Present: Michelle Bahuaud, Brian Lee, Ron Teffaine, Chris Franz, Maggie Wilman, Marilyn Barr, Colleen Doerksen, Suzanne Golden, Jonathon Cooper, Jeremy Davidson, Dr. Karen Pain, Louise Lelievre, and Jo-Anne Burt.
This meeting was arranged by Karen Pain, Louise Lelievre, and Jo-Anne Burt from Portage la Prairie SD. Thank you to all who attended and participated.
Roslyn Gaetz - (204-474-7441) at the University of Manitoba coordinated a multifaceted presentation for most of the day to review the programs within the Disability Services department. This department provides support and advocacy for students with disabilities of all kinds: hearing, learning (reading, writing, mathematics), injury-related (e.g., acquired brain injury), mental health (e.g., test anxiety, OCD, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, psychosis, autism spectrum), medical (e.g., multiple sclerosis), physical (wheelchair bound), or visual (blind, low vision). Reasonable accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities. Accommodations refer to any service, equipment or special arrangement that are put in place to support students' activities at the University of Manitoba. These must be recommended and verified by an appropriate professional (e.g., medical doctor, clinical psychologist, school psychologist, etc.). The most common accommodations are: on-campus transportation, American Sign Language/English interpretation, note-takers, extended time for tests/exams, and e-mail notification to instructors about accommodations.
The following programs were presented: Adaptive Technology Program (e.g., software and equipment to assist with studying, test-taking an assignment completion); Coaching Program (e.g., support and advice to increase self-efficacy); Learning Disability Clinic (e.g., completes diagnostic assessments for learning disabilities - 8 month wait); Tutoring Service (e.g., tutors are provided for a fee from the Learning Assistance Centre); and Volunteer Note-Taking (e.g., volunteer note-takers share their notes anonymously with students who are unable to take their own notes, such as those who are deaf or hard of hearing).
Ms. Cindy Koskie (coordinator of deaf/HOH services - TTY 204-474-6269) told us about the continuous note-takers and interpreters that are provided. Two interpreters are provided in each room. They trade-off every 20 minutes.
Alanna told us about accommodations for those with mental health and traumatic brain injury issues. To obtain services, Disability Services must have the required medical documentation, including the date of onset. Professors are not told the diagnoses, only the symptoms and accommodations that are required.
Two students named Michelle and Monica were generous enough to tell us their personal stories about how the services benefited them.
Roslyn told us that students can apply for the Canada Study Grant, which can provide them up to $8000. They must however first qualify for a student loan. To qualify for the Canada Study Grant, a student's assessment must have been completed within the last five years.
Campus Life - students with significant cognitive disabilities can audit courses with modifications.
In the afternoon, we attended the awards ceremony for outstanding teachers who had made significant accommodations for specific students.
Michelle Bahuaud - presented on a number of topics from MECY. For example, she told us about some new staff members (e.g., Marlene Gregory, Barb Melnychuk), the development of a Learning Disabilities support document, the attendance online survey, the online suicide/depression workshop by Dr. Carrie Lambert on March 9, 2009, the Students Services Forum on May 8, 2009 regarding universal design at the Canad Inn Club Regent, the new initiative regarding assessments for incarcerated youth before transitioning back to school, acknowledgment that school psychologists' diagnoses will be accepted by MECY (IQ classifications should include percentile ranks as well), the new Integrated Outcomes Program, and that the Minister of Health would like to finalize new legislation for "psychologists" in the province.