Charting the Landscape of Accessible Education for Post-secondary Students with Disabilities
This article presents the results of research examining the impact of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) on educational accessibility at one university in Ontario, Canada. A longitudinal, qualitative study was conducted to explore how students with and without disabilities, instructors, staff members and administrators perceived the relative accessibility of teaching and learning on campus before, during, and after the implementation of one portion of the AODA legislation. In the first phase of this research, several factors affecting educational accessibility at the study university were noted, including knowledge, attitudes, pedagogical choices, disciplinary features, and institutional practices and characteristics. Participants raised many of these issues in the later phases reported here, although some preliminary changes in awareness and institutional practices are also described. Based on these minimal developments, and on participants’ expressed perceptions of the AODA, we conclude that the legislation has had limited impact on the accessibility of teaching and learning on campus to date. Implications of the findings, potentially applicable in many contexts beyond the Ontario setting where the research was conducted, as well as next steps and recommendations for further research are discussed.