Announcing NEADS' 2004 National Conference by ihm18500


									Newsletter 56
Spring 2004
                National Educational Association Of Disabled Students

Announcing NEADS’ 2004 National Conference
                               The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is
                               pleased to announce our upcoming conference: Right On! The conference
                               will take place at the Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites, in Ottawa, Ontario,
                               Canada, from November 12th – 14th, 2004. The Delta (361 Queen Street)
                               is located in the heart of downtown, and close to everything that makes
                               the capital one of the country’s most popular tourist and convention
                               destinations. Hotel rooms are also available at the Radisson.
                               Hosted by the NEADS national office and a conference planning
                               committee of the Board of Directors, chaired this year by Jason Mitschele,
                               this event will be an exciting opportunity for: students, consumers, advo-
                               cates, service providers, employers and all others interested in exploring
                               key issues of concern to our members.
 Right On!               The meeting will serve as a dynamic and vital forum of information
November 12 –14, 2004    exchange - one that will emphasize strategies and successes, strengthen
                         existing partnerships and forge new ones. The theme of the 2004 confer-
                                                 ence – Right On! relates to various rights that our
Contents                                         members value and promote including: human
                                                 rights, access rights, equality rights, education
Announcing NEADS’ Conference 2004           1    rights, employment rights.
Conference 2004 Call for Speakers                2     We will open with a reception on Friday evening,
                                                       November 12th, which provides an excellent
Access to Academic Materials Project             4
                                                       opportunity for conference participants to get
Announcing the NEADS Online Work System          5     to know each other. Workshops and plenary ses-
                                                       sions will run all day Saturday, November 13th,
NEADS releases Access to Success                 5
                                                       concluding Sunday, November 14th at 4:30 p.m.
Ottawa Student Forum                             6     Our Annual General Meeting and the Board elec-
                                                       tions will be held on Sunday.
Halifax Student Forum                            7
                                                       The conference will function on a single-track
Update from the Adaptech Research Network        8
                                                       format, with delegates participating in three
Why a United Nations (UN) Convention?           10     workshops and interactive discussions. The con-
                                                       ference will start and end with plenary sessions.
The Ability Edge Program                        12
                                                       The opening plenary will introduce the confer-
Profile: Mahadeo Sukhai                         15     ence theme and format, the closing plenary will
                                                       bring everyone together to draw the conference
Board of Directors’ Election                    16
                                                       to a close.
Board of Directors’ Nomination Form             17
                                                       There will also be an area in the hotel devoted to
Speaker Registration Form                       18     exhibits, with employers, vendors, government
                                                       programs, and non-governmental organizations
NEADS’ Conference 2004 Registration Form        19
                                                       invited to set up displays. Please contact the
NEADS Application Form                          20     national office for more details on the exhibit
                                                       space, or consult the Web site.
Board of Directors                              20

Newsletter 56   Spring 2004                                                                             1
    Within the context of the conference, delegates          If you would like more details about the confer-
    will address NEADS’ project work, policy devel-          ence you can contact us at: NEADS, Rm. 426
    opment, and ongoing advocacy on behalf of the            Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario,
    membership. It will also provide members with an         K1S 5B6, Canada, by telephone (613) 526-8008
    opportunity to elect a Board of Directors to govern      (Voice and TTY), by fax (613) 520-3704 (Atten-
    the Association for the next two years.                  tion Frank Smith, National Coordinator), and by
    The cost of registration is set at $90.00 CDN for
    student delegates and $150.00 CDN for all oth-           We are encouraging schools to sponsor student
    ers. An early registration fee of $70.00 CDN for         delegates to attend the conference. Hope to see
    students and $130.00 CDN for all others will be          you in our nation’s capital in November!
    offered to those who register and pay on or by
    October 8th. This payment includes access to all
    conference proceedings, the opening reception on         Conference 2004 Call for Speakers
    Friday evening, the conference banquet on Satur-         The National Educational Association of Disabled
    day night and a two-year NEADS membership.               Students invites interested individuals to serve on
    The Delta Hotel is offering a conference rate for        one of three workshop panels at our next confer-
    delegates of $115.00 per night, single and double        ence entitled: “Right On!” which will take place
    occupancy (not including tax). Those interested          at the Delta Hotel and Suites, Ottawa, Ontario,
    in attending can book, and pay for, their own ac-        Canada, on November 13th to 14th, 2004. Speak-
    commodation under the conference room block              ers will include students, consumers, advocates,
    by calling the hotel directly at (613) 238-6000 or       professionals and anyone else interested in the
    toll free (800) 268-1133.When booking, mention           conference themes.
    the name of the Association, the conference title
                                                             Theme 1: Human Rights
    and the reservation file name G0NEA7. Wheel-
                                                             The World Health Organization estimates that at
    chair accessible rooms are available upon request
                                                             least 10% of the world’s population, 600 million
    at the same rate.
                                                             people, have some form of disability. As more
    Delegates can also book rooms at the Radisson            people with disabilities are seeking to enforce their
    Hotel, which is located just down the street from        right to full-citizenship, education and entry into
    the Delta. A limited number of rooms are available       the work force become key issues in this pursuit.
    at the Radisson (402 Queen Street), for $99.00 per       People with disabilities continue to be faced with
    night, single and double occupancy (not includ-          barriers to full participation in society. These bar-
    ing tax). Those interested can book (and pay for)        riers impede fundamental access to education and
    their own accommodation under the conference             employment subjecting persons with disabilities
    room block by calling the hotel directly at (613)        to discrimination, poverty, sub-standard housing
    236-1133 or toll free (800) 557-5565. When book-         and care, and even abuse. Barriers such as these
    ing, mention the name of the association, and the        are systemic, socio-economic, attitudinal, cul-
    event. Wheelchair accessible rooms are available         tural and physical by nature. Failure to address
    upon request.                                            and remove such barriers seriously violates the
                                                             rights to equality and human dignity shared by
    Conference registration forms, along with infor-
    mation and nomination forms for those interested
    in running for a position on the NEADS Board of          The Human Rights workshop will explore both
    Directors, are available in this newsletter and on-      the domestic and international environments in
    line at Materials           order to address crucial issues relating to access to
    can also be obtained by contacting our national          education and employment for all students with
    office. Golden Planners, the event management            disabilities.
    company, is handling conference registration.
                                                             The Human Rights panel will consist of lawyers,
    We are pleased to announce that BMO Financial            academics, students, advocates and a breadth of
    Group has come on board as the leading sponsor           people experienced in the human rights field.
    of the 2004 conference. For more information on
                                                             Key questions to be addressed include:
    BMO, and the various levels of sponsorship that
                                                             1. Do we have a right to an education? What are
    are available, visit the NEADS Web site.
                                                                the limits on this right?
                                                             2. Do we have the right to accommodation? What
                                                                is involved in this right for employers and post-
                                                                secondary institutions, to accommodate people
                                                                with disabilities?

