areas need to be considered when arranging accessible meetings – physical
access to the meeting space and access to the meeting contents and proceedings.
planning can help to ensure that the accommodation needs of people with
disabilities are anticipated and acted upon ahead of time. Even when you
may not know in advance whether any of your participants may need accommodations,
you should be prepared to arrange your meeting or event to be accessible
so that people with disabilities can participate independently.
workshops, information sessions, focus groups, media conferences or events
of a few hours in duration may not require the same detailed preparations
that lengthy conferences or conventions require, such as determining dietary
requirements when planning menus and arranging overnight guest rooms.
However, many of the same pre-event planning steps apply to both.
resource is meant to assist in the planning process and reflects an optimal
level of accessibility. Some facilities may not meet all of the criteria
outlined in the document. If you are in doubt about the level of accessibility
at a potential venue, it is recommended that you consult with a local
disability group who has expertise in barrier free access and/or meeting
General Accessibility Considerations:
that a member of your staff is responsible for making the event accessible.
prepared to respond to accommodation requests in the same manner that
you respond to other requests and questions about the event.
that the invitation or notice of meeting includes information about
the accessibility of the event.
what local resources are available, for example, interpreters, accessible
transportation, emergency veterinarians and wheelchair repair services,
when preparing for longer events.
sign language interpreters and/or captionist as soon as possible after
confirming the date of the event.
confirming the date, inquire about other disability-related events
in the area that may have an impact on your event.
meals are to be "on your own," determine the accessibility
of local restaurants.
3. Choosing a Location:
an on-site visit to the location under consideration in order to determine
its level of accessibility before you book your event.
if the site has been recommended by a credible local disability organization
with expertise in barrier-free access.
the appropriateness of the location through previous successful experiences
involving people with disabilities at that venue.
about recent renovations or current construction that may have an
impact on accessibility.
whether the staff at the location has been sufficiently trained in
disability awareness. If not, arrange for training from a recognized
trainer prior to your event.
4. Exterior Access:
that there are a reasonable numbers of accessible parking spots available
for the estimated number of attendees with disabilities. Arrangements
can be made with the owners of the meeting facility to permit additional
spaces to be used for designated parking close to the building for
the duration of the event.
that the designated parking spots for people with disabilities are
on a firm, slip-resistant surface and located close to the entrance
of the building.
whether there is a curb cut or level access provided from parking
area to the main entrance.
snow removal during winter events.
whether accessible metered parking or public parking lots with accessible
spaces are available close by the meeting facility if a large number
of attendees with disabilities are expected.
that there is a barrier free path of travel from the parking lot or
drop off area to the meeting entrance, avoiding stairs, sudden changes
in level, slippery or unstable ground, or objects obstructing the
path of travel.
snow removal from the path of travel during winter events.
if required, should be gradual in slope and have handrails on both
should be clearly separated from the road and driveway for safety
5. Interior Access:
certain that an accessible entrance is available with all doorways
wide enough for the passage of a person using a wheelchair or scooter.
Access through the main entrance is highly desirable.
the case when the main entrance is NOT accessible, ensure there is
a clearly visible sign at the front of the building indicating the
location of the accessible entrance.
that entrances are well lit and not located in isolated areas.
that entrances do not lead to locked doors with buzzers or bells that
must be pushed to permit access.
that the door handles are easy to open without individuals having
to twist their wrist. Ideally, doors should have lever handles and
be equipped with an automatic door opener.
signs indicating where the meeting is taking place within the building.
that the signs are large enough and clear enough to be read by people
with low vision.
sure the signs are mounted at a comfortable height for both people
who use wheelchairs and people with low vision.
for staff or volunteers to be available at doorways and throughout
the facility to direct or assist people with disabilities to the meeting
that the elevators are located close to the meeting facilities and
are large enough to hold power wheelchair and/or scooter users.
there are enough elevators to safely and conveniently transport the
number of people using mobility devices attending the session.
