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National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) e-Newsletter

Published on: Fri, 01/27/2012
Last Modified: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 5:41pm

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)

Issue 5: January 2012

NEADS National Student Awards and Holly Bartlett Memorial Award

Ottawa, January 10, 2012 - The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is now accepting applications for the NEADS National Student Awards Program and the Holly Bartlett Memorial Award. These awards are offered to encourage full access to post-secondary education for persons with disabilities enrolled in undergraduate, graduate or professional degree programs at recognized Canadian universities, or in certified diploma programs at Canadian colleges. A minimum of seven outstanding applicants, who meet the criteria of the Student Awards Program, will be receiving an award in the amount of $3,000 to support the costs of their tuition and student fees. One deserving applicant will receive the new Holly Bartlett Memorial Award in the amount of $1,000.

Funding for the NEADS Student Awards has been supported since 2006 by BMO Capital Markets' Equity Through Education Program, a charitable initiative aimed at creating a more diverse workplace by offering educational opportunities to people who are most in need of support. In May 2006, NEADS became one of four Canadian recipients of donations from the second Equity Through Education trading day and our scholarship program was established after the funding announcement. This year we are thrilled to announce that Enbridge Pipelines Inc. has become a new sponsor of the program, providing support to three awards in 2012/2013.

“We are very excited about this new partnership with NEADS, and proud to sponsor and support the NEADS awards to post-secondary students,” said Dr. Lori Campbell, Manager of Diversity at Enbridge Pipelines. “We’re pleased to offer these awards to students to help offset some of the costs of tuition so they can continue focusing on excelling in both the classroom and their community.”

"We are very proud of the NEADS Student Awards Program, and our 45 recipients over its first five years," said Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, NEADS' Senior Advisor and the director of the student awards program. "This program is the first of its kind in Canada, and was created to recognize overall excellence among students with disabilities in all aspects of post-secondary education. Our winners to date all embody the very best qualities of academic and community involvement. We hope that the program continues to grow, and we look forward to this year's crop of outstanding applicants."

"Holly Bartlett was loved by all who knew her", said Frank Smith, NEADS' National Coordinator. "It was my privilege and pleasure to work with Holly while she served on our Board of Directors. Holly's accomplishments, in a life that was way too short, were phenomenal. We believe that she should be honoured and the Holly Bartlett Memorial Award is a fitting tribute because it will help other students with disabilities realize success in post-secondary education. This is the second year for the Award in Holly's memory."

For more information, please contact the NEADS office: National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Rm. 426 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, tel. (613) 380-8065, or go directly to our Equity Through Education Student Awards website:

New source of support for campus career centres!

Ottawa, November 24, 2011 - Thanks to the generosity of TD Bank Group, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is launching a new project that will focus on supporting campus career centres in serving students with disabilities.

Since 2001, NEADS has had a variety of employment initiatives focused on students. However, increasingly NEADS has received requests from career centres for resources and information specifically to help with providing career services for students with disabilities. “We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to reach out to career centre staff” said Jennifer Dillon, Project Manager.

“We know career centre staff are working hard to meet the needs of students with disabilities, and this project is intended to provide support and continue building capacity,” said Dillon.

The project will begin with a needs assessment survey that will be sent to all campus career centres across Canada; the purpose is to identify what types of resources, information and training would be of help. Then, in 2012 NEADS will develop, and begin to deliver resources / training to respond to the identified needs.

As part of the project, a collection of case studies of existing campus employment initiatives for students with disabilities will be developed.

A part-time paid employment opportunity for a post-secondary student / recent graduate will also be part of the project.

Outreach to career centres is one part of a larger vision. Following this project NEADS hopes to gain support for a project that will bring together employers and post-secondary students with disabilities. “In order to make a difference we know we need career centres, employers and students all working together towards a common goal” said Dillon.

If you’d like more information about this project, or if you would like to share an employment initiative for students with disabilities from your campus, please email:

For more information, please contact the NEADS office

Scholarship supports promising research careers of graduate students with disabilities

November 28, 2011 – Making public parks more accessible and understanding how the human body compensates after the loss of an eye are what Jason Angel and Stefania Moro hope to accomplish with their research. The two graduate students are the latest recipients of a unique scholarship aimed at helping burgeoning scientists living with a disability to pursue and advance a career in rehabilitation research.

