Path through trees in a park

I found that one of the biggest issues when I switched from high school to college was a difference in the services. High schools use different platforms, such as Google Docs, to do their work on and hand in, whereas my college used Word. In my high school I used programs like Google Read and Write, scribes, etc. and in college I use Dragon Naturally Speaking. Depending on how long a student has used their technology, it can be tedious to learn and adapt to a new technology.

I also struggled with the physical accessibility of my college. When using the library or student life centre, which was by the main entrance, to get to the office that had the technology I used to do my tests, it was a 5 minute walk to the elevator and then a 5 minute walk to the office. Outside, snow removal was also an issue for me. The plows swing in to remove the snow from the accessible parking, leaving snow right where someone would put a walker or wheelchair, and it was a real inconvenience. I think a lot of this came down to poor accessibility funding for the college.

Upon acceptance, I was in touch with the Accessibility Services office to go over what I needed. A doctor or specialist's letter is needed (in my case) or a letter from the In School Resource Teacher (ISRT) describing any IEPs or other strategies used by the students in high school. Supports are wide-ranging, and I found the experience to be pretty easy and simple.

For new postsecondary students, I strongly recommend visiting the campus prior to starting. High school students can often go as a student for a day. Sit down with faculty and coordinators of the course you are entering to get an idea of the course load and what's expected. Visit Adaptive Technology (AT) services and discuss your needs so they can get an idea of what you'll need and can explain what services are available. Talk to a student with a disability to see how they're coping.

I would strongly encourage students to go to AT services. There is a lot available to students and if not, they will find or figure out how to best support the student to be successful!

- Stephen Ashby, College Graduate

Print Friendly and PDF