lifts must be used, make certain they are safe and easy to operate
with enough space to accommodate both wheelchair and scooter users.
whether Braille buttons and raised numerals have been provided to
assist people who are blind or have low vision.
that the elevator controls are mounted at a comfortable height for
a person using a wheelchair or scooter.
sure that the elevator has an auditory signal to alert people who
are blind or have low vision.
to see that the elevator has a visual cue system in each elevator
lobby to alert people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
the location has washrooms that are large enough to accommodate scooter
and power wheelchair users and are equipped with at least one accessible
sure the washroom doors have a raised (tactile) male or female sign
or Braille lettering.
the location has at least one accessible unisex washroom on the same
floor as the event. A minimum of a five-foot turning radius is needed
for wheelchair users to manoeuvre without restriction.
sure that the faucets are reachable by a person using a wheelchair
or scooter and can be operated using one hand.
to see that other washroom accessories and dispensers are within easy
reach of a person using a wheelchair or scooter.
certain that the accessible washrooms are located in close proximity
to the meeting rooms.
to see that major hallways and all essential doorways throughout the
facility are wide enough to permit the passage of people using wheelchair
that all interior doors are easy to open with one hand without twisting
that low pile carpeting, hardwood flooring or tile has been used as
the floor finish to ensure that a wheelchair or scooter user can travel
easily throughout the facility.
and Conference Rooms
is preferable for the meeting room to be located on the building entry
that the boardroom or meeting room is large enough to provide circulation
and seating for an adequate or anticipated number of participants
who use wheelchair, scooters, guide dogs or other mobility aids.
to see that accessible seating is available throughout the meeting
that the reception/refreshment areas are in an area large enough to
provide circulation for participants who use wheelchair, scooters,
guide dogs or other mobility aids.
that the stages and speaking areas, including lectern or podium are
accessible to wheelchair and scooter users.
that there is a well-lit space provided for the sign language interpreter
when interpreters will be present.
for noise levels (ventilation systems, noise from adjacent rooms etc.)
which may be distracting.
to see that the meeting room has appropriate requirements (drapes,
blinds, etc.) to provide reduction of light or glare from windows.
that cables, wires and microphones are well secured and do not block
guest speakers and exhibitors to be prepared to provide printed handout
materials in alternative formats should alternative formats be requested
6. Additional Accessibility Considerations:
the availability of installed or portable FM Listening Systems in
meeting facilities for people who have a hearing loss. (An FM system
consists of a transmitter used by the speaker and a receiver used
by the listener.)
the availability of telephones with auditory adjustments for people
who have a hearing loss.
to determine whether there are visual fire alarms. If not, inquire
about the facility’s evacuation plan or create your own.
the availability of a TTY. Ensure that your staff has been trained
on how to use it. (A TTY is a device that is used by persons who are
deaf and hard of hearing to communicate through telephone lines.)
that the conference web site is available in a format that is accessible
to people who use screen readers.
there is at least one telephone that can be used by a person who is
to see if the customer service areas (i.e., counters, display tables,
etc.) are low enough for wheelchair or scooter users to see over.
sure that any additional signs specific to the event are created in
a suitable relieving area for guide dogs.
water bowls for guide dogs.
7. Refreshment and Dietary Considerations:
beverages are being served, bendable straws and lightweight cups should
be made available within easy reach of individuals in wheelchairs
available non-sugar (dietary) beverages, juices and water for people
with dietary concerns such as diabetes.
aware that self-serve meals or buffets may present obstacles for some
people who are visually impaired or people with a physical disability.
Well-trained catering service staff can provide assistance to participants
who require additional help. If catering staff is not present, ensure
that someone is assigned to assist those who need help getting food.
to make sure that an alternative to pastries and cookies, such as
fruits or vegetables, are available for people with dietary concerns.
an opportunity for participants to indicate their dietary needs on
any registration form or invitation to an event where meals are being
Invitations and Promotional Materials:
Symbol of Accessibility. The wheelchair symbol should only be used
to indicate access for individuals with limited mobility, including wheelchair
users. For example, the symbol is used to indicate an accessible entrance,
bathroom or that a phone is lowered for wheelchair users.
