List some common questions and answers that might come up for students engaging with the ACTon Instructor PowerHour and related resources.
Reading time: approximately 5 minutes.
ACTon Interactive Videos
How were the interactive videos made? Who came up with the stories?
The ACTon interactive videos were scripted based on research with disabled students and placement instructors. The stories and characters represented in the videos are fictional, but they draw on real-life experiences from the project’s student and instructor participants. You can watch videos created by the research participants that illustrate some of their experiences and thoughts about accommodation in placement. The ACTon research team used the research findings to inform their script writing. The scripts were reviewed by an advisory board made up of disabled students and disability scholars. Their feedback guided story content and confirmed the accuracy of information presented and the “believability” of the storylines.
Why don’t the videos have clear endings with solutions?
Sometimes accommodation access is straightforward and effective, but sometimes it is really hard. And sometimes, accommodations are only moderately helpful. ACTon wanted the videos to be true to all of these different experiences.
There are multiple pathways that disabled students may navigate to access their accommodation needs in placement. This often depends on their disability and other intersecting social identities, their relationship with the placement instructor and placement supervisor, and their evolving familiarity and comfort level with the demands of the placement. The goal of the videos is to encourage viewers to consider what they would do in context and to assess the options and resources available to them in order to better ensure that disability accommodation and inclusion are realized.
What are accommodations?
Disability accommodations in placement and experiential education (EE) context are adjustments and modifications to the original design of activities or tasks; these accommodations support disabled students as they fulfill the requirements of the placement and meet the essential learning outcomes of the course.
What does it mean that accommodations are a human right?
It means that all disabled people have a right to accommodations that respect their human dignity. The duty to accommodation is outlined in provincial human rights codes across Canada (e.g., Ontario Human Rights Commission). Universities and colleges have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities. The duty to accommodate means that the university and its employees have to listen to students’ requests for accommodation and work cooperatively with students to find a solution that meets their needs.
Communicating about accommodations
Do students have to disclose their use of accommodations to take a placement program?
Students never have to disclose their right to accommodation or their disability. They have the right to keep that information confidential. However, the ACTon research suggests students make their right to accommodations known to their placement/EE instructor as early as possible. This supports disabled students to access appropriate and reasonable accommodations should they require them during their placement/EE course.
Can students ask for a new/refined accommodation mid-placement?
Yes, their right to accommodation can be accessed at any time. However, it may be difficult for your students to efficiently and effectively find appropriate accommodations to meet their needs later in placement. Thus, we encourage you to be open with your students and start the conversations about accommodations as early as possible. This conversation can be difficult for students to initiate. It is important to approach the conversation in an approachable, non-stigmatizing way.
Institutional Accommodation Process
My student has a disability but is not registered with Student Access Services. Can they still be accommodated in placement?
If your student has a diagnosed disability, their right to accommodation is a human right. This is not reliant on having registered their disability with the institution. However, most higher education institutions have a policy that requests students document their disability with the institutions in order to have their right to accommodation recognized. Registering the disability facilitates the institution’s timely response to their request for accommodation. While some instructors need to follow instructional protocol, course directors and faculty typically have discretion over course implementation.
What do I do if the accommodation letter does not list accommodations in placement?
To adjust any information in the letter of accommodation, your student will need to set up a meeting with their accessibility counsellor.
How will I know which accommodations my students will need in placement?
All placements and students are different, and the accommodations students will require to meet their needs may not be immediately apparent. Figuring out placement program accommodations may be a process. A student may also set up a meeting between you and their placement supervisor to discuss strategies. If a placement supervisor is reluctant to provide accommodations to your student, you may need to meet with the placement supervisor on your own to help them come up with some strategies that will support the student’s learning objectives while promoting an inclusive environment that meets the accommodation needs of your student.
Everyone in the placement is learning. For disabled students, placement experiences should provide a safe environment in which to test out different accommodation strategies and prepare for smooth integrations to their profession/workforce after graduation.
This concludes the Instructor PowerHour
If you have not done so already, please take a moment to respond to an anonymous survey to tell us about your experience with Instructor PowerHour (and other ACTon resources you may have used). The survey will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
If you are interested in organizing a workshop with the ACTon resources check out the ACTon Facilitation Guide.