Access to Post-Secondary Education and Services for Students with Learning Disabilities: Student, Alumni and Parent Perspectives from Two Ontario Universities

Maureen J. Reed, Tanya Lewis, Eunice Lund-Lucas

Abstract


Access barriers for students with disabilities still exist despite the fact that there is ample formal protection for their rights. In this paper, we surveyed students and alumni with learning disabilities, as well as their parents, for their perspectives on access to a post-secondary education. The students and parents we surveyed experienced difficulties accessing post secondary education and services, assessment guidelines and accommodations. Students described experiences that reflected that access to education is impeded by their lack of preparation, as well as by the attitudes of teaching staff. Importantly, our study showed that students displayed the inability to advocate for their own needs, as well as poor communication with service providers. Ultimately, we suggest that access to higher education could be improved through institutional outreach whereby stakeholders (students, parents, secondary teachers, secondary guidance) are informed through a coordinated approach between post-secondary institutions and institutional staff and faculty are better informed about learning disabilities.

Keywords


access, learning disabilities, disability services, higher education

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Higher Education Perspectives. ISSN: 1710-1530