Symbol. This symbol indicates that printed matter is available in
Braille, including exhibition labelling, publications and signage.
Print. The symbol for large print is 'Large Print' printed in18 Point
or larger text. In addition to indicating that large print versions of
books, pamphlets, museum guides and theatre programs are available, you
may use the symbol on conference or membership forms to indicate that
print materials may be provided in large print.
Listening Systems. This symbol is used to indicate that assistive
listening systems are available for the event. The systems may include
infrared, loop and FM systems.
Language Interpretation. This symbol indicates that Sign Language
Interpretation is provided for a lecture, meeting, performance, conference
or other program.
Captioning (CC). This symbol indicates that a television program or
videotape is closed captioned for deaf, deafened or hard of hearing people
should be provided in alternate formats for people or organizations
that require or request it (i.e., Braille, on tape, via e-mail, in
large print, on computer disk).
9. Multiple Format Communications
important to consider the communication needs of your whole audience when
preparing your meeting or conference, and accessibility is one important
component of your communication plan. However, accessibility to print
is not the only need you must take into consideration. It is important
to make any oral presentation available to people who are deaf through
a qualified sign language interpreter. Print materials need to be made
available in French and in formats readily accessible to people who are
preparing for any public event, with or without a disability focus, it
is suggested that you:
for a sign language interpreter and/or captionist to be present.
the fact that your materials are available in alternative formats
and in French, and provide contact information on how to obtain these
formats on printed materials.
and have available for distribution, materials prepared in alternative
formats in both French and English.
the numbers of multiple format documents you will need according to
the anticipated audience. For example, if the anticipated audience
consists of seniors, you may consider producing a greater number of
printed materials in large print.
following is a guideline for quantities for a general public event,
such as a trade show or exhibit:
Braille copy of English and French each for display
English Braille copies & 1 French Braille copy for distribution
large print copy of English and French each for display
large print copies of English and 3 large print copies of French
audio cassette in English and 1 French for display with large print/Braille
labels. Consider CD ROM format in addition to tape.
English audio cassettes & 2 French audio cassettes for distribution
with large print/Braille labels. Consider CD ROM format in addition
English and 1 French computer disk for display with large print/Braille
labels. Consider CD ROM format in addition to disk.
English disks & 2 French computer disks for distribution with
large print/Braille labels. Consider CD ROM format in addition to
small sized promotional materials such as a bookmark, copies are
available in English and French with Braille overlay indicating
the name of the document and contact information. For an anticipated
audience size of 500 attendees, 200 English and 50 French copies.
are used with computer synthetic voice technology (screen reading software)
that enables people who are blind, have low vision (such as seniors) or
who have learning disabilities to hear a spoken verbatim translation of
what others see on the monitor. There is a growing demand for computer
disks and CD ROM. The disks should be labeled in large print and Braille.
format for people who have low vision that can be created in-house by
using word processing software with a font size that is 14 points or larger
or can be out sourced to a vendor.
format for people who are blind or Deaf-blind produced using Braille transcription
format for people who have a visual impairment or learning disability
and are unable to read print. This appears to a popular alternative format.
Labels should be prepared in large print and Braille.
Video Service (DVS) provides descriptive narration of key visual elements
-- the action, characters, locations, costumes, and sets -- without interfering
with dialog or sound effects, making television programs, feature films,
home videos and other visual media accessible to people who are blind
or visually impaired.