2                                                         National Educational Association Of Disabled Students
3. What is meant by “undue hardship” as a key           3. Persons who are knowledgeable of the barriers
   concept in anti-discrimination legislation?             to the participation of students with disabilities
   What are the limits of this term?                       in extra-curricular activities.
4. How do students with disabilities enforce their
   rights?                                              Theme 3: Access to Academic Materials for
                                                        Print-Disabled Post-Secondary Students
5. What is the UN Convention to protect and
                                                        Access to information is a fundamental right of all
   promote the rights and dignity of people with
                                                        Canadians. Since only three percent of the world’s
                                                        literature is converted into multiple formats, post-
6. What protections are available for people with       secondary students with print-disabilities are
   disabilities internationally?                        dependent on programs, service providers and
                                                        librarians to obtain the information and materi-
Theme 2: Inclusion in Campus Life                       als they need to meet their course requirements.
The benefits of involvement in extra-curricular ac-     Program completion at the post-secondary level
tivities have been well established for students. It    is the most direct way to ensure employability
is essential that students with disabilities have op-   and integration for people with disabilities into
portunities to participate fully in and benefit from    the economic and social mainstream of Canadian
all aspects of campus life, including involvement       society.
in campus-based extra-curricular activities.
                                                        In December, 2003 the National Educational
In 2004 NEADS began work on a project to                Association of Disabled Students began work on a
promote the inclusion of post-secondary stu-            new project initiative: Access to Academic Materi-
dents with disabilities in college and university-      als for Print-Disabled Post-Secondary Students: A
sponsored campus activities. This project, sup-         Partnership of Users and Service Providers. This
ported through funding from the Government              sixteen month project is funded in part by the
of Canada, aims to provide activity programmers         Government of Canada’s Social Development
and student union executives with the tools they        Partnerships Program.
need to organize activities that are accessible to
all students.                                           The National Educational Association of Disabled
                                                        Students (NEADS), is working on this initiative
We are looking for several speakers who would be        along with the Learning Disabilities Association
willing to share their personal and/or professional     of Canada (LDAC), and the Council on Access to
experience and expertise in this area.                  Information for Print-Disabled Canadians. The
Topics we will explore include:                         overall goal is to provide French and English post-
1. What are the current barriers to the participa-      secondary students, who cannot access academic
   tion of students with disabilities in campus
                                                             INSTRUCTIONS AND DEADLINE
2. What steps can campus programmers and
   student unions take to reduce or eliminate                Expressions of interest should be no more than 500 words
   barriers?                                                 and must clearly state which workshop theme you are
                                                             interested in, and the specific issues that you will address
3. What can students with disabilities do to ensure          in your presentation. Additionally, each speaker is asked
   their place in the out-of-classroom experiences           to include a résumé.
   on their campuses?
                                                             Submissions and presentations are encouraged in either
4. What are some examples of model inclusion
                                                             English or French, and we invite international submissions.
   of students with disabilities in campus activi-
                                                             We are able to accept material in print, on disk or by e-mail.
                                                             In case a speaker drops out, we will choose an alternate
5. What are some examples of model students                  from the submissions received.
   who have participated in campus activities?
                                                             Due to limited funding, only student members of panels
Potential speakers might include:                            can be considered for financial support.
1. Students with disabilities having successfully
   participated in extra-curricular activities on            Deadline for receipt of all material is Friday, August 13th.
   campus;                                                   Submissions will be reviewed by the Conference Planning
                                                             Committee, and those selected will be notified over the
2. Activity programmers who have developed                   summer. If possible, please include any additional contact
   model strategies for including students with              information for the summer period. The Speaker Registra-
   disabilities in their activities; and                     tion Form is on page 18.

Newsletter 56   Spring 2004                                                                                                   3
    materials using conventional print formats, with
    the information, services and materials they need          Access to Academic Materials for
    to meet their education and career goals.
                                                               Print-Disabled Post-Secondary
    This interactive conference workshop will provide
    delegates with an opportunity to learn about the
    research and preliminary findings of a survey that         We are pleased to announce that on December 8,
    will be implemented across Canada in September             2003 the National Educational Association of Dis-
    2004, and to contribute their insights to the issues       abled Students (NEADS) began work on a new
    at hand. A workshop panel will include members             project initiative: Access to Academic Materials
    of the project Steering Committee, students with           for Print-Disabled Post-Secondary Students: A
    print-based disabilities, librarians and disability        Partnership of Users and Service Providers. This
    service providers.                                         sixteen month project is funded in part by the
                                                               Government of Canada’s Social Development
    The following key questions will be addressed in           Partnerships Program.
    the Access to Academic Materials workshop:
                                                               Access to information is a fundamental right of all
    1. How are academic materials in alternate for-            Canadians. Since only three percent of the world’s
       mats being delivered to Canada’s post-second-           literature is converted into multiple formats, post-
       ary students?                                           secondary students with print-disabilities are de-
    2. What are the strengths of this delivery system?         pendent on programs, service providers and librar-
       What are the weaknesses?                                ians to obtain the information and materials they
                                                               need to meet their course requirements.
    3. What role do different groups play in improv-
       ing the delivery of these materials: students,          Program completion at the post-secondary level
       librarians, service providers, non-governmental         is the most direct way to ensure employability
       organizations, Library and Archives Canada,             and integration for people with disabilities into
       publishers?                                             the economic and social mainstream of Canadian
                                                               society. Thus, it is critical that service delivery
    4. Are there model programs in this area?                  models in this area be enhanced to support post-
    5. Does computer technology level the playing              secondary students with disabilities to access
       field and present opportunities for improved            academic materials in formats of choice.
       access in the future?                                   The project was developed as a partnership be-
    6. How can NEADS play a role in the future in              tween the National Educational Association
       addressing access to alternate format materi-           of Disabled Students (NEADS), the Council on
       als as a fundamental right in post-secondary            Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadi-
       education.                                              ans and the Learning Disabilities Association of
                                                               Canada (LDAC). NEADS is the lead organization
    Potential speakers might include:                          and the association will implement the objectives,
    1. Students who have print-based disabilities              manage the project and produce the reports. The
       and require alternate formats in their post-            overall goal is to provide French and English post-
       secondary studies.                                      secondary students, who cannot access academic
                                                               materials using conventional print formats, with
    2. Librarians and service providers who are in-            the information, services and materials they need
       volved in the acquisition of these materials,           to meet their education and career goals.
       working on behalf of students.
                                                               The project is being guided by a Steering Com-
    3. Student leaders who run disabled students’              mittee which includes the following representa-
       groups and/or access committees involved in             tives:
       addressing the issue of the availability of acces-
       sible materials on their campuses.                      • Louis Chabot, Vice-President External, Asso-
                                                                 ciation québécoises des étudiants ayants des
    4. Experts on the benefits of academic materials             incapacités au postsecondaire (AQEIPS)
       in the format of choice to the success of per-
       sons with disabilities in college and university        • Robin Drodge, Newfoundland Rep. NEADS
       education.                                              • Mary Anne Epp, Director, Library Contract
    5. Publishers who produce materials that are used            Services, Langara College
       in higher education.                                    • Catherine Fichten, Co-Director, Adaptech
                                                                 (Dawson College)

4                                                           National Educational Association Of Disabled Students
• Leo Bissonnette, Member, Alternate For-
  mat Committee, Canadian Association of               Announcing the NEADS Online Work
  Disability Service Providers in Post-Secondary
                                                       System (NOWS)
  Education (Coordinator, Office for Disability
  Issues, Concordia University)                        By Chris Gaulin

• Gladys Loewen, President, Canadian Asso-             The National Educational Association of Dis-
  ciation of Disability Service Providers in Post-     abled Students (NEADS) is pleased to announce
  Secondary Education                                  the launch of the NEADS Online Work System
• Pauline Mantha, Executive Director, Learning
  Disabilities Association of Canada                   Are you a post-secondary student or recent
                                                       graduate with a disability looking for work? If
• Rachael Ross, President and British Columbia         your answer is yes, you now have a new job web
  Rep, NEADS                                           site at your disposal. Located at,
• Jutta Treviranus, Director, Resource Centre for      the system provides a unique bilingual channel
  Academic Technology, University of Toronto           for hiring companies to post employment and
                                                       internship opportunities specifically for qualified
• Elizabeth Walcot-Gayda, Member, Council on           Canadian post-secondary students and graduates
  Access to Information for Print Disabled Cana-       with disabilities. Students can upload their resu-
  dians                                                més, browse and search for employment oppor-
• Trisha Lucy, Librarian, Library and Archives         tunities, and apply online. Opportunities include
  Canada (Project Support)                             summer, part-time work, internship programs and
                                                       full-time careers.
The project’s consultations will include meetings
with the Steering Committee and a workshop held        For students or recent graduates NOWS is a service
in conjunction with the November 2004 NEADS            that allows you to promote your skills and talents
national conference. The conference, called Right      to progressive employers seeking candidates with
On!, will be held in Ottawa from November 12-14,       disabilities for available positions. It provides em-
2004. Jason Mitschele, NEADS’ Ontario Rep. and         ployers access to the only Canadian searchable
our member on the Council of Canadians With            database of its kind of post-secondary students
Disabilities’ national Council, is the Chairperson     and graduates with disabilities looking for work.
of our 2004 conference.                                If you would like more information on NOWS or
There will be a number of deliverables of the Ac-      wish to register, log on to or con-
cess to Academic Materials project. A detailed         tact Chris Gaulin toll-free at 1-877-670-1256 or
report will address (a) how the services and ma-       by email at
terials may be better coordinated and used; (b) the    Since 1986, the National Educational Association of
identification of significant gaps in the process of   Disabled Students has been Canada’s consumer-based
supporting the academic materials requirements         cross-disability organization advocating for full access to
of post-secondary students with print-disabilities     post-secondary education and employment opportunities
and (c) recommendations of next steps that will        for students and graduates with disabilities. Visit our web
be identified and put into context. Project reports    site at to learn more about the organiza-
and information will be made available through a       tion and its projects. This project is funded in part by the
Web site developed by the NEADS Web team with          Government of Canada.
links to the Council and LDAC web sites and to
many important stakeholders including publish-
ers. An online directory will be developed featur-
                                                       NEADS releases important new
ing effective models of service delivery, categories
of materials that can be shared, and best practices    guide for employers: Access to
related to training materials and methods avail-
able in Canada.
                                                       By Steven Estey
For further information on the project contact
our office: National Educational Association of        In November of 2003 the Association released
Disabled Students, Rm. 426 Unicentre, Carleton         its most recent publication, entitled Access to
Unicentre, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, tel: (613)        Success: A Guide for Employers. In introducing
526-8008, ;                 the new book, NEADS’ President, Rachael Ross,