Called the TD Grant in Medical Excellence: A Scholarship in Rehabilitation Related Research for People with Disabilities, the award provides funding for students with disabilities pursuing a career in rehabilitation research. The scholarship is administered by the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) and is open to students from several universities in Ontario: McMaster, Ryerson, University of Toronto, Waterloo, York and Wilfrid Laurier.

Among the first of its kind in Canada, the scholarship will provide $20,000 each to Jason and Stefania, who now join a growing list of 12 graduate students who have received one-time and renewed awards since the scholarship’s inception. Since 2006, TD Bank Financial Group has pledged $550,000 to support the program, which was created by Toronto Rehab and its foundation to engage people with disabilities in a meaningful way in rehabilitation research.

“This scholarship enhances the relevance and quality of rehabilitation research and breaks down the barriers that students with disabilities often face when pursuing higher education,” says Dr. Geoff Fernie, Institute Director of Research, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, who developed the idea for the scholarship. “This is important because out of the four million people living with a disability in Canada, only about eight per cent complete a bachelor’s degree, and even fewer complete a graduate degree.”

Having grown up in the rural woods of Maine, Jason has always had a love of the outdoors and travel. This passion continued after a car crash in 1990 which left him with a spinal cord injury.

“My spirit of adventure didn’t end when I started using a wheelchair,” says Jason. “I realized how environmental barriers can prevent people with disabilities from participating in travel, employment, and everyday life. With the right knowledge and a bit of effort, many of these barriers can be eliminated or minimized.”

Jason’s determination led him to the field of research. In 2001, Jason enrolled at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts to study what he loves – travel and tourism. After graduating, Jason along with his wife, Patty, moved to Canada in 2010 to complete a master’s degree at the University of Waterloo in the Environmental Studies Tourism Policy and Planning program.

Recognizing the importance of accessibility for people with disabilities and its enormous potential economic impact on the tourism industry, he is currently auditing accessibility at five parks in southern Ontario and plans to make recommendations to improve accessibility particularly for people with limited mobility or who use wheelchairs.

For Stefania, the scholarship will advance the graduate student’s already groundbreaking work. She is the first researcher to study auditory and visual processing in a rare group of patients - those who have had one eye surgically removed at a young age due to cancer.

She believes that people with a sensory deficit can be trained to adapt, which in turn will result in rich perceptual experiences and less stress on their remaining senses. Her research explores crossmodal plasticity - or how people with one eye adapt - and whether other senses are enhanced and thus compensate for the loss.

“There is evidence of cortical plasticity. People with one eye have enhanced senses as a form of compensation,” says Stefania, who suffered a traumatic injury to her left eye as a child. “This gives researchers and medical practitioners useful information to teach people how to improve their lives. My life experiences and my knowledge of the importance of maintaining my seeing eye and complementary senses have driven me to advocate for vision research and the resulting clinical applications which will improve patients’ lives.”

Stefania's research has previously been supported by the Canadian National Institute of the Blind's (CNIB) Baker award which was presented to her supervisor, Dr. Jennifer Steeves of York University's Perceptual Neuroscience Laboratory. In 2005, the CNIB also awarded Stefania the Walter and Wayne Gretzky Scholarship to support her undergraduate studies.

Stefania plans to explore her findings further through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging at York University and intends to pursue a doctoral program in Vision Science research. The scholarship will help her advance this area of research.

For Jason, through the scholarship and his ongoing support from family, friends and his wife, “I have every opportunity to achieve my goal of changing the world.”

About Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
One of North America’s leading rehabilitation sciences centres, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) is revolutionizing rehabilitation by helping people overcome the challenges of disabling injury, illness or age related health conditions to live active, healthier, more independent lives through innovative patient care, groundbreaking research and inter-professional education. Rehab, along with Toronto Western, Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospitals, is a member of the University Health Network and is affiliated with the University of Toronto. Visit us online:

Todd Leach. Senior Advisor, Public Affairs and Communications
Toronto Rehab/University Health Network
416-597-3422 Ext. 3025

NEADS and BMO Capital Markets Announce Winners of Equity Through Education

Ottawa, October 4, 2011 - The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) and BMO Capital Markets are pleased to announce the 12 outstanding winners of the 2011 NEADS Equity Through Education Student Awards Program. All recipients receive $3,000 for tuition and student fees.

The winners are:

  • Futsum Abbay (Doctoral student, Law, McGill University)
  • Jillian Arkles (Undergraduate student, Arts, University of Toronto)
  • Raquel Baldwinson (Undergraduate student, English, University of British Columbia)
  • Amanda Bertoldi (Masters student, Teaching, University of Toronto)
  • Elizabeth Cawley (Masters student, Science, McGill University)
  • Rebecca Donaldson (Diploma student, Justice Studies, Bow Valley College)
  • Andrew Ferrier (Doctoral student, Neuroscience/Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa)
  • Benjamin Horne (Undergraduate student, Industrial Engineering, Dalhousie University)
  • Carolann Maynard (Diploma student, Practical Nursing, Mohawk College)
  • Chelsea Mohler (Masters student, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Western Ontario)
  • Carrie Moffatt (Undergraduate student, Law, University of Victoria)
  • Ingrid Wirth (Undergraduate student, Science, University of Saskatchewan)

"Congratulations to the 2011 winners of the NEADS Equity Through Education Student Awards,” said Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, NEADS Past-President and Chair of the selection committee. "We received over 300 excellent applications for this year's competition. Choosing the winners was a difficult process – the achievements and perseverance of many of our candidates was just incredible. The dedication and success of this year's winners truly embodies the spirit of the Awards program. We wish the winners all the very best in their studies, and look forward to watching their successes in the future. We are grateful to BMO Capital Markets for its generous funding of the Equity Through Education Student Awards."

“We are proud to congratulate this year’s 12 outstanding student award winners,” said Mike Miller, Head of Equity Products, BMO Capital Markets and a champion of the Equity Through Education Program. “We admire your achievements and hope that they will inspire others. “The important work that NEADS does not only helps young Canadians with disabilities finish their studies, but also helps them to make a successful transition to the work force.”

NEADS Announces the winner of the Holly Bartlett Memorial Award

Ottawa, October 4, 2011 - The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) and the family of the late Holly Bartlett are thrilled to announce the winner of the Holly Bartlett Memorial Award. Raquel Baldwinson, an undergraduate English student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), is the recipient of the bursary in the amount of $1,000. The award, which will be paid to UBC, will cover some of Raquel's costs related to tuition and student fees.

"We are so grateful that NEADS has established this award in honour of Holly. To know that others will be awarded for their responsibility towards self-reliance and education ensures that Holly's legacy lives on," said the Bartlett family. "Holly was ever convinced she could complete any obstacle and outrun any challenge. It is our family's hope that the well-deserved recipients continue their commitment in working towards a better tomorrow for not only themselves, but for their community. Her spirit will forever live on in the phenomenal work of these recipients. We are so very thankful and proud."

"Holly Bartlett was loved by all who knew her", said Frank Smith, NEADS' National Coordinator. "It was my privilege and pleasure to work with Holly while she served on our Board of Directors. Holly's accomplishments, in a life that was way too short, were phenomenal. We believe that she should be honoured and the Holly Bartlett Memorial Award is a fitting tribute because it will help other students with disabilities realize success in post-secondary education. I congratulate Raquel Baldwinson for her outstanding achievements and for being recognized as the first recipient of the Award in Holly's memory."

Taking Stock of Inclusion in the Education Sector: Where Have We Come From, Where Are We Going

June 14th - 16th, 2012
St. Thomas University
Presented by the Atlantic Human Rights Centre

The Atlantic Human Rights Centre (AHRC), housed at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was established in 1989 as a result of the region and its peoples’ influence in the global human rights movement.

Since that time, the AHRC has developed and promoted programming focusing on the proliferation of human rights education through dynamic initiatives such as: fellowships, lecture series, academic programme design, professional development institutes, and conferences.

