Empowering all students: Georgian celebrates National AccessAbility Week

National AccessAbility Week – recognized from May 26 to June 1, is an important reminder for disability inclusion. This year’s theme Forward Together: Accessibility and Inclusion for All, emphasizes the need for collective efforts to create barrier-free environments.  

At Georgian, we understand every student has unique strengths and areas where extra support is needed. That’s why the college and our accessibility advisors are here to help you succeed in the classroom and beyond. Whether you’re a current student or considering Georgian for your studies, accessibility advisors can provide information, accommodations, support and advocacy if you face physical, medical, sensory, mental health or learning barriers to education.

Mechanical Engineering Technology student Connor Stewart connected with Accessibility Services to assist with some challenges.

When choosing a postsecondary school, what were the most important factors that led you to choose Georgian?

The most important factor that led me to choose Georgian was all the good experiences I heard from people who attended the college. The variety of courses to choose from is amazing, co-op opportunities and a high employability rate after you graduate were also deciding factors.

Georgian is very helpful in supplying accommodations to students with disabilities such as myself. They helped me with arranging interpreters and letters of accommodation to each professor, so they understood my wants and needs before the first day of class.

Why did you choose your program at Georgian?

The reason why I choose the Mechanical Engineering program at Georgian College is because my goal is to one day work in the automotive industry in production, design and engineering. I believe this program will equip me with the proper tools and skills for me to become successful in that field.

What accommodations or support have been the most helpful?

The accommodation and support that I’ve found to be most helpful are my sign language interpreters who interpret what the professor and students are saying. This is a massive help if I cannot hear or understand everything that is being said.

Other accommodations that have helped are letters of accommodation sent to each of my professors letting them know about my hearing loss and what they can do to help aid in my success. Having my professor wear a microphone that connects to my hearing aid helps me to understand what they are saying loudly and clearly.

Are there any misconceptions about your disability you’d like to clarify?

Misconceptions that I feel about my disability and other people who have hearing loss or are deaf is that some people have never experienced interacting with a person with a disability and are unsure of how to communicate or what my mental and physical capabilities of being a person with hearing loss.

In this situation, I help explain and give them an understanding of my hearing loss and that I’m completely deaf in my right ear with severe hearing loss in my left. I also explain it helps a lot to face the person directly and speak loudly and clearly. I also lip read which is key for me understanding what a person is saying. My mental capability is the same as any other person, I just need to take the required extra steps to make sure that I understand all the information and what is being said from another person.

What’s been your most memorable experience while at Georgian?

The most memorable experience that I’ve had at Georgian is creating new friendships through my program and meeting people with similar interests and passions as I do. It’s very interesting to take a program with like-minded people who are pursuing a similar career to mine after they graduate.  

Are there any challenges you’ve faced during your program? How you were able to overcome them?

The main challenge I’ve faced is standing up for myself and my disability and getting the help that I need when it comes to communication and understanding my classwork. Having hearing loss can be a challenge when it comes to communication and understanding certain topics, but I’ve learned to advocate for myself to reach out to people to get the accommodations and assistance that I need to help me thrive and become successful. People are more than willing to help but I have learned that it all starts with helping yourself first. 

Man in purple shirt and and hat sitting in a blue car.

Connor has a passion for all things related to cars and hopes to work in the automotive industry when he completes his program.

What would you like to accomplish post-Georgian?

My end goal and dream career would be to work in the automotive industry. I have an unrivaled passion when it comes to automobiles. I love learning how they work, the history, how they drive and the experience of driving behind the wheel.

I would love to work in the production, design and engineering aspects of making a road-legal vehicle. I believe I’ll have achieved my goal when I see a vehicle I helped partake in the design, development and engineering, become a reality out on the road being enjoyed by countless people. Providing reliable and safe transportation methods for whatever it may be – taking road trips to see family, explore the world or just the simple commute to work or school.  

Is there anything you’d like to share with current and future students about your Georgian experience?

If there’s one thing that I would share with current and future students about my experience is to take advantage of every support and accommodation that you can get to help you become successful. Get your questions answered if you don’t know or understand your coursework or what you’re learning in class. I believe this is key to aiding your success not only at Georgian but also in your future career. It’s not wrong to look for help and ask questions and get answers to learn and improve your experience, skills and capabilities and to prepare you with the knowledge of what may happen next.  

When to reach out to Accessibility Services?

You can reach out for support at any time in your academic journey but if you know you’ll need support before you begin at Georgian, it’s recommended you start the process up to six months before your first semester.

Learn more about Accessibility Services and start enhancing your Georgian experience today

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