Newsletter 56   Spring 2004                                                                                           5
    “We know there are a large number of quali-
    fied students and graduates with disabilities out          Ottawa Student Leadership and
    there – many of them are members of our associa-
                                                               Employment Forum – September
    tion. Clearly, with so many skilled and educated
    people looking for work, and a large number of             2003
    employers keen to hire disabled people, but often          By Frank Smith
    unable to find applicants to fill positions, some
    sort of a gap exists. It is this issue that has moti-      The city of Ottawa played host to the third of
    vated NEADS to produce Access to Success: A Guide          four NEADS Student Leadership and Employ-
    for Employers, and we hope that it is one small            ment Forums that were held in 2003. The forum
    step toward bridging the gap between enthusiastic          took place on Friday, September 26, 2003, at the
    job candidates with disabilities and progressive           Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites. The event was at-
    employers, willing to bring these individuals into         tended by about 45 students, service providers,
    their workplaces.”                                         and industry representatives. Participants were
                                                               from local colleges and universities including
    The publication is the result of a year’s work in          Carleton University, University of Ottawa and
    consulting disabled students, employers, service           Algonquin College.
    providers and employment equity specialists
    across the country. Beginning with our last con-           Steve Estey provided welcoming remarks, while
    ference, in November 2002, and stretching over             NEADS’ Ontario Representative Jason Mitschele
    a period of 12 months, NEADS staff and board               acted as Chair for the day-long forum. We were
    members organized a series of one-day consul-              pleased to welcome representatives from other
    tations – Student Leadership and Employment                non-governmental organizations as speakers at
    Forums – across the country to discuss these mat-          the event and also as participants in the group
    ters and share information with students and               discussions. Representatives from both Line 1000
    employers alike. A product of these forums, this           Placement Services and the Neil Squire Founda-
    new publication seeks to share the information             tion were in attendance. Canada Post Corporation
    and advice from the consultations.                         sent two members of its equity and diversity team
                                                               to observe the workshop presentations and to par-
    Readers will gain a clear sense of what we found           ticipate in the small group discussions. Health
    as we crossed the country talking to both post-            Canada had three representatives from its team,
    secondary students and recent graduates with dis-          including speaker Mario D’Arcy.
    abilities, as well as a host of employers. Readers
    will find an interesting and useful mix of perspec-        In keeping with the format of the 2003 NEADS
    tives on employment issues, as well as a variety of        Student Leadership and Employment Forums,
    suggestions for ways of overcoming barriers.               the first half of the day concentrated on issues of
                                                               student leadership, while the afternoon discus-
    Forty pages in length, the guide is divided into           sion focused on employment-related issues of rel-
    5 main sections: employer perspectives on hir-             evance to students with disabilities. In the morn-
    ing people with disabilities; profiles of successful       ing, participants were treated to presentations by
    job seekers with disabilities; a list of employment        panelists Chris Gaulin and Michael Sanford of
    related agencies; a review of resources available          the NEADS’ CampusNet project; Shaun Vollick,
    for employers interested in hiring people with             Coordinator, Carleton Disability Awareness Cen-
    disabilities; and an FAQ section which recalls the         tre; Mahadeo Sukhai, Vice-President Internal of
    key questions and answers we have exchanged                the Graduate Students’ Union, University of To-
    with Canadian employers.                                   ronto; Desiree Villeneuve, President, Association
    The book is available on-line at in           for Special Needs, University of Ottawa and Bill
    HTML and PDF versions in English and French.               Holder, Staff Lawyer, ARCH. Speaking in the after-
    A limited number of hard copies can be ordered             noon on the topic of employment were Maryon
    from the NEADS office in Ottawa.                           Urquhart, Director of Customer Relations, Ability
                                                               Edge/Career Edge; Susan Forster, National Project
                                                               Manager, Navigating the Waters, Canadian Asso-
                                                               ciation of Independent Living Centres; Stephen
                                                               McDonnell, Recruiter, People With Disabilities,
                                                               BMO – Bank of Montreal; and Mario D’Arcy,
                                                               National Recruitment Director, Health Canada;
                                                               and Michael Hendricks, Assistant Executive
                                                               Director with Lana McGee, Youth Employment
                                                               Counsellor, Line 1000 Placement Services.

6                                                           National Educational Association Of Disabled Students
                                                       Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick
                                                       to represent their school. Steve Estey provided
                                                       welcoming remarks and his perspective on “stu-
                                                       dent leadership” while NEADS’ Nova Scotia Rep-
                                                       resentative Jennifer Finlay acted as Chair for the
                                                       day-long forum.
                                                       We were pleased to welcome representatives from
                                                       other non-governmental organizations as speakers
                                                       at the event and also as participants in the group
                                                       discussions. Jennison Asuncion, Manager of the
                                                       NEADS Web site, also attended the forum.
                                                       In keeping with the format of the 2003 NEADS
                                                       Student Leadership and Employment Forums,
The panel presentations provided valuable infor-
                                                       the first half of the day concentrated on issues of
mation to students in attendance on how to be
                                                       student leadership, while the afternoon discus-
an effective leader while in school, and how to
                                                       sion focused on employment-related issues of rel-
translate the skills learned through student leader-
                                                       evance to students with disabilities. In the morn-
ship into success in the world of work.
                                                       ing, participants were treated to presentations by
The Ottawa forum also featured displays from           panelists Kim Cooper, Coordinator, Nova Scotia
Canada Post, Bank of Montreal (BMO), Ability           League for Equal Opportunities; Angela Bowie,
Edge/Career Edge and the federal government’s          Executive Vice-President, Dalhousie Students’
Science and Technology Ability Recruitment/            Union (Student Accessibility Fund); Joel Miller,
Retention (STARR) initiative.                          Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association, Stu-
                                                       dents With Disabilities Representative; Stephen
NEADS would like to thank panelists and partici-
                                                       Noel, Employment Development Representa-
pants in the Ottawa event for ensuring another
                                                       tive, Student Employment Centre, Saint Mary’s
successful forum. The Association acknowledged
                                                       University; and Steve Estey, Project Consultant,
the funding support for the event from the
                                                       NEADS. In the afternoon, speakers addressed the
Government of Canada on its Web site, in pro-
                                                       subjects of employment and the transition from
motional mailings and e-mails and during the
                                                       school to work. Panelists included: Chris Gaulin
                                                       and Michael Sanford, Consultants, CampusNet
The report on the NEADS Ottawa Student                 Project; Maryon Urquhart, Director of Customer
Leadership and Employment Forum has been               Relations, Ability Edge/Career Edge; Andy Cox,
prepared by InfoLink Consultants with support          Employment Facilitator, The Work Bridge; and
from our project team and is available in both         Stephen McDonnell, Recruiter, People with Dis-
official languages on the Association’s Web site:      abilities, BMO - Bank of Montreal.
                                                       The panel presentations provided valuable infor-
                                                       mation to students in attendance on how to be
                                                       an effective leader while in school, and how to
Halifax Student Leadership and                         translate the skills learned through student leader-
Employment Forum – October 2003                        ship into success in the world of work.
By Frank Smith                                         The Halifax forum also featured displays from
                                                       Ability Edge/Career Edge and BMO - Bank of
The fourth NEADS Student Leadership and Em-
                                                       Montreal. The report on the NEADS Halifax Stu-
ployment Forum of 2003 took place on Friday,
                                                       dent Leadership and Employment Forum has been
October 24th at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel
                                                       prepared by InfoLink Consultants with support
in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The event included the
                                                       from our project team and is available on the
participation of about 40 students and graduates
                                                       Association’s Web site,
with disabilities, service providers and industry
representatives. Iris Peoples of the Human Re-         NEADS would like to thank panelists and partici-
sources Development Canada’s Halifax office            pants in the Halifax event for ensuring another
was in attendance. Participants were from local        successful forum.
colleges and universities including Nova Scotia
Community College, Saint Mary’s University and
Dalhousie University. A large group of students
and service providers made the trip from Mount

