Access to the education system is a right for everyone, and regardless of your disability, it is possible to facilitate the integration of a disabled person into the school environment.
Our school years constitute one of the most significant phases of our lives. It’s a time when we create lasting memories and forge our personality. It can also be a very difficult time for many; but especially for those who must contend with a disability or limited mobility in addition to the usual challenges.
Is Our National School System Accessible to All?
According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, every student must have access to formal education, without discrimination. This code is great in theory, but is often difficult to apply in reality. Educational establishments often lack the resources and budgets to offer adequate services to everyone. Despite its best intentions, a disadvantaged school does not always have the means to install an elevator or access ramps that would allow students who are disabled or of limited mobility to attend classes located on its upper floors.
A Step in the Right Direction
Most school buildings were constructed prior to the enactment of the accessibility building codes and laws. Nevertheless, organizations are required to inform themselves of their students’ mobility and accessibility needs and to provide them with the best conditions possible. It is therefore recommended that you contact your chosen school to find out what modifications are possible to ease the integration and accommodate the mobility needs of the student in question.
Post-secondary establishments usually provide adapted services but it is also important to contact them to ensure the best possible services and facilities for the concerned person of reduced mobility. This will greatly ease the transition of the student to this new environment and allow them to assert themselves as autonomous and independent adults.
A School that Is 100% Accessible
Although it’s more difficult for disabled primary or high school students to find a school that provides for their specific needs, it is not impossible. Joseph-Charbonneau School, in Montreal, has been the proof of this since 1979.
Billing itself as “a place for transcendence and flourishing”, this school welcomes and offers support to students with all manner of disabilities throughout their school years.
Working in close collaboration with The Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Center of the Saint Justine CHU, this school ensures that all its teachers have received training in working with the disabled. They make it their mission to avail their students of a variety of multidisciplinary resources so that they may flourish in an optimal educational, sports, cultural, and life setting adapted to their needs.
Joseph-Charbonneau School is an inter-regional vocational organization that welcomes students from various schoolboards, which makes it a great source of pride for the Montreal Schoolboard.
Although the general, accessible school situation is not yet perfect, it certainly seems to be headed in the right direction.