Following its February 2011 strategic planning exercise, the AHRC has identified equality, diversity and inclusion, as areas of programmatic focus. Implicit in these topics is the issue of reasonable accommodation of differences which maximizes diversity. As such, the AHRC in conjunction with St. Thomas University will host a conference in June 2012 to address these issues as they relate to education in public schools (K-12), community colleges and universities.

Inclusion, defined broadly for the purposes of the Conference, supports the equality mandates of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and other related international conventions, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and provincial human rights codes. This equality imperative is one that is based upon the recognition and accommodation of differences - be they linguistic, cultural, of Aboriginal origin, geographic origin, socio-economic status or levels of ability, to name but a few. Equality demands both the accommodation of differences and systemic changes to existing structures and practices so that all students can feel that they really belong and can benefit from the education system. The goal of inclusive education is the achievement of consistently better student outcomes for all students, in all areas (academically, emotionally, socially, and physically), while providing a satisfying and supportive work environment for educators and staff.

The Conference will bring together researchers, teachers, academics, undergraduate and graduate students, education administrators, NGOs and government representatives from the regional, national and international community to discuss normative developments, best practice policies and challenges involving inclusion theory and application within the public school, university and community college education sector. The focus will be on the deconstruction and reconstruction of ‘inclusion’ and how this concept interacts with human rights and citizenship responsibilities and obligations.

The Conference will feature keynote and plenary speeches from academics and policy makers, a workshop, and presentations from practitioners and researchers.

The main theme for the 2012 Conference is Taking Stock of Inclusion in the Education Sector:

Where Have We Come From, Where Are We Going?

Conference sub-themes are as follows:
1. What are communities’ domestic and international human rights obligations toward realizing effective inclusion practices within the education sector? Successes and challenges in implementing and monitoring international conventions such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination, or the UNESCO Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination in Education, etc.
2. What role can citizenship play in determining inclusion obligations and responsibilities for education providers and civil society?
3. Comparative analysis of differing provincial jurisdictional approaches. Are inclusion successes of one educational jurisdiction transferable to others?
4. Effectiveness of policy. Is inclusion policy making an effective transition from theory to practice? Approaches to ‘inclusion proofing’ policy for education administrators.
5. Different grounds for inclusion, different needs. Is a holistic approach to inclusion possible?
6. Strategies in the classroom and educational community. Challenges and benefits to successful ground level inclusion practices for students, teachers, instructors and professors.
7. Different institutional environments, different approaches for K-12, college and university.
8. Health and wellness benefits derived from inclusive education policy.
What’s new with Board members: Fall experiences from Natalie and Diane

On September 6, I had the wonderful experience of participating in the Easter Seals Edmonton Drop Zone. This event is held each year to raise funds for Easter seals.

This year, 74 participants had the opportunity to be super heroes for a day and repel down the outside of the Sutton Place Hotel (29 storey’s, about 265 feet). I was one of these super heroes! My guide dog Max and I dressed as super heroes for the event. Although Max did not repel with me, he did manage to get a lot of attention from the crowd.

Standing on top of the building, I was so high up that I wasn’t able to hear the traffic or people shouting on the ground. The hardest part was standing on the ledge and leaning back. This is a true test in trusting another person to make sure that the ropes are prepared and that the equipment is working properly. Then comes the time when you need to start walking down the wall backwards. When I moved my foot, my balance changed and it gave me a bit of a start. What a frightening feeling, but so very exciting!

As I moved down the building I had a few moments where I was quite scared. The motion on the rope pulled me away from the wall and I dangled and bounced on the rope. Once I got my feet back firmly on the wall it was much better, and I enjoyed every minute of the adventure.

Reaching the ground, and realizing that I actually did it, I began to shake with the adrenalin rush. It was exciting and thrilling and I would do it again in a minute!

