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Presentation on theme: "LET’S TALK ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY!"— Presentation transcript:

Graduate Students’ Association

2 Ice-Breaker Find someone who… Try to get at least 5 in a row!
speaks more than 1 language. has a physical disability. knows a Sign Language. has never known anyone with a mental health concern.  always needs to ask people to repeat themselves. is married. has never met an LGBTQ+ individual. has sought treatment for a mental health concern. has treated someone differently based on their gender or sexuality. likes to play sports. doesn’t know what LGBTQ+ means. was born and raised in Canada. has an accent. has lived in another country. has experienced a mental health concern. is wearing something purple. has had problems communicating with people who speak a different language from their own.  has stayed up all night to finish a paper. identifies as LGBTQ+. has worked with people from other countries.

3 Barriers to Accessibility
Ideological Barriers Interpersonal Barriers Institutional Barriers Structural Barriers

4 Ideological Barriers Ideological barriers stem from a belief system (or ideology) that asserts a particular group or population as superior/inferior to another.

5 Ideological Barriers Ideological barriers can present themselves through explicit discrimination or prejudices, but are also very present in indirect assumptions and attitudes.

6 Interpersonal Barriers
Misunderstandings, problems, or conflicts which occur as a result of the communication or cultural differences of the interacting parties.

7 Institutional Barriers
Organizational policies, practices, and processes that exclude certain individuals.

8 What institutional barriers can you identify?
Who might be excluded here? The School of Graduate Studies (University of Toronto) requires letters of reference for all applicants.

9 Individuals who experience social anxiety, or communicative issues in social settings might not be able to get or ask for such a letter.

10 What institutional barriers can you identify?
Who might be excluded here? The School of Graduate Studies (University of Toronto) requires letters of reference for all applicants. Only specific addresses are acceptable. The OISE website states that: A valid institutional/organizational address is necessary in order for a referee to upload their letter. An address that is not linked to an institution, organization or business is not acceptable (examples are Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail). From:

11 Someone might have recently lost their job and therefore only have a personal address. They are not fit to be a referee because they do not belong to an organization. This is a barrier for the potential student.

12 Structural Barriers Structural barriers can include the architectural or structural design of a building that restricts access. Structural barriers may also include items to the physical environment that affects life experiences, such as inaccessible affordable or inadequate housing. Structural barriers can also include things such as inaccessible public transportation.

13 Physical ‘Disability’
What are physical ‘disabilities’?  Mobility-related disabilities Health and medical disabilities Disabilities that result from brain injuries

14 Terminology  Do NOT use the following language to describe people with disabilities: Handi-capable/handicapable Differently abled Physically challenged (or mentally challenged or any form of "challenged")  Special needs or "special" in general

15 Ableism Disability is a social construct that is centred around ableism or the ableist society. Ableism is the discourse in western society that creates and maintains practices and beliefs that those living with a disability are inferior or less valuable to society.

16 Accommodations Accommodations and services may include, but are not limited to, ensuring physical access to spaces, programs and resources.

17 Top 10 Tips 1. Don’t assume. 3. Take the time to listen.
2. Always communicate. 3. Take the time to listen. 4. Empathy is key. 5. Do not categorize.

18 Top 10 Tips 6. Be an enabler. 7. Plan for accessibility.
8. Be supportive. 9. Teach inclusion to everyone. 10. Treat everyone equally.

19 Intercultural Communication
Did Jeannie communicate successfully with Shakina? What could she have done to become a better intercultural communicator?

20 Top 10 Tips 1. Slow down and speak clearly. 3. Avoid slang.
2. Separate questions. Avoid negative questions. 3. Avoid slang. 4. Watch the humour. 5. Be a code breaker.

21 Top 10 Tips 6. Pay attention to the non-verbal. 7. Meta-communicate.
8. See similarities. 9. Be interested and curious. 10. Avoid stereotypes and prejudices.

22 Gender & Sexuality Understanding Gender and Creating Inclusive Spaces
Common ways that we make spaces exclusive, uncomfortable, or unsafe: 1. Assumptions 2. Binary categories 3. Unnecessary identification/categorization 4. Language and images

23 Gender & Sexuality Understanding Sexuality/Sexual Identity and Creating Inclusive Spaces Common ways that we make spaces exclusive, uncomfortable, or unsafe: 1. Assumptions 2. Unnecessary identification/categorization 3. Language and images

24 11 Statements about Mental Health

25 No one factor (event, personality trait, relationship, etc
No one factor (event, personality trait, relationship, etc.) can cause mental illness. FACT! Mental illnesses are complicated conditions that arise from a combination of genetics, biology, environment, and life experiences

26 People who experience mental illness are weak and can’t handle stress.
FICTION! Everyone is affected by stress. “People who experience mental illnesses may actually be better at managing stress than people who haven’t experienced mental illnesses. Many people who experience mental illnesses learn skills like stress management and problem-solving so they can take care of stress before it affects their well-being. Taking care of yourself and asking for help when you need it are signs of strength, not weakness.

27 Depression is an inevitable part of aging.
FICTION! It is not inevitable. It is true that, “Older adults may have a greater risk of depression because they experience so many changes in roles and social networks.”  However, that does not mean that every person will experience depression as they get older.

28 Mental health problems are not real health problems
Mental health problems are not real health problems. They usually go away on their own. FICTION! Mental health problems are real. There are a variety of effective treatments for mental illnesses. They do not go away without some sort of intervention.

29 Not every individual responds well to medication.
Treatment for mental illnesses is as simple as taking prescription medication. Once you get on the right drug for you, you’ll be “cured”. It’s like surgery! FICTION! Not every individual responds well to medication. For example, in the case of depression, “Treating depression involves many moving parts, only one of which is antidepressants.” -Thomas Insel Director of National Institute for Mental Health (NIHM, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

30 People with mental illnesses are more violent and dangerous than other people.
FICTION! “People who experience a mental illness are no more violent than people without a mental illness. Researchers agree that mental illnesses are not a good predictor of violence.”

31 Researchers estimate that as many as one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. FACT! While you might never experience a mental illness, there is a good chance someone you know will. Mental illnesses affect everyone. People who struggle with mental illnesses need acceptance and support from people in their community. “Family members and loved ones do have a big role in support and recovery.”

32 Kids can’t have a mental illness like depression
Kids can’t have a mental illness like depression. Those are adult problems. FICTION! “Even children can experience mental illnesses. In fact, many mental illnesses first appear when a person is young. Mental illnesses may look different in children than in adults, but they are a real concern.”

33 People with mental illnesses are not lazy or incompetent!
People who experience mental illnesses can’t work or don’t want to work. FICTION! People with mental illnesses are not lazy or incompetent! “Mental illnesses don’t mean that someone is no longer capable of working”. “Some people benefit from changes at work to support their goals, but many people work with few supports from their employer. Most people who experience serious mental illnesses want to work but face systemic barriers to finding and keeping meaningful employment.” There might be some structural barriers because of accommodations people might need.

34 According to a 2007 study, 76% of Canadian workers believe it is easier for workplaces to deal with physical disabilities than with mental health conditions. FACT! According to that same study, only 20% of Canadian workers are even aware of any specific guidelines or policies in their workplace for dealing with or accommodating people with mental health conditions. (Source: Mental Health in the Workplace, Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, 2007)

35 LGBTQ+ individuals face higher risks of some mental health issues.
FACT! “This is due to the effects of discrimination and the social determinants of health.”

36 Ways to increase accessibility
Provide access to a quiet space Consider giving ‘Trigger Warnings’ Proactive communication Source: CripChick

37 Language? Is “mental illness” appropriate? Is there better language that can be used?



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