Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions

Guiding Principles

In the creation of disability policies within PSE institutions, a number of institutions have highlighted the importance of developing guiding principles which help direct and structure the policies and procedures as well as affirm the institutionís policy goals. Some key guiding principles are listed below:

Full Participation

  • Commit to ensuring full access for students with disabilities in academic pursuits as well as in campus and in community life; people with disabilities should not be discriminated against or denied access on the basis of their disability.
  • Commit to removing barriers to participation for students with disabilities such as physical, attitudinal, financial, and systemic barriers.

Self Advocacy

  • Encourage students with disabilities to be knowledgeable about their needs, effectively communicate those needs, and be proactive in having their needs met. This can be done by outlining student responsibilities in relation to their own disability such as self-identifying to the institution and adopting a cooperative role in requesting and utilizing programs and accommodations. Provide training and/or skill development on compensatory strategies and the use of assistive technology.
  • In this context, self-identification of a disability does not necessarily mean disclosing specifics to the registrar, for example, but simply indicating that there is a disability that requires supports. More in-depth disclosure happens in the disability service providerís office.
  • Part of self-advocacy is being involved with the decisions that have a direct impact on students. Consult and encourage the participation of students with disabilities and people with disabilities in the broader community in the development of any relevant policy, program or procedure.


  • Disability issues are complex, multifaceted and require flexibility and creativity to effectively accommodate students with disabilities. What works for one student may not be appropriate for another. Flexibility means following guidelines while taking in to consideration individual circumstances and differences.


  • Promote an awareness of disability issues and acceptance of people with disabilities to faculty, staff and students and educate them about the PSE institutionís disability policies, programs, and procedures.

Leadership Among Institutions

  • Act as a leader and innovator among PSE institutions in relation to accessibility and disability issues.

Resources Guiding Principles Resources

Back to Enhancing Accessibility Guide