Carleton an international model for accessibility

A delegation from the World Disability Union was hosted by Carleton’s Hugh Shewell and Roy Hanes, both of the School of Social Work on a tour of the university’s various services. (Chris Roussakis Photo)

Delegates from the World Disability Union, located in Istanbul, Turkey, joined representatives from the School of Social Work to tour campus and get ideas about how to develop educational programs for young children and youth with disabilities worldwide.

“The reason we are here is to observe and develop a system for inclusive educational models,” says Necdet Öztürk, vice-president of the World Disability Union.

Öztürk, along with the other delegates, made up of academics and government officials, spent a week in Ottawa in October touring schools and facilities – including four schools under the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and rehabilitation centres like the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.

During their visit to Carleton, Hugh Shewell, director of Carleton’s School of Social Work and Prof. Roy Hanes, were their hosts.

The delegates visited the library and residences, and also met President Roseann O’Reilly Runte and Frank Smith, national co-ordinator for the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), which is located on campus. They learned more about the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities.

Yelkin Diker Coşkun, assistant professor in the educational sciences department at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, says she was impressed with Carleton’s facilities and programs for disabled students.

Carleton gave the World Disability Union many ideas that the organization can take away, she says.

“I think the school has planned very well and has solved integration programs,” she says. “It’s a very effective model for us.”

Hanes says while the school serves as a model for inclusivity and accessibility, Carleton’s path was a very gradual process.

“It happened in steps and stages,” he says.

The World Disability Union is doing important work in developing educational programs for youth around the world, and that education plays a significant role in government policies – including social services and health care, he says.

“Education for children and youth is tied to a number of different government policies that come together, and that’s the piece (the World Disability Union) is beginning to realize,” Hanes says. “Just making renovations in a building isn’t going to work. It has to be a mindset.”

Shewell adds that accessible education for children and youth worldwide has another added importance.

“We can only have true citizenship when everyone feels included,” he says.

For more information on the World Disability Union, visit: worlddisabilityunion.org.

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media: http://carletonnow.carleton.ca/?p=11486

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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