The AODA does not yet have an education standard. Two committees are making recommendations about what an education standard should include. In the meantime, educational institutions must follow the rules in the Information and Communications Standards that apply to other organizations. In addition, there are also rules just for educational institutions. All educational institutions must provide accessibility training for educators.
All educational institutions must provide accessibility training for educators. Educational institutions include:
- Public and private schools
- School boards
- School libraries
- Producers of educational or training materials, such as textbook publishers
- Teaching assistants
- Educational assistants
- Early childhood educators
- School board staff
However, best practice suggests that educators also include:
- Educational assistants
- Child and youth workers
- Support staff
- Administrative staff
Best practice counts these school staff as educators because they all work with students as part of their jobs. Some of these students will have disabilities. Therefore, it is important that all school staff know how to work with every student, not just non-disabled students.
Accessibility Training for Educators
Accessibility training for educators means that all educators must receive training on how to create accessible courses and lessons. Educators must also learn how to teach in ways that accommodate the needs of students with different disabilities. For instance, educators should learn about how different disabilities may affect the ways their students learn. Moreover, they should know about the barriers these students may face when accessing spaces, information, and technology. Furthermore, educators should know that some barriers can come from sections in school or school board policies. Likewise, other barriers can come from negative ideas that some staff or students may have about a student’s disability. In addition, educators should learn how they can create solutions to prevent or remove some of these barriers. Finally, educators should learn about resources and materials they can use to achieve all these goals.
Educators can have training in many different formats, including workshops, handouts, or online learning. Institutions must keep records detailing who has received training and when the training took place.
Our next article will explore how stronger accessibility training for educators can more fully support students with disabilities.