Diane Bergeron
NEADS Alberta Director

Much More Than Just A Walk In The Garden

By Natalie Fougère, New Brunswick Director

I’d like to give you a little taste for some of my interesting experiences in the fall in New Brunswick. Let me give you a taste of a little paradise I found that can make every day seem bright. On this particular morning, I got up knowing that this could be a long car ride. Leaving from Moncton to get to St. Andrews, a resort New Brunswick town located approximately 20 miles from the US border; it takes at least three driving hours. I however knew that I was with a group of friends which were all members of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). What I did not know is how great of an experience I would have in Kingsbrae Garden, which made the car ride entirely worth it!

Every year, the CNIB organizes an outing to explore the beauty of Kingsbrae Garden, a 27-acre horticultural delight that opened in 1998 and was quickly named one of the top 10 gardens in Canada. It includes thousands of artfully displayed flowers, plants, shrubs and trees. But why is it so beneficial for blind and visually impaired people to explore it?

Kingsbrae has an amazing Scents and Serenity Garden for the blind and visually impaired. Build with the advice of the CNIB, it includes Braille markings, as well as plants with very strong scents and tactile sensations I had never experienced before. All plants are chosen because they have an interesting smell or texture. I am far from being the most skilled person when it comes to flowers and plants, however, I had the chance to read the different names in Braille and associate them with their actual feeling and smell. There was even small descriptions of certain ones, which made me learn a lot in the two hours I was there exploring. The names for the plants were labeled in English, Latin and Braille.

Aside from the Scents and Sensitivity Garden, Kingsbrae has over 50,000 different plants on display, edible gardens, a cedar maze, an ornamental grass garden, a rose garden, a gravel garden, a virgin Acadian forest trail, streams, as well as a jenuine Dutch windmill (1/3 scale). There are also alpacas, which we had the chance to touch, pygmy goats, ducks, peacocks, sculptures, as well as a children’s Fantasy Garden.

On my way home back to Moncton, I was gathering all my memories in my head and I was already looking forward to visiting Kingsbrae Garden again. If ever you end up visiting St.-Andrews one day, Kingsbrae Garden is the place to be!

Campus Groups and Access Committees

Does your school have a Campus Group of students with disabilities or an Access Committee? If so, we would like the information on our website. All you have to do is select "Add A Group or Committee" on the following page. Fill out the form on the NEADS website and submit it:

Also, if your group/committee is listed, but the information is not up-to-date, please complete a new form and we'll replace the old entry.

NEADS Online Calendar

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students has an Online Calendar on the website. It's easy to Add an Event; just fill-out the form and submit a conference or meeting to:

We want events in the calendar that are happening on your campus, in your community, in your province, or anywhere in Canada that visitors to our website might be interested in.

e-Newsletter submission guidelines

The NEADS e-Newsletter is looking for submissions! If you know of an event, activity or project in your area or school that you think we should feature in our bimonthly e-Newsletter, or have an idea for an article you’d like to write, we want to hear from you! Please read the following guidelines for suggestions, ideas and examples of what to submit.
1. Submissions should contain articles of approximately 250 words in length, and include:

  • A clear title
  • The author’s name
  • The author’s school or organization
  • The author’s contact information (telephone, email and mailing address)
  • Articles may have more than one author; in this situation, please also identify which author is our point of contact, who can speak on behalf of all authors.

2. Here is a list of potential topics for submitted articles:

  • Profiles: A person with a disability doing something interesting or exciting. It can be a NEADS member you might know, or simply someone in the community whose work is relevant.
  • Local flavour: Highlighting a campus group, access committee, or a local disability event that should be recognized.
  • Reprinted with permission articles on disability/postsecondary education that could be of interest to NEADS members.
  • Creativity corner: It can consist of art in a diversity of forms (visual arts, poetry, etc.)
  • Useful tools and information: It can consist of programs that could be beneficial to students with disabilities (financial programs, such as the RDSP, the CSLP, Etc.)
  • Research summaries: Highlights of key research projects of interest and of benefit to NEADS members.

3. Articles are not limited to the previous topics. Other ideas are welcome!
4. All articles will be reviewed by the NEADS e-Newsletter editor. We reserve the right to edit articles as necessary. If additional material is required for the article, we will communicate directly with the author(s).
5. Please send all articles to Natalie Fougère, the e-Newsletter editor, at or to Frank Smith, the NEADS National coordinator, at