Newsletter 56    Spring 2004                                                                                  7
    Computers, Academic Success, And Students With Disabilities On Campus:
    An Update from the Adaptech Research Network
    By Maria Barile, Jennison V. Asuncion, Catherine S. Fichten      software, and alternate mice. Although almost
    Adaptech Research Network, Dawson College, Montréal              half of the sample reported needing adaptations,
                                                                     only a quarter of the sample used these.
    With the start of the new year, the Adaptech
    Research Network wanted to let NEADS members                     Why did students who needed adaptations not
    know what we have been up to and where we are                    use these? The main reason mentioned was cost,
    going with our research. First, we will update you               a barrier also cited by service providers for when
    on our ongoing research into the use of computer                 equipment is not available on campus. Another
    technologies by Canadian college and university                  commonly noted reason was lack of information:
    students with disabilities. Here, we will describe               about what products exists, where to get them,
    an exciting new study which we are starting this                 and what subsidy programs exist to help students
    year. Second, we will describe a recently com-                   and institutions defray the cost.
    pleted study where we moved our focus from
                                                                     In response to these findings we compiled a listing
    computers and technology to academic success
                                                                     of free and inexpensive hardware and software
    by college students with disabilities.
                                                                     alternatives that work in English and French that
    Computer and information technologies have                       might be useful. Some of these are demos, while
    changed the way Canadian colleges and universi-                  others are fully functional. In no way are we sug-
    ties deliver education and the way students learn.               gesting that these should replace the higher end
    Students today benefit from an array of new tools.               adaptive hardware and software currently on the
    Email is a good case in point. Now, many students                market. However, as a short-term solution or to
    can email their assignment to the professor at                   experiment with different adaptive technologies,
    the last possible minute. This was not possible                  we think they are a good place to start. If you are
    20 years ago. Other examples are online course                   interested in checking these out, go to our down-
    registration and library research.                               loads page (in English: http://adaptech.dawsonc
                                                            and in French: http:
    Students with disabilities and service providers on
    campus have tried to ensure that issues of acces-
                                                                     If you know of any products that you think we
    sibility are an integral part of the policies of their
                                                                     should look at, please let one of us know about it
    educational institutions. Doing this would save
                                                                     ( We are continually
    time, cost, and frustration for all. Have Canadian
                                                                     on the lookout for products that work well and
    universities and colleges learned this lesson? Has
                                                                     student recommendations are our best source of
    this lesson transferred to the new technology-rich
                                                                     “free and inexpensive technologies.” Many thanks
    campuses that offer course ePacks, web based
                                                                     to Chris Gaulin, NEADS’ own Website Architect,
    registration and various forms of Internet-based
                                                                     who continues to help test and update our grow-
    learning activities? Do students with disabilities
                                                                     ing list of software.
    have the same access to campus based computer
    and information technologies? Are colleges and                   When it comes to computer technologies, our
    universities across the country proactive in ensur-              studies have also identified problem areas on cam-
    ing access and, if so, how is this done?                         pus. For example, various forms of eLearning, such
                                                                     as CD-ROMs, math software and websites used by
    During the past seven years the Adaptech Research
                                                                     faculty are frequently inaccessible. Moreover, pro-
    Network ( has partnered with
                                                                     fessors are poorly informed about the computer
    NEADS in conducting several studies on the acces-
                                                                     needs of students with disabilities. Finally, many
    sibility of computer and information technologies
                                                                     general use computer labs on Canadian campuses
    by post-secondary students with various disabili-
                                                                     are not equipped with adaptive technologies.
    ties. We surveyed both post-secondary students
                                                                     To better understand what is happening, what
    as well as service providers on campus.
                                                                     works well and what needs improvement, we are
    For example, one of our studies showed that not                  examining the accessibility of various aspects of
    only are students with disabilities heavy users of               eLearning on Canadian college and university
    computers, but that almost half of a large sample                campuses. This is an Adaptech research project
    of Canadian students with disabilities (number-                  going into high gear early in 2004.
    ing 725) said they needed adaptations to use a
    computer effectively. This referred to such things
    as screen magnification, captioning, dictation

8                                                                 National Educational Association Of Disabled Students
Research on academic outcomes:                          the time required to graduate: between 1990 and
An excellent report card for students                   1998 students with a disability required approxi-
with disabilities                                       mately one semester more to graduate than did
Recently, the Adaptech Research Network turned          their non-disabled peers.
its attention to a new area. We looked at the aca-
                                                        The situation was similar for the other factors
demic performance of students with disabilities at
                                                        investigated: differences were not statistically
Dawson College, our home base. Dawson College
                                                        significant. For example, when it came to grade
is a CEGEP in Montreal. It is a junior-community
                                                        point averages, students with disabilities received
college similar to colleges elsewhere in Canada.
                                                        an average grade of 66.3% in their first semester
Our research, which covers a twelve-year period
                                                        compared to an average of 65.9% for their non-
between 1990 and 2002, investigated questions
                                                        disabled peers. With regard to first semester course
such as: Do students with disabilities graduate at
                                                        completion rates (percentage passed courses), the
the same rates as their nondisabled peers? What
                                                        rate for students with disabilities was 81.2% versus
are their grades like? What factors facilitate their
                                                        80.5% for their non-disabled peers. Finally, the
success? To answer such questions we looked at
                                                        success rate for completion of first semester cours-
the following four academic outcome measures:
                                                        es was 49.2% for students with disabilities versus
(1) graduation rates, (2) first semester grade-point
                                                        49.4% for their non-disabled peers. In general,
average, (3) course completion rates (percentages
                                                        the grades of students with learning disabilities
of pass/fail), and (4) success rates (percentage
                                                        and/or attention deficit disorder were lower than
of students completing all their first semester
                                                        that of the entire group of students with disabili-
                                                        ties. However, their overall performance was not
Dawson College is located in downtown Montre-           statistically different from the performance of
al. It has a population of approximately 7500 full      students without a disability.
time students. The college provides two academic
                                                        For more information about the findings, check
programs: a three year technology program (e.g.,
                                                        out the full report by Jorgensen et al. (2003) on
nursing, radiation oncology, industrial design),
                                                        our web page. It is available in both Adobe Acrobat
and a two year pre-university program (e.g., so-
cial science, creative arts literature and languages,
                                                        EA_2k3.pdf) and Word (http://adaptech.dawsonc
The transcripts of 653 students who were regis-
                                                        What do these numbers tell us? On average, stu-
tered with the Services for Students with Disabili-
                                                        dents with disabilities graduate at the same rate
ties office at Dawson College, were compared to
                                                        as non-disabled students. Academically speaking,
the transcripts of 41,357 students who did not
                                                        their grades are on par with those of their non-
register for such services (their non-disabled
                                                        disabled peers. Can people with disabilities make
peers). Of the sample of students registered to
                                                        it in college? The Dawson data very clearly say,
receive disability related services from the col-
                                                        “Yes, they can!”
lege, 53% had learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia)
and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADD/ADHD). The remaining 47% had visual,
auditory, speech, mobility, psychiatric or medi-
cal impairments.
Results show that the two groups essentially had
the same graduation rates. Within pre-university
programs, 55.0% of the students with disabili-
ties who began their studies between 1990 and
1998 received (or were eligible to receive) their
diploma, compared to 54.5% of their nondisabled
peers registered during the same time period. For
the technology programs, 53.2% of the students
with disabilities beginning their training between
1990 and 1997 received (or were eligible to re-
ceive) their diploma. The graduation rate for their
non-disabled peers in the technology programs
during the same period was 51.7%. These differ-
ences were not statistically significant. There was
a difference between the groups when it came to

Newsletter 56   Spring 2004                                                                                    9
     Why a United Nations (UN) Convention?
     By Steven Estey