10. Communication Supports
Support services help people with disabilities access information presented
orally at meetings, conferences, and public events. In pre-event planning,
each participant should be asked if they require any special accommodations.
service is necessary whenever clear communication is required between
deaf and (non-signing) hearing people. It is recommended that an interpreter
be available at booths at events, meetings or presentations attended by
people with disabilities who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
Notetakers (also known as Print Interpreters)
notetaking is a support service requested by deaf, deafened and hard of
hearing consumers who prefer the print mode for their communication and
participation needs. A computerized notetaker, sometimes called a print
interpreter, summarizes what is spoken while still maintaining accuracy
and the spirit and intent of the speaker. Notetakers use a notebook or
laptop computer with a standard keyboard and an overhead screen and/or
TV. Computerized notetaking is not a verbatim print representation of
the spoken material.
captioning is a support service requested by deaf, deafened and hard of
hearing consumers who prefer the print mode for their communication and
participation needs. A real-time (verbatim) captioner uses a court reporting
steno machine, coded to type verbatim text with minimal keystrokes as
he/she is listening.
care services to people with disabilities include assistance with personal
care and escorting to community outings. To ensure that adequate arrangements
are made, ask the participant about the level and type of service required.
Clearly describe the specific needs of the participant to the vendor.
12. Resources and Vendors:
this link for the abridged
version of the DAWN Ontario Access Checklist
Follow this link for the abridged version en
this link for the full version
of the DAWN Ontario Access Checklist
information about how to make you meetings and conference accessible for
people with disabilities, visit the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship’s
Paths to Equal Opportunity web site located at http://www.equalopportunity.on.ca.
the "Search" feature on the site you can enter keywords such
as "meetings," "hotels" "alternative format"
and "conferences" in order to gain access to a wealth of information
on how to plan and create events that are accessible to all participants.
about vendors and service providers can be found in the Ontario March
of Dimes’ Directory for Accessibility web site at http://www.accessibilitydirectory.ca.
valuable resource for locating vendors and other information can be found
on the Government of Canada’s Accessible Procurement Toolkit web
site at http://www.apt.gc.ca/.
(new URL --
amended Dec 13, 2002)
For more information
about creating multiple format materials, Industry Canada, Assistive Devices
Industry Office and the Council on Access to Information for Print-Disabled
Canadians have produced a comprehensive resource titled Manager’s Guide
to Multiple Formats. This resource provides guidelines on how to develop
and deliver accessible published government materials. Although the audience
of the resource is people who are producing government materials, the
principles of information dissemination can be applied to any audience.
The guide can be accessed on the National Library of Canada web site at
are uncertain about what specific accommodation needs an individual or
group of individuals will require, there are plenty of resources to help
you. Check the Directory of Disability Organizations in Canada
located at http://www.enablelink.org/resources/doic_bodbottom1.html
on the EnableLink web site. There you will find access to organizations
most suited to your needs and geographical location.
Accessibility Policy of the Canadian Hearing Society
Hearing Society supports the rights of deaf, deafened and hard of hearing
individuals and is committed to ensuring accessibility to information
communicated during all staff and departmental meetings, workshops and
other communication sessions. It is therefore the CHS policy that any
meetings, workshops or other sessions follow the attached guidelines for
accessibility and communication. It is the responsibility of the designated
Chairperson to ensure the policy is adhered to and that accessibility
issues are prepared for prior to the commencement of the session in question.
and Real Time Captionists/Notetakers
session will have sufficient interpreters and real time captionists/notetakers.
Based on availability, a real time captionist will be the preference.
Presenters must remember that the captionists/notetakers are in fixed
positions due to equipment. All equipment, including any ALD’s must
be in good working condition. Should there be any problem with accessibility
requirements e.g. interpreters or captionist/notetaker not available,
equipment not working, the session will be cancelled. Furthermore, should
accessibility requirements falter during the session e.g. equipment
stops working, the session will be stopped until the required adjustments
to beginning the session, the Chairperson will ensure that all physical
adjustments are made e.g. blinds and lighting adjusted as required. The
Chairperson will designate someone to keep a speakers list to assist with
time management and the flow of the meeting.
(including interpreters, captionists/notetakers) must be able to see each
other and the presentation clearly. Seating must be made available for
those who lipread to ensure sightlines. Tall objects such as water bottles
should be kept off the tables. Equipment must be positioned in the least
background noises can interfere with hearing speech (for anyone). All
present should avoid noises such as flipping pages, rocking chairs and
sliding coffee mugs while speaking. Likewise, if the overhead projector
is not being used, it should be turned off. Consider visual noise as well.
