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Educators with Disabilities: Part 1

The AODA does not yet have an education standard. Two committees are making recommendations about what an education standard should include. In the meantime, however, there are still AODA requirements for educational institutions to follow. The Employment Standards have regulations that apply to educational institutions. When providers follow these requirements, they make school more accessible to educators with disabilities. For instance, employment standards in education apply to:

  • Public and private schools
  • School boards
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • School libraries
  • Producers of educational or training materials, such as textbook publishers

Employment Standards in Education

Under the Employment Standards, schools, school boards, and academic publishers need to make their employment practices accessible to job applicants and workers with disabilities. For example, all schools and school boards with at least one worker must:

Moreover, schools and school boards with fifty or more workers must have processes in place to create:

More Educators with Disabilities are Needed

In addition, students need a school system that welcomes more educators with disabilities. Educators include people who:

  • Design courses
  • Create or teach lessons
  • Are school board staff

For example, educators may include:

  • Teachers
  • Teaching assistants
  • Educational assistants
  • Early childhood educators
  • School board staff
  • Professors
  • University teaching assistants

However, best practice suggests that educators also include:

  • 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.

Teachers and other staff with disabilities would help their colleagues understand the need to accommodate students. Furthermore, colleagues with disabilities would give their coworkers clearer ideas about the capabilities of their students. Finally, when school spaces become accessible for workers with disabilities, students with the same disabilities can also access them.

In Part 2 of this article, we will explore why some schools and school boards may not be hiring educators with disabilities. We will also consider strategies that school boards and teacher’s colleges can use to welcome more diverse staff into their schools.