     The World Health Organization estimates that at             rights abuses from the denial of access to public
     least 10% of the world’s population, 600 million            buildings, meetings, the work place, education,
     people, have some form of disability. It is well            housing and so on. These all happen in a legal
     known, people with disabilities face many barriers          environment where our equality is ostensibly
     to full participation in society. These barriers place      secured by provincial and federal human rights
     them at greater risk of discrimination, abuse, and          laws, and, of course the oft-praised Canadian
     poverty. Failure to recognize the rights of people          Charter of Rights and Freedoms (hereinafter, the
     with disabilities, by eliminating these barriers to         Charter).
     equality, perpetuates the exclusion and poverty
                                                                 The year 2003 marked the 20th anniversary of
     that are at the root of so many human rights
                                                                 the Charter, and to commemorate the event
                                                                 CCD commissioned an evaluation of its impact
     This exclusion is seen in many different forms,             on the lives of Canadians with disabilities. After
     and to different degrees, all over the world. Ex-           an extremely comprehensive review the study
     amples of abuse, violence, poor living conditions           concludes as follows:
     and other violations of human rights have been
                                                                 “Despite the insistence of the lower courts in
     observed and are well documented.
                                                                 the Eldridge case to render the disadvantage of
                                                                 deaf persons invisible, persons with disabilities
     In Canada
                                                                 created a milestone by persuading the SCC to
     Here in Canada one can cite many violations of
                                                                 recognize their historic disadvantage in society,
     the most basic of human rights, the right to life.
                                                                 and to declare that they are entitled to receive
     A Council of Canadians With Disabilities’ (CCD)
                                                                 equal benefit of the law. These are indeed very
     publication from 2001 put the case bluntly:
                                                                 hopeful signs. But sophisticated, abstract legal
     “In November 1996, Danielle Blais drowned her               principles, no matter how cutting edge, do not
     6-year old son Charles, who had autism. On                  alone ensure that persons with disabilities will
     November 8, 1996, the Montreal Gazette reported             have the services, housing and income security
     that Blais had been charged with murder. On                 they require to live with equality, independence
     July 2, 1997, Blais received a 23-month suspended           and dignity, unless they are taken seriously by all
     sentence for manslaughter. Blais did not go to              levels of government.”
     prison and part of her sentence was to be served
                                                                 The role of Canada’s judicial system is to func-
     in a Montreal halfway house.
                                                                 tion as the legal arm of government. It serves as
     This case was preceded by the death of Katie Lynn           an independent body to advise governments on
     Baker who was starved to death in British Colum-            how to interpret and apply the law. Consequently,
     bia. …. Despite the fact that a coroner’s inquest           the ruling in the Eldridge case should have set the
     ruled Katie Lynn’s death a homicide, no charges             bells ringing in Parliament and legislatures across
     were laid in this case.”                                    the country. Alas, there is no evidence that even
                                                                 a note was sounded.
     When cases such as these arise, discussions often
     turn to an examination of the services that were            The breadth of the challenges yet to be surmount-
     made available to the families. During the Blais            ed by persons with disabilities is starkly illustrated
     case, Jim Derksen {Chair of CCD’s Human Rights              by the government agency of Via Rail which re-
     Committee} stated, “The unmet service needs                 cently decided to appeal a ruling, rendered by
     of people with disabilities are always an issue--a          the Canadian Transport Agency, requiring it to
     very important issue for the living. However, we            improve train access for persons with disabilities.
     must be very vigilant when we relate that issue             It is profoundly disappointing that after 18 years
     to the murder of people with disabilities, such as          of Section 15 (of the Charter) being in effect, and
     Latimer, Wilkieson, Blais, or Baker, that we do not         six years after the ruling in Eldridge, governments
     allow the possibility of anyone misunderstanding            still persist in disputing the right of persons with
     the need for services as justifying the murder in           disabilities to basic access.
     any way or degree.”
                                                                 Clearly, even with the protections of our exem-
     While Canadians with disabilities are all familiar          plary legal framework, Canadians with disabilities
     with these extremes of human rights abuse, we               still face many issues related to even the most
     are also familiar with a litany of other human              basic enjoyment of our human rights.

10                                                            National Educational Association Of Disabled Students
Around the World                                      Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This dec-
If this is the case in Canada, then what of the       laration serves as the basis for the development of
situation for disabled people in other countries?     subsequent international human rights law.
Especially, one might ask, what is the situation of
                                                      Early developments in international human
the estimated 400 million people with disabilities
                                                      rights law served to bolster the concept that hu-
who live in developing countries?
                                                      man rights standards, and the violation of those
Research shows that human rights abuses re-           rights by a state against its own nationals, were a
main a daily reality for disabled people around       matter of international concern.
the world. While there is currently no standard-
                                                      It was soon discovered, however, that additional
ized data collection on these incidents, anecdotal
                                                      legal measures were needed to address human
evidence abounds. For example, as of October 1,
                                                      rights abuses experienced throughout the world
2003 Disability Awareness in Action’s database
                                                      by individuals belonging to particular social, eth-
contained 2,077 self-reported incidents of various
                                                      nic, religious and other groups. Beginning in the
types of human rights abuse of disabled people.
                                                      mid-1960s, the United Nations recognized the
Other sources have provided a series of specific
                                                      vulnerability of certain populations to human
examples, such as the ones cited in this brief
                                                      rights abuses that were not addressed specifically
                                                      by existing international human rights law.
• The Constitutional Court in Thailand recently
                                                      Since the 1960s a series of well-coordinated inter-
  ruled 8 to 3 to uphold the ban on people with
                                                      national campaigns have led to the adoption of a
  disabilities becoming judicial officials. One
                                                      number of specialized human rights treaties aimed
  of the ruling judges stated that the judiciary
                                                      at addressing gaps in the law and establishing per-
  reserved the right to recruit individuals with
                                                      manent mechanisms for more effective monitor-
  “optimum potential” and that “prevalent cul-
                                                      ing of violations. These include, for example, the
  tural values” placing preference on able-bodied
                                                      UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
  people also was a factor in the decision.
                                                      of Racial Discrimination, the UN Convention on
• In Hungary, people with psychiatric disabilities    the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
  are not protected under the anti-discrimina-        Against Women, the UN Convention on the
  tion law (because they are considered “ill” and     Rights of the Child.
  not disabled). They can be declared “mentally
                                                      These treaties create legal protections which ad-
  incompetent” and have their identity papers
                                                      dress in concrete terms the social, political and
  taken away. When this happens, they cannot
                                                      cultural circumstances which impact the human
  even take a book out of a public library.
                                                      rights conditions of these populations. Most sig-
• People in institutions in Mexico, Hungary, Ar-      nificantly, they frequently provide for the estab-
  menia, and Kosovo are commonly found lying          lishment of permanent treaty-monitoring bodies
  naked in filthy conditions, often covered in        composed of recognized experts in the field of
  their own feces. In these institutions, people      human rights and endowed with the authority
  are regularly strapped to benches, beds, or         to scrutinize and promote compliance with treaty
  wheelchairs due to the lack of staff.               provisions.
• In Germany, a court awarded damages to              Moreover, the process of drafting these focused
  plaintiffs who sued a hotel because they felt       conventions has served to raise awareness and
  that their holiday had been ruined by the           build capacity among both governments and non-
  experience of sharing the hotel with disabled       governmental organizations concerned with the
  guests. Disabled travelers in Germany have          human rights issues pertaining to these various
  since experienced difficulties booking hotels.      populations. Once the treaties have entered into
                                                      force, they provide a forum for the consideration
A way forward: The role of international              of human rights issues insofar as they pertain to
Human Rights Law                                      the treaty, and serve as a focal point for the human
With the creation of the United Nations after         rights initiatives of governments and non-gov-
WWII one of the key priority areas was the es-        ernmental organizations, spurring developments
tablishment of a Human Rights Framework. This         in national laws and highlighting best and worst
was crafted as a response to the atrocities seen in   practices.
Europe during the war years and was given first
                                                      Those involved in the process to develop a new
life with the elaboration of the 1948 Universal
                                                      Convention on the Human Rights of Disabled
                                                      People see it as merely an extension of this trend.