One example is to avoid cluttering the wall directly behind the presenter
with flip chart paper. Avoid mannerisms or bright clothing that create
should pause to allow participants to look at overheads, papers, or other
visuals. Stop speaking and wait for the participants to resume
"Guest Services That Work for Everyone" Training
Binder 2001, produced in partnership with the Greater Toronto Hotel
Association, Ontario March of Dimes and the Ministry of Citizenship's
EnAbling Change Program. Contact GTHA at firstname.lastname@example.org
for complete information about this resource.
Editor's note: The data below, although credited
to the Guest Services That Work for Everyone" Training Binder
2001, is very similar to a document entitled A
Resource Guide For Working with Entrepreneurs with Disabilities
produced by Moira Horgan-Jones of M.
Jones Consulting contracted by The Canadian Centre on Disability
Studies (CCDS) through funding from Western Economic Diversification,
to develop a resource tool for business service providers across Canada
to assist them in delivering programming to people with disabilities.
Guidelines When Serving Anyone with Special Needs
touch anything - equipment, dogs, wheelchairs, etc., without asking
People with disabilities are individuals who come with the same variety
of attitudes, interests and personalities as the general population. Don’t
embarrass anyone by making assumptions. If you don’t know what to do in
any situation, ask! The person who lives with the disability is the best
resource for information on how to help.
What you need to know about People with Visual Impairments
to be considered blind under Canadian Law, someone must have 10% or less
of normal vision in the better eye, after putting on glasses or contact
lenses. That means that this person must stand 20 feet away or less, to
see something that a person with 20/20 vision can see from 200 feet away.
10% of people who are legally blind see absolutely nothing. The majority
have some vision. How much they see, and how functional it is varies greatly
from person to person. Some have tunnel vision, and can only see straight
ahead. Others have no central vision, but can see around the edges. People
with cataracts have generally indistinct vision, and see things through
a ‘foggy window’.
interact appropriately with people who have visual impairments
yourself when you approach.
touch a person with a visual impairment without warning, unless it
is an emergency.
IF help is needed, and if so, HOW you can best help. DON’T make assumptions!
your arm (the elbow) to guide the person, if it is wanted.
touch, talk to, or otherwise distract a guide dog.
giving directions be precise and clear.
shout, and don’t talk down.
at the person while speaking to him/her.
assume the individual can’t see you.
anyone using a guide dog, what you are doing, before opening a door.
walk away without saying good-bye.
leave anyone in the middle of a room. Show them to a chair, or guide
them to stand by a wall, door, etc.
patient, things may take a little longer.
you need to know about People who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing
terms are used to describe people who have hearing loss: hard of hearing,
Deaf, deafened and hearing-impaired. The last term is the least popular,
and people who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing do not use it. As
in the case with other disabilities, hearing loss has a wide variety of
causes and degrees. Remember that people who are affected do not hear
the way the average person does, and they may require assistive
devices when communicating.
interact appropriately with people who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing
sure to have the person’s attention before speaking. The best way
is a gentle tap on the person’s shoulder, if he/she is not facing
yell or exaggerate your speech.
alternate communication methods if it is necessary. Ask what method
is preferred, i.e. pen and paper.
directly at the person to whom you are speaking.
make assumptions about the level of intellect or hearing.
put anything in front of your mouth
clear and precise when giving directions, and repeat or rephrase if
necessary. Make sure you have been understood.
there is a "hearing ear" dog, do not pet, feed or distract
to use Bell Relay Service. The number is 1-800-855-0511.
sure that all assistive devices are properly installed and working.
not show impatience. Communication for people who are Deaf is different
because their first language is not English, it is often Sign Language.
use TTY’s (Teletypewriters)/TDD (Telecommunication Device for the Deaf)
device is used with a regular telephone system. Messages are typed on
a keyboard and then transmitted via telephone wires to a receptor screen
or printer at the other end.
