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Tuesday, May 12 • 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Supporting Students with Disabilities (SWD) Transitioning from Post-Secondary to Careers

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Working towards supporting students with disabilities (SWD) in transitioning from an post-secondary academic setting to a career/experiential learning setting. This session is relevant to career advisors, co-op coordinators, employers, students, faculty and anyone interested in equity, diversity and inclusion work.

As a Registered Social Worker, MSW student and Accessibility Experiential Learning Coordinator at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), I approach my work using anti-oppressive, critical disability and critical discourse theory. Pedagogically speaking, these approaches align well with transformative social justice work in that: Anti-oppressive practice theory aims to reduce power differentials, empower, and give voice to people living on the social, cultural and political margins; critical disability theory challenges the social construction of disability by deconstructing how disability is perceived, experienced and defined by Western society; and critical discourse theory seeks to contentiously unpack common language used related to disability.

Disruption and Transformation Work at TRU
The Thompson Rivers University Career and Experiential Learning Department (CEL) is working diligently on accessibility initiatives to support our diverse student population. From an equity, diversity and inclusion perspective we recognize that disability is defined and experienced in different ways by different groups of people. Therefore, we are working towards inclusive service provision that acknowledges that other marginalized identities may intersect with disability. In essence, this work is being done in an effort to decolonize the academy’s approach to equity, diversity and inclusion priorities. We have approached this initiative through a process of research, engagement, education and resource development.

After several informal conversations with SWD, career practitioners, community employers and TRU faculty, common themes emerged in the following areas:

• Knowledge about accessibility and accommodations
• Attitudes about disability
• Understanding the legal duty to accommodate

Education and practical resource tools were developed based on the expressed needs of the groups interviewed. From a student-centred perspective, our priority is to create safer spaces, where we can, to cultivate a positive and supported student experience. Therefore, holistically speaking, we intend to provide education and resources to all parties involved in making this possible including community employers, faculty and CEL practitioners.

Please note, common themes above were identified in the social, environmental and political context that informs the culture of TRU and the surrounding communities.


Jennifer Mei

Accessibility Services Advisor, Thompson Rivers Universtiy

Tuesday May 12, 2020 3:00pm - 4:00pm PDT
Ballroom 3

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