Newsletter 56   Spring 2004                                                                                  11
     The development of a specific (or thematic) treaty
     in the past has never meant that the population              The Ability Edge Program
     in question – women or children for example,                 By Maryon Urquhart, Director, Customer Relations,
     were not already technically “covered” by exist-             Career Edge
     ing International Human Rights Law. Rather these
     other treaties have emerged with the recognition             For employers interested in hiring high potential
     that the groups in question were often not taken             people for entry-level positions, a significant trend
     into proper consideration.                                   is emerging – graduates with disabilities are in
                                                                  demand. Canada’s major organizations clearly
     In the same way, CCD’s position is that there can            understand the importance of ensuring their
     be no question that disabled people are subjects of          workforces reflect the diverse communities in
     the existing international human rights system,              which they operate. As a result, increasing num-
     and that we are entitled to full enjoyment of all            bers of progressive employers are seeking skilled
     the rights set forth in each of the currently exist-         people with disabilities.
     ing core human rights instruments. Yet CCD rec-
     ognizes that human rights abuses remain a daily              The challenge facing many employers today is
     reality for disabled people in Canada and around             how best to recruit qualified college and university
     the world.                                                   graduates with disabilities and then retain them
                                                                  in their workforce.
     This is true, we believe, mainly because of the gap
     between the values expressed by the human rights             One way employers are addressing this challenge
     system, and the reality of disability around the             is by using internships to access and identify
     world. CCD believes that in order for this gap to            graduates with disabilities who are ready to enter
     be effectively bridged, a specific international hu-         Canada’s labour market.
     man rights convention for disabled people must               Ability Edge is Canada’s internship program de-
     be elaborated, as we have seen in the past with              signed for graduates with disabilities who seek
     other specific groups.                                       career-launching opportunities. The Ability Edge
     Furthermore, we believe that a Convention must               program is run by Career Edge, a not-for-profit,
     be based in, and draw from, existing human rights            private sector organization that specializes in ar-
     norms and standards and address in concrete                  ranging entry-level internships across Canada for
     terms the economic, social, political and cultural           all types of university, college and high school
     circumstances that may adversely impact the hu-              graduates. Career Edge has managed internships
     man rights condition of disabled people.                     for 5,500 graduates since starting in 1996.

     Contact the Council of Canadians with Disabili-              Ability Edge is an important part of Career Edge
     ties (CCD) for more information:                             operations. Ability Edge began in 1999 as a
                                                                  pilot project of Career Edge and the Canadian
     CCD, 926-294 Portage Avenue,                                 Bankers Association. After the successful pi-
     Winnipeg, R3C 0B9                                            lot, Human Resources Development Canada
     Tel.:     (204) 947-0303                                     (HRDC) agreed to provide additional funding to
     Web site:                                   Ability Edge as an operation of Career Edge.
                                                                  As of May 2003, a total of 86 graduates with dis-
                                                                  abilities have worked as Ability Edge interns at
                                                                  major employers, including Bell Canada, BMO Fi-
                                                                  nancial Group, CIBC, General Motors of Canada,
                                                                  NCR, Noranda, RBC Financial Group, Scotiabank,
                                                                  Sprint Canada and TD Bank Financial Group.
                         Calling all writers...
                         NEADS encourages all interested          The results from Ability Edge are encouraging.
                         individuals and organizations            Approximately 60 per cent of Ability Edge in-
                         to submit articles on students           terns have gained permanent employment at
                         with disabilities in post-second-        the organizations that hosted their internships.
      ary education for the newsletter. Announcements of          This clearly indicates the value that Ability Edge
      conferences and activities of local disabled students'      interns bring to the workplace.
      associations are most welcome. Also, send in cartoons
      and drawings. The next issue will be published in the
      Fall of 2004.

12                                                             National Educational Association Of Disabled Students
Much of this success is due to the support that           Develop HR proactivity. Effective human
Ability Edge interns receive throughout their six-,       resources departments take the lead in assist-
nine- or 12-month internships. Career Edge and            ing interns and new hires with disabilities. This
the organizations that host interns work together         proactivity begins early in the selection process,
to:                                                       such as by raising the issue of accommodation at
                                                          the initial recruitment stage and identifying the
• incorporate career-building responsibilities into
                                                          specific tools a person with special needs requires
  each Ability Edge internship;
                                                          to do the job. Organizations deliver a powerful
• provide on-the-job coaching;                            message of support when their HR staff follow
                                                          through and have those tools in place for an
• offer career counselling services, as required.
                                                          intern’s or employee’s first day. Such support is
These services help smooth out what can be a dif-         further enhanced when HR professionals regularly
ficult transition from school to the workplace and        contact the person with a disability. For example,
give interns the experience and confidence they           when an Ability Edge internship nears comple-
need to excel in a professional environment. Some         tion, a best practice developed by effective HR
of the best practices instituted by Ability Edge          departments is to take the initiative and identify
hosts can apply to any employer. These include:           suitable job opportunities across their organiza-
                                                          tions, not just within one department, then make
Start at the top. The best organizations set
                                                          those opportunities known to the intern.
specific recruitment goals for hiring people with
disabilities. These goals receive high-level support      Provide ongoing support. Access to on-
within the organization, usually from the CEO or          the-job training and mentoring are integral to
another top decision-maker. These goals extend            each Ability Edge internship and a significant
to individual departments, are integral – not an          contributor to the success of our interns and
optional extra – to departments’ annual plans and         host organizations. We’ve found that, in addition
are linked to executives’ compensation. Good in-          to providing an encouraging coach and/or super-
tentions are not enough to open the doors to new          visor, interns with disabilities benefit greatly from
talent with disabilities. The key is to take clear ac-    two additional, yet low-cost, support services. One
tion, then provide rewards and recognition when           is having access to affinity groups of colleagues.
recruitment goals are achieved.                           The other is meeting senior level people who
                                                          have similar disabilities. Being mentored by a
Coordinate the effort. Top-down initiatives of-
                                                          role model within an organization or profession
ten start the process. To continue the momentum,
                                                          – someone who can provide perspective on career
the best organizations synchronize their recruit-
                                                          development – is among the most powerful ways
ment and accommodation efforts across depart-
                                                          to ensure people with disabilities do well in their
ments and lines of business. One effective tactic
is to provide central funding to cover the costs
of any necessary accommodation services. An-              Despite such best practices, the marketplace for
other way is to share information about assistive         graduates with disabilities remains extremely
technologies, such as what computer programs              fragmented. Connecting employers and gradu-
are available and supported by an organization’s          ates with disabilities remains a major challenge.
IT department, and make this knowledge known              In fact, the number of Ability Edge internships
throughout all divisions.                                 across Canada is currently limited by the scarcity
                                                          of qualified intern candidates, not by the oppor-
Offer wide-ranging opportunities. A key suc-
cess factor with Ability Edge internships is the po-
sitions available encompass a variety of fields. In-      Among the challenges is the definition and
ternships range from technology-related intranet          self-identification of graduates with disabilities.
support positions, to commerce-based marketing            At Ability Edge, we’ve seen that graduates with
analysts/assistants, to liberal arts-trained HR spe-      disabilities can be reluctant to associate with
cialists. This allows interns with disabilities to find   specific programs for people with disabilities.
responsible positions that fit their skills, training     There’s a good reason for this. Many graduates
and interests throughout an organization, rather          with disabilities have found ways to cope with
than being restricted to designated departments           their disabilities and don’t require accommoda-
that may lack career-building potential.                  tion at work. These individuals want to take on
                                                          mainstream responsibilities when they enter the
                                                          workforce, without the risk of being categorized
                                                          into special positions.