a call using a TTY:
the ON switch.
the DISPLAY switch if you want to use the screen alone, or the PRINT
switch if you want the printout too.
the telephone receiver into the TTY/TDD’s rubber receptacles. Make
sure that the receiver is firmly in place and that the telephone’s
receiver cord is on the LEFT side of the TDD/TTY unit.
the telephone indicator light. If it is lit, you have the line.
the number as you normally would, on the regular phone base.
the light on the TDD/TTY. If it is flashing slowly, then the phone
the phone is answered you will see a phrase appear on the screen.
Usually "Hello, this is ___ GA". The GA stands for Go Ahead,
which means it is your turn. Remember to type GA whenever you finish
speaking, so the other person knows it is his/her turn to speak.
the call is completed, and you want to end the conversation, say goodbye
and add SK. That is ‘stop keying’. The other person will either type
more, or agree to say goodbye, and type SK too. Always make sure that
the other person has typed SK before you hang up.
The person receiving the call starts typing first when he/she says
"hello". Always switch the TDD/TTY to OFF when you have finished
the Bell Canada Relay System is very similar, except that there is an
operator doing the keying for you, while you speak. To use it, call 1-800-855-0511.
Tell the operator your name, the name of the person you are calling, and
the number you wish to reach. The operator will make the call for you.
Speak to the operator as if you were talking directly to the person you
are calling. For example, say "Hi, How are you doing?"
"Tell him I said hello." Remember to say "Go Ahead"
when you are finished speaking, so the person on the other end will know
it is his/her turn to speak. The Relay operators are like sign language
interpreters, in that they are professionals who will not betray confidences.
They will not relay profanity or threats, but will relay marriage proposals
and other personal conversations.
What you need to know about People who are deafblind
people who are deafblind…
person is one who has lost both sight and hearing. This results in greater
difficulties in accessing information and pursuing goals. Most people
who are deafblind will be accompanied by an intervenor, a professional
who facilitates communication.
are trained in special sign language that involves touching the hands
of the client in a two hand, manual alphabet or finger spelling. There
are also a number of other communications methods (auditory, visual, and
tactile) that the intervenor will facilitate. He/she may also guide and
interpret for the client.
interact appropriately with people who are deafblind
yourself, and gently touch a hand or arm when you approach.
touch a deafblind person suddenly, unless it is an emergency.
alternate communication methods if it is necessary.
there is an intervenor, look at and speak to the person who is deafblind.
make assumptions about the level of intellect, hearing or vision.
shout or gesture wildly.
clear and precise when giving directions, and repeat or rephrase if
interfere with a deafblind person’s guide dog.
intervenor is a very highly trained professional. This person should
be treated with the respect you would give to any other professional
- i.e. doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc., and not as an attendant or servant.
What you need to know about People with Physical Disabilities
are many types and degrees of physical disabilities and not all of these
disabilities require the use of a wheelchair. This category includes people
who have arthritis, heart or lung conditions, amputations, and Little
with speech impairment: This category includes people who stutter, as
well as those who have cerebral palsy, hearing loss, or other conditions
that make it difficult to pronounce words. Speech impairments come in
many degrees. Some people who have severe difficulties may use communication
boards or other assistive devices.
interact appropriately with people who have physical disabilities
directly to the person, NOT to the attendant.
IF and HOW you can best help.
the time to understand.
touching any assistive devices, including wheelchairs, unnecessarily.
information about accessible features of the immediate environment
(the location of automatic doors, accessible washrooms, etc.).
Communicating With Anyone Who Has a Speech Impairment
you need to know about People with Psychiatric Disabilities
disability is also referred to as mental illness. Usually you will not
be aware of the state of someone’s mental health, unless you are informed
of it. If someone is experiencing difficulty in controlling symptoms,
or is in a crisis or relapse, you may be called upon to intervene. The
appropriate response will depend on the illness, the circumstances, the
person, and your relationship.
interact appropriately with people who have psychiatric disabilities
a climate of confidence. You must try to remain calm and relaxed.
