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To ensure that blind, deaf-blind, and partially sighted Canadians, of all ages, are given the same access to educational opportunities and facilities, from pre-school through post secondary and beyond, as their sighted counterparts.
Although considerable progress has been made over the years, in terms of giving blind, def-blind and partially sighted students, access to primary, secondary and post secondary institutions and programs, there is still room for improvement. Many blind students are denied the opportunity to learn Braille, for a variety of reasons, production of text books, and other class handouts are often delayed to the point where they are of little or no use to the student when they do arrive, and more recently, the use of online teaching, and the use of email for communications between teacher and student, all have barriers to students unable to read “regular size” print. The ability to get to and from an educational facility, or to maneuver within the facility, can still stand in the way of a student having full access to the educational opportunities available to sighted counterparts. Teachers and instructors must be aware of the needs of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted students, including the formats in which material must be presented, and the fact that additional time must be allowed for the completion of assignments and exams.
The needs of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted students must be made known to all those in the education system. The needs of these students must be taught in universities as a part of teacher training. Those responsible for the purchase of computer technology for the school system, must be made aware of the needs of students unable to see monitors, and must be made aware of the various screen readers and other adaptive technologies.
Governments responsible for various levels of education, must allow sufficient funds for the purchase of adaptive equipment needed by blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted students, including the hiring of adequately trained teachers, assistants, and other professionals that may be necessary. Federal and Provincial Governments need to be lobbied to provide funding for the development of programs to enhance and improve the education of blind, deaf/blind, and partially sighted students at all levels.
They also need to be lobbied to offer training for teachers and other related staff so that they in turn will be better able to understand and relate to the needs of blind, deaf/blind, and partially sighted students.
Please support blind Canadians by joining us in advocating that all levels of government mandate the development of educational programs to meet the needs of all blind, deaf/blind, and partially sighted students.