Newsletter 56    Spring 2004                                                                                      13
     Ability Edge internships, like all Career Edge                  employers, prospective interns and all types of
     internships, are designed to be entry-level op-                 employment-oriented agencies to promote the
     portunities that build futures. Each placement                  internship experience as a low-risk, cost-effective
     becomes an example to employers that intern-                    and viable way for graduates with disabilities to
     ships create value in their workplace, while interns            gain permanent, fulfilling jobs.
     gain workplace experience and skills that will last
     throughout their careers.                                       How Ability Edge Works
     Due to employer demand for high-potential                       Ability Edge is a program that links employers
     graduates with disabilities, landing an Ability Edge            and graduates with disabilities who seek career-
     internship has become less competitive than a                   launching opportunities. By working as Ability
     conventional Career Edge internship. As of mid-                 Edge interns, qualified graduates gain up to 12
     2003, the ratio between graduates registered for                months of workplace experience. Ability Edge is
     internships and actual internship opportunities                 operated by Career Edge, a not-for-profit organi-
     available across Canada was 40 to 1 for Ability                 zation that has managed internships for 5,500
     Edge, compared to 400 to 1 for Career Edge.                     graduates at more than 850 companies.
     Despite these favourable conditions, reaching                   • Employers, known as “hosts,” work with Career
     graduates with disabilities remains difficult. At                 Edge/Ability Edge to design entry-level intern-
     many education institutions, the on-campus                        ships that include meaningful responsibilities,
     career centres operate separately from the offices                plus on-the-job coaching.
     set up to assist students with disabilities. Dealing
                                                                     • These internships, which are for six-, nine- or
     with two departments doubles the amount of ef-
                                                                       12-months, are posted on the Career Edge/
     fort required by employers seeking candidates and
                                                                       Ability Edge website and at appropriate com-
     by graduates with disabilities seeking jobs.
                                                                       munity agencies and/or college/university
     To address this, Ability Edge continues to partner                career centres.
     with education institutions, employers and com-
                                                                     • Graduates register on-line with Career Edge/
     munity agencies, including NEADS, to stimulate
                                                                       Ability Edge and apply to internships.
     greater awareness, communication and coopera-
     tion about internships and broader employment/                  • Career Edge pre-screens candidates who apply
     workplace issues. By forging effective working re-                to Ability Edge internships.
     lationships between organizations, all stakehold-
                                                                     • The host interviews candidates and selects an
     ers can streamline the recruitment process.
     An example of an effective practice to accelerate
                                                                     • The selected interns become employees of Ca-
     the recruitment and hiring process is circulating
                                                                       reer Edge and work directly at their hosts. As of
     electronic internship postings and notifications
                                                                       mid-2003, the stipend Career Edge pays each
     of opportunities to targeted career centres. To
                                                                       intern is $1,500/month.
     expand the candidate pool, Ability Edge is now
     using e-mail alerts, which augment the web-based                More information about the program is available
     recruitment and application process launched in                 at
     2002 for Career Edge.
                                                                     (This article appears in the NEADS publication:
     As Canada’s leading national internship program                 Access to Success: A Guide for Employers, published
     for graduates with disabilities, Ability Edge is                in November, 2003)
     positioned to help maximize this country’s hu-
     man resource potential. Our aim is to work with

                    National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
                    Winner of the grant portion of the 1997 Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award.

                    4th Level Unicentre, Carleton University,
                    Ottawa K1S 5B6
                    Telephone: (613) 526-8008 (voice & TTY)                      Facsimile: (613) 520-3704
                    Web site:

                    This newsletter was printed with support from Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).
                    Charitable business number: 10776 1975 RR0001

14                                                               National Educational Association Of Disabled Students
Profile: Mahadeo Sukhai — Medical Researcher and Student
By Neil Faba
Mahadeo Sukhai’s job involves a daily commute,       “My supervisor has been very good about this,
hours of research, frequent overtime require-        saying that I don’t need my eyes to think,” he
ments, and interaction with a team of colleagues.    says. “If I can’t do an experiment, I can think
But he doesn’t work in a typical employment en-      it through, and then have someone else handle
vironment.                                                        the drudgery of actually doing the
Sukhai is a PhD student at the
University of Toronto, perform-                                  Sukhai says other technologies he
ing research into leukemia at                                    was given to help accommodate his
the Princess Margaret Hospital’s                                 needs in the lab have changed and
Ontario Cancer Institute. While                                  been adapted. For example, he says
it’s not, perhaps, employment in                                 that a computer originally installed
the traditional sense of the word,                               in the lab for his use was eventually
he says he considers it the same as                              made available to other researchers as
any career position. He had to go                                the need grew. Currently, he has his
through a formal interview pro-                                  own laptop computer, with a 19-inch
cess to secure the position, and                                 flatscreen monitor paid for by the
has to do research that contrib-                                 university’s accommodation fund. He
utes to the field, both situations                               also uses a microscope hooked up to a
akin to what other employees go
                                      “There’s an old saying,    television monitor, which allows him
through.                               give a man a fish, he     to better view his experiments, espe-
                                                                 cially the ones conducted on mice.
“In the hospital environment,          eats for a day; teach     “Without it I wouldn’t have been able
we’re treated as employees,”
says Sukhai. “Research takes
                                       a man to fish, he eats    to get anywhere,” says Sukhai.
precedence over our schooling,        for a lifetime,” Sukhai     Sukhai advises employers to “look be-
even though my research is my                                     yond the disability.” He says that it is
schooling. Also, I’m responsible
                                      says. “I’ve been taught     important employers keep an open
to my graduate supervisor.”             to fish by some very      mind in their hiring practices, focus-
                                                                  ing on what people with disabilities
Sukhai says he credits that su-            gifted people.”        can do, rather than what they can’t
pervisor with providing him the
                                                                  do. He says barrier-free hiring is key
chance to prove what he can do.
                                                                  to improving the opportunities of
As someone with a visual impair-
                                                                  people with disabilities in the work-
ment, performing cell-based re-
                                                                  force, but that doesn’t mean employ-
search in a lab environment, often
                                                                  ers should decide to hire people with
involving work on mice, requires
                                                                  disabilities and then simply give jobs
doing things in ways that differ
                                                     to the first 100 people who come in fitting that
from his colleagues. He says it would have been
easy for his supervisor to deny him that opportu-
nity based on these challenges, but she chose to     He also says creating a barrier-free workplace en-
take him in based on what he can do.                 vironment – in technology, physical space, the
                                                     installation of elevators and wheelchair ramps,
“She may have soul-searched for a few weeks
                                                     etc. – goes beyond meeting the needs of people
before offering me the position, but ultimately
                                                     with disabilities.
she now knows what people with disabilities are
capable of, and she won’t be shy about hiring        “It’s important that employers realize the initial
people with disabilities in the future.”             costs involved in these types of things will be
                                                     offset by the long-term benefits they provide,”
The challenge of conducting research with a vi-
                                                     says Sukhai. “Don’t think of an accommodation
sual impairment has meant Sukhai has required
                                                     as something that will benefit one person; think of
several accommodations in order to do his work
                                                     how many people will benefit in the long run.”
effectively, the most expensive of which has been
a full-time research lab technician, paid for by     Sukhai says he chose to disclose his disability at
the university. The technician assists Sukhai with   the end of his interview with his graduate su-
the aspects of research experiments he can’t do      pervisor, so that it wouldn’t be the focus of the
on his own.                                          interview. But he says employers need to remem-

Newsletter 56   Spring 2004                                                                                  15
     ber that people with disabilities are not required
     to disclose to an employer, and may not choose            Board of Directors’ Election
     to do so.
                                                               Conference 2004
     “I’m happy and comfortable with my disability,”           At November’s national conference in Ottawa,
     says Sukhai. “But not everyone is like that, and it       Right On!, the Association’s regular members will
     took me a while to get to this point. Employers           elect a new Board of Directors to work with NEADS
     cannot fault someone for not disclosing, or even          for the next two years. All persons interested in a
     for deciding to disclose somewhere down the               position on the board must be regular members
     road, after they are hired.”                              in good standing. Positions on the Board must be
     He says that people with disabilities who are seek-       filled by “regular members” of NEADS (currently
     ing career employment must also remember to               having student status or having graduated within
     maintain a positive attitude, be confident in their       two years of application).
     own abilities, and to realize they have to do things      The positions available for election are ten pro-
     for themselves. He says people who keep these             vincial representatives (e.g. British Columbia Rep.,
     things in mind will find that employers want to           Ontario Rep., Nova Scotia Rep. etc.), one territorial
     help them succeed and grow.                               representative and an ‘Open’ Representative. Can-
     “There’s an old saying, give a man a fish, he eats        didates for the positions of provincial/territorial
     for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a life-       representatives must be students or recent gradu-
     time,” Sukhai says. “I’ve been taught to fish by          ates with disabilities residing in the area and/or
     some very gifted people.”                                 attending a post-secondary institution in the
                                                               geographic location they seek to represent.
     (This article appears in the NEADS publication:
     Access to Success: A Guide for Employers, published       If you would like to become a member of the
     in November, 2003)                                        NEADS Board, please complete and sign the
                                                               “Nomination Form” as specified and, if possible,
                                                               submit it to the office by October 9th, 2004. This
                                                               will enable us to prepare the forms in both official
                                                               languages and alternative formats in time for the
                                                               conference elections. We ask that you include a
                                                               profile/platform of 250 words or less with the
                                                               completed nomination form.
                                                               Voting for a new Board of Directors will take
                                                               place at the Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites (361
                                                               Queen Street) on Sunday, November 14th from
                                                               9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Confederation Room.
                                                               Nomination forms for board positions will be
                                                               received in the Confederation Room until 5 p.m.
                                                               on Saturday, November 13th.
                                                               The election will be conducted by representatives
                                                               from Elections Canada. All regular members are
                                                               entitled to vote in the election. If you are unable
                                                               to attend the election in person you can identify
                                                               another member in good standing to act as a
                                                               proxy and vote on your behalf.
                                                               Please contact the office with any questions re-
                                                               garding the Board of Directors election.