If you respond in a panicky fashion, you may escalate the situation
further. Avoid reacting with emotions based on fear, anger or distaste.
Keep an open mind and treat the person as an adult. Do not act in
a confrontational way. That could cause the situation to escalate.
attention to non-verbal clues. You may notice someone breathing rapidly,
pacing, perspiring, etc., and should recognize these signs of anxiety.
If you are aware of an anxiety disorder, you may be able to help.
someone appears to be in a crisis, ask how to help. Perhaps you can
contact a friend or relative. In cases where the person needs help,
an excellent resource in Toronto is The Gerstein Centre at 929-5200.
The staff will come to your location and provide crisis-intervention.
Outside of Toronto, contact the Canadian Mental Health Society, and
ask for a referral to a resource for crisis-intervention.
grab or pull him or her, unless you feel it is absolutely necessary
to prevent injury. Avoid nervous movements and face-to-face interactions
that could be perceived as threatening or offensive by a person who
is already in distress. Stand or sit at the person’s side if possible,
to appear less confrontational.
are many people who have been through the ‘mental health care’ system,
as a result of psychiatric conditions, who feel they survived a war.
They may not think of themselves as ‘disabled’, but as people who
react normally to a ‘sick’ society. They believe that the mental-health
care system is a threat to their mental health. It is not unusual
to hear psychiatric survivors discuss mistreatment and incorrect
medications, involuntary hospitalization and other, serious indignities.
It is because of this history, that some people with psychiatric disabilities
may be angry with those in a position of power or authority.
times remain calm. Do not allow your behaviour to escalate the situation.
need to know about People with Intellectual Disabilities
disability is intellectual development and capacity that is significantly
below average. It involves a permanent limitation in a person’s ability
to learn, with effects ranging from mild to profound. The vast majority,
80% are in the mildly affected range.
with intellectual disabilities have difficulty, sometimes severe, doing
many things we take for granted. The emphasis must be placed on what each
person can achieve.
people who have intellectual disabilities were born without the disability,
but developed it later in life due to and illness or accident. Try as
much as possible to treat any person with an intellectual disability like
everyone else. He/she may be able to understand more than you realize,
and will appreciate your behaviour.
interact appropriately with people who have intellectual disabilities
that the message has been understood.
prepared to repeat and rephrase your sentences.
one piece of information at a time.
a polite attitude.
make assumptions about what anyone might be able to do.
you need to know about People with Learning Disabilities
twenty percent of the population has a learning disability. Many go undiagnosed
for years, with the people making constant, unconscious accommodations.
Learning disabilities have nothing to do with intelligence or psychiatric
conditions - many very bright, successful professionals have learning
conditions can affect concentration, sequencing, memory, personality,
the ability to read, write or count, take notes, follow directions, or
sit in a noisy room. There appears to be a correlation between left-handed
males who have allergies, and learning disabilities. Learning disabilities
should be diagnosed through sophisticated testing administered by a psychiatrist
or clinical psychologist.
interact appropriately with people who have learning disabilities
you are told that a learning disability is present, ask for the best
techniques to accommodate the person’s needs.
accustomed to providing information in the format and structure that
is most effective and appropriate for the individual.
trying to ‘cure’ this disability. That cannot be done, but there are
techniques for helping people with learning disabilities to learn,
work and function effectively in society.
the individual is a child, be very encouraging and supportive. This
is an up-hill battle, but in most cases, it can be won.
as much as possible about the disability. You will find it easier
to be patient and understanding if you know what’s going on. The Learning
Disabilities Association, 929-4311, has excellent information, some
of which is available at no cost.
this disability is invisible and difficult to recognize, it is the
most challenging to understand and to cope with. Patience, optimism,
and a willingness to find creative solutions are your best tools.
Accessibility Ontario Web site, Ministry of Citizenship
Copyright Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2002.