To meet Ontario’s goal of being barrier free for persons with disabilities in 2025, all information and communication (audio, text, Braille, multimedia, sign language, and face to face interaction) must be made accessible to everyone. Based on the AODA Customer Service regulation, our communication and information should reflect the following core principles.
Dignity: Educational policies, procedures and practices that respect the autonomy of all, regardless of personal circumstance, emphasizing the value of each individual as a valued person deserving of full service. This requires that no person be treated as an afterthought, forced to accept a lesser quality learning opportunity or experience inconvenience. Those providing education resources need to take into account how persons with disabilities learn and make use of education resources.
Independence: When individuals – regardless of personal circumstance – are able to assert their own physical autonomy, without unnecessary assistance from others. Independence can also refer to freedom from the control or influence of others. Accommodating a person’s independence in lieu of a disability requires staff to engage with persons in a manner of the person’s choosing: one that allows for different modes of communication to facilitate autonomy.
Integration: The ability to provide policies, practices and procedures in a way that it enables all individuals to benefit from the same service, in the same place, and in a similar way as others. If you are unable to remove accessibility barriers, steps must be taken to consider what else can be done to achieve effective – or alternative access.
Equal Opportunity: The act of providing equal educational services, resources, and benefits to all, regardless of personal circumstance. When providing equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, ensure there are mechanisms in place to facilitate the distribution of services in such a way that no one has to exert significantly more effort than others in order to obtain them.