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Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities: Their Experience Past and Present: An Analysis of the Statistics Canada 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) has conducted a detailed analysis of the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability (Statistics Canada) reporting on the education and employment experiences of Canadians with disabilities in college or university programs of study in 2012 and/or having been enrolled in post-secondary education at some point from 2007 to 2012. The analysis and report preparation were completed by Adele Furrie for NEADS, with funding from Employment and Social Development Canada with funding from the Social Development Partnerships Program, as part of the large national project: The Landscape of Accessibility and Accommodation for Students With Disabilities in Canada. An executive summary follows and the full report is included at the bottom of the major findings of the analysis of the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability in a Word document.

Executive Summary

  • This National Educational Association of Disabled Students’ (NEADS) research initiative, “The Landscape of Accessibility and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities in Canadian Post-Secondary Education: 2016 – 2018” presents a comprehensive picture of the landscape of accessibility and accommodations for persons with disabilities pursuing higher education in publicly funded colleges and universities.
  • This report contributes to the secondary analyses of existing surveys by providing an analysis of the data collected in the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability (2012 CSD).
  • Of the 3,775,910 Canadians with disabilities aged 15 years and older, there were 325,170 who:
  • are attending school at the time of the 2012 CSD interview AND are attending a post-secondary institution OR
  • who were not attending school at the time of the 2012 CSD interview but had since September 2007 AND has a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate.
  • Of the 325,170 who are attending post-secondary institutions or who attended recently, 190,290 or 58.5% are currently attending.
  • The manner in which the data were collected on type of post-secondary education precludes the possibility of identifying the population who are attending or did recently attend non-university publicly-funded institutions. Therefore, the 2012 CSD can divide the population of 325,170 adults with disabilities who are attending or recently attended post-secondary institutions into those attending/recently attended university ((117,990) and those who are attending or recently attended non-university public and private post-secondary institutions (207,180).
  • Of the 3,775,910 adults with disabilities in Canada, 42% had some post-secondary education.
  • Of those, 980,090 (62%) had some post-secondary non-university education and 605,100 (38%) report some post-secondary university education.
  • Among the 980,080 Canadians with disabilities who report post-secondary non-university education, 21% are part of our research population; among the 605,100 who report post-secondary university education, 19.5% are part of our research population.
  • University students with disabilities are younger, slightly more likely to be female, much less likely to identify as Indigenous, more likely to be an immigrant and slightly less likely to be a member of the visible minority population than non-university students with disabilities.
  • University students with disabilities are less likely to report more than one type of disability, less likely to be classified as having severe or very severe disability, and slightly more likely to have had their disability since before the age of 19 than non-university students with disabilities.
  • For both research populations (non-university and university), the most prevalent type of disability is pain. This type of disability is frequently reported together with mobility and/or flexibility disabilities and/or disability as a result of a mental health condition. Among university students with disabilities, mental health was the second most prevalent disability reported; among non-university students, flexibility disability was the second most prevalent.
  • Almost one in three (30.4% or 99,010 out of 325,180) of post-secondary students with disabilities report only one type of disability. Among university students with disabilities, 37.3% or 43,955 out of 118,000 reports only one type of disability while among the 207,180 non-university students with disabilities, this drops to 26.6% or 55,055 students.
  • Overall, almost six out of 10 post-secondary students were employed at the time of the survey and there was little difference between those attending non-university post-secondary institutions and those attending university. However, the data show that there were significant differences when the post-secondary student population was divided into those currently attending and those who had recently attended. Just over seven out of 10 post-secondary students who had attended university during 2001 and 2011 were employed and only 2.6% were unemployed. Contrast this to non-university post-secondary students where 67.5% are