IT Research Promoting Social Integration of Students with Disabilities
Integrating Students with Disabilities
For over twenty years, Dawson College and the Cégep du Vieux Montréal have actively collaborated in the development of services to promote the integration of people with disabilities. These two institutions have also maintained close links with many colleges, universities, organizations and associations working with these people.
Dawson College, through the Adaptech network has conducted research since 1996 on the use of information technology in learning technologies and adaptive methodologies by college and university students. In particular, in partnership with the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Adaptech carried out a national study examining the use and accessibility of social media by students with disabilities. For purposes of this study, the term social media included networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, virtual worlds like Second Life, in addition to blogs, wikis and websites such as YouTube.
For its part, the Service d’aide à l’intégration des élèves (SAIDE) of Cégep du Vieux Montréal has been mandated by the ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) since 1982 to support colleges in the western sector of the province in the integration of people with sensory, motor, organic or neurological disabilities. Thus, this mandate has allowed it to develop unique expertise in the use of everyday technology to overcome certain disadvantages. For example, training is offered to teachers and those working with students with disabilities on the optimal use of Antidote with students with learning disabilities for French language composition. Also, the media centre adapts academic materials and support to enable people living with a disability to perform in their courses and learn the material taught by their teachers using the DAISY digital format or other file.
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Launching a Research Center to Promote the Social Integration of Students with Disabilities
In the fall of 2010, to better coordinate activities for integrating students with a disability, MELS authorized funding for the Centre de recherche pour l’inclusion scolaire et professionnelle des étudiants en situation de handicap – CRISPESH (Research Centre for Academic and Professional Integration of Students with Disabilities) as a college center for technology transfer in the field of innovative social practices. Created through the joint initiative of Dawson College and Cégep du Vieux Montréal, CRISPESH targets the development and adoption of practices that promote the integration of people with a handicap, both in settings where they receive their training and where they practice their profession.
Over the coming years the centre aims to reach out and offer a full range of services to organizations such as schools, parapublic and private media as well as community associations, businesses and professional associations. CRISPESH will use the best means available to identify, assess, select and affiliate with those groups that are found to be the most appropriate and best suited to successfully meet the challenge of integrating people with disabilities. In this context, the center wants to develop its expertise through work with researchers on various projects including those related to the familiarization, experimental development and use of technology.