  • 15 Assistive listening device
  • 10 Communication technology
  • 10 Mobility aids
  • 10 Guide dog/White cane
  • 10 Other
  • 7 Specialized transportation systems
  • 4 No aids or services used
  • 3 Attendant care services
  • 1 Sign Language interpreter

Services identified under “other” included two students who use Kurzweil 3000. One student indicated use of Kurzweil 1000 and JAWS, one mentioned a note taker, and another used an assistant. One respondent listed “study groups, stress management groups, tape recorder.” The next two tables show types of aids and services required by our two largest respondent groups.

Aids & ServicesBlind/Visually Impaired
Alternate formats30
Adaptive tech.31
Acad. Accom.31
Commun tech.4
Sign language1
Attendant care0
Mobility aids2
Drugs medical4
Guide dog/cane9
Listening device4
Special transport2
No aids1

Table 16. Aids & services by Blind / Visually Impaired

Aids & ServicesLearning Disability
Alternate formats50
Adaptive tech.62
Acad. Accom.71
Commun tech.6
Sign language0
Attendant care1
Mobility aids5
Drugs medical11
Guide dog/cane2
Listening device10
Special transport4
No aids4

Table 17. Aids & services by Learning Disability

14. Do you currently receive financial aid in the form of a scholarship, student loan/grant, or academic award?

Chart 13
Chart 13: Receipt of financial aid

Seventy-four (57.18%) students indicated they receive financial aid for their studies, whereas 54 (42.19%) noted they receive no funding. Twenty-nine (37.66%) state in a follow-up question that this funding is sufficient to support access to academic materials in an acceptable alternate format. The number of students who report this funding is either ‘partially’ sufficient, is ‘not’ sufficient, or who ‘do not know’ are equal – 16 (20.78%). Overall, 4.2 out of every 10 students, or just less than one in two, receive financial aid for post-secondary education.

14.b) Identify the scholarship, student loan/grant, or academic award by name:

Of the financial sources listed, most students receive funding from national or provincial loan or grant programs. The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) led with 16 mentions. Three also mentioned Ontario’s bursary for students with disabilities, which is an OSAP program, while one student indicated receiving the province’s technology bursary. Besides the Ontario program, provincial student loans were mentioned in seven other instances.

The Canada Study Grant, which is part of the Canada Student Loans Program, was second-most popular, being mentioned six times, followed by the Canada Student Loans Program with five mentions. The Government of Canada’s Employment Assistance for People with Disabilities (EAPD) program was listed as a source for three students, while two mentioned the federal Millennium Scholarship. Two respondents simply indicated “disability bursary.”

The following were other programs as listed by respondents. Please note, we are providing the responses given to us, recognizing that some funding programs are the same or related to one another.

  • Sydney Credit Union Scholarship
  • Canadian Disability Grant
  • York Faculty of Arts bursary
  • Government of Alberta Disability Supports
  • Action council training allowance (NS)
  • First Nations grant
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Joe Beaton Memorial Scholarship
  • UNB pays for the tuition of visually impaired (legally blind) students
  • Student loan
  • Queen Elizabeth 2
  • Coca-Cola scholarship
  • Gretzky scholarship
  • HRDC
  • Justin Eves
  • Disability grant and student loan
  • Learning disability bursary
  • Bursary for students with high needs
  • Grant for students with Permanent Disabilities
  • Student loan at bank
  • Student loan grant
  • DRES
  • CIBC – youth vision scholarship through Big Brothers and Sisters
  • The provost’s award
  • Student loan and disability grant
  • Fellowship from the university
  • BSWD

14.c) Does this funding support access to academic materials in an acceptable alternate format?

Seventy-four students reported (in the first part of this question) that they received financial support for these studies. Seventy-seven respondents to this part of the question reveal the following statistics: 32 report that the funding is either partially supportive or not at all. Just 29, from a total response rate of 128 (question 14), report that funding supports access to academic materials in an acceptable alternate format.

Chart 14
Chart 14: Funding and support for alternate format materials

If yes, or partial, what does the funding support?

Of the responses provided to Question 14, five students indicated their funding supports computer technology and/or software, while four others mentioned funding for adaptive technology in general. Three people noted they cover the cost of tutors with this funding, while three mentioned specific alternate formats (Braille, texts on tape, and books). Answers provided twice include books, note-takers, cassette recorders and tuition.

Other answers provided were:

  • Transport
  • Equipment
  • Reader
  • Kurzweil/Scanner
  • Visual aids
  • Learning assistant
  • Counselling
  • Exam supervision

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