                                                               < NOW AVAILABLE!

16                                                          National Educational Association Of Disabled Students
                                      Nomination Form
                              NEADS Board of Directors
                                  Election 2004

Candidate Name: _________________________________________ Tel.:______________________
Address: ___________________________________________________________________________
City: ____________________________ Province: _______________ Postal Code: ______________
Position applied for (specify: province, territory or “open”): ______________________________

Two Nominators (Nominators may be regular or associate members in good standing)

1) Name: __________________________________ Tel.:___________________________________
     Address: _______________________________________________________________________
     City: _______________________ Province:_________________ Postal Code: ______________

2) Name: __________________________________ Tel.:___________________________________
     Address: _______________________________________________________________________
     City: _______________________ Province:_________________ Postal Code: ______________

Please explain why you have decided to apply for this position. What do you feel you can contribute
to the Association as a member of the Board of Directors? (250 words or less)


Newsletter 56   Spring 2004                                                                       17
                        Conférence national 2004 National Conference
                       Speaker Registration Form
              Formulaire d’inscription pour conférencier-ière
                                      November 12 –14 novembre 2004
Workshop Theme / Thème de l’atelier :

q Human Rights          q Inclusion in Campus Life            q Access to Academic Materials
  Droits de la personne   Inclusion dans la vie sur le campus   Accès aux documents d’études

Presentation Title / Titre de la présentation : __________________________________________________
Presentation Language / Langue de la présentation : English / anglais q                              French / français q

Name / Nom :____________________________________________________________________________
Organization/School / Organisation/Établissement : ___________________________________________
Address / Adresse : ________________________________________________________________________
City / Ville : _____________________________________Prov./Terr. : ______________________________
Postal Code / Code postal : _______________________Country / Pays : __________________________
Telephone / Téléphone : __________________________Email / Courriel :__________________________
Disability / Déficience :      Yes / Oui q             No / Non q
Biography (100 words or less) / Notes biographiques (100 mots ou moins)

Explain how your presentation fits into the theme you selected? (100 words or less) / Expliquez en quelques mots (maximum
de 100 mots) comment votre présentation est reliée au thème que vous avez choisi?

Please attach an abstract of no more than 500 words./Veuillez nous faire parvenir un court essai d’un maximum de 500 mots.

Deadline for receipt of all material is Friday, August 13, 2004. Submissions will be reviewed by the Conference Planning
Committee, and those selected will be notified over the summer. Return this form to: NEADS, Rm. 426, Unicentre, Carleton
University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6 or Fax (613) 520-3704. /

Date limite de réception de tous les documents : le 13 août 2004. Les soumissions seront étudiées par le Comité de planification
de la conférence et les personnes choisies en seront informées au cours de l’été. Envoyez votre formulaire à l’adresse suivante
: NEADS, salle 426, Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa (Ontario) K1S 5B6 ou par télécopieur (613) 520-3704.

                                        2004 National Conference
                                                  Right On!
                                     November 12 –14, 2004
                          Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites, Ottawa, Ontario

Name:__________________________________________Tel.: ______________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________________________________________
City: _______________________________Province: _________________Postal Code: ________________
Status:      Student q                  Professional q
School / Organization:______________________________________________________________________
Language of communication: English q        French q      Bilingual q
Please check appropriate special needs and accommodation items:
     Mobility Impaired     q         Deaf/Hard of Hearing       q     Visually Impaired q
     Learning Disabled     q         Other or Combination       q
Do you need:                                                                Yes                             No
Assistance to arrange hotel accommodation?                                   q                              q
Modified room accommodation?                                                 q                              q
Specialized transportation to and from the airport/train station?            q                              q
Attendant care on site?                                                      q                              q
Alternative format materials?                                                q                              q
  If yes, specify preferred format ___________________________________________
Workshop translation/interpretation?                                         q                               q
A special diet?                                                              q                               q
Vegetarian food?                                                             q                               q
Note: All delegates are asked to book and cover the costs of their own travel and accommodation arrangements.
The Association and host committee will endeavour to make special needs accommodations, with advance notice and
given enough information. Please attach further details of accommodations related to your disability at the back of the
registration form or on a separate sheet of paper.

All registration forms must include fee payment and be returned by October 16, 2004 to:
NEADS, Room 426 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6
Tel.: (613) 526-8008 (Voice and TTY)

If you do not wish your contact details included on our
Conference Contact List, please indicate by checking here:                       q

Fee: (Payable to NEADS)
Before October 8, 2004: $ 70.00 for students with disabilities, $ 130.00 for all others
After October 8, 2004: $ 90.00 for students with disabilities, $ 150.00 for all others

(Registration fee includes access to all conference proceedings, one meal and a social event.)

Newsletter 56   Spring 2004                                                                                               19
The National Educational Association of                                              NEADS Board of
Disabled Students (NEADS)                                                            Directors
Membership Application                                                               Alison Beattie
                                                                                     Position: Alberta Representative

Institution: ___________________________________________________________________     Roger Bursey
                                                                                     Position: Prince Edward Island Representative
                                                                                     Lena Cook
Address: _____________________________________________________________________
                                                                                     Position: Saskatchewan Representative

_____________________________________________________________________________        Robin Drodge
                                                                                     Position: Newfoundland & Labrador Representative
City: ___________________________________Province: ____________________________
                                                                                     MaryAnne Duchesne
Postal Code: ____________________________Phone: ______________________________
                                                                                     Position: Territories Representative

Please indicate the disability group to which you belong:                            Jennifer Finlay
Hearing Impaired: ____________________________________________________________       Position: Vice-President Internal
                                                                                               Nova Scotia Representative
Learning Disabled: ____________________________________________________________      Joby Fleming
Mobility Impaired: ____________________________________________________________      Positions: Past-President, Canadian Federation of
                                                                                                Students’ Liaison
Visually Impaired: _____________________________________________________________     Helena Gaiptman
Other: _______________________________________________________________________       Position: Quebec Representative
                                                                                     Catherine McGowan
                                                                                     Position: Manitoba Representative
Please indicate the membership category to which you belong:
                                                                                     Jason Mitschele
Regular Membership (i.e. student):             q                                     E-mail:
Associate Membership (i.e. professional):      q                                     Position: Ontario Representative
Institutional Membership (i.e. business):      q                                     Natalie Osika
Is this membership application:                new q        renewal q                Position: New Brunswick Representative
Preferred format for materials:                                                      Rachael Ross
print q diskette q audio-cassette q         large print q                            E-mail:
                                                                                     Positions: President, British Columbia Representative,
Regular & Associate Membership fee:            $10.00                                           Canadian Federation of Students’ Liaison
Institutional Membership fee:                  $20.00
                                                                                     Sanjeet Singh
I, ______________________________, would like to be a member of NEADS and I am
                                                                                     Positions: Open Representative,
enclosing a cheque in the amount of ($10.00/$20.00), which represents my annual
                                                                                                Vice-President External
membership fee.
                                                                                     This project has been funded by the Government of
Signature:____________________________________________________________________       Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program. The
                                                                                     opinions and interpretations in this publication are those
Date: ________________________________________________________________________       of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the
                                                                                     Government of Canada.

                                                                                     Edited & compiled by:     Frank Smith, Neil Faba &
               Send your completed application to:                                                             Chris Gaulin
               NEADS, 4th Level Unicentre, Carleton University,                      Translation/Traduction:   Mireille Lévesque
               Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6                                              Web site Manager:         Jennison Asuncion
                                                                                     Web site Architect:       Chris Gaulin
                                                                                     Typesetting and Layout: ALDI Design

20                                                                      National Educational Association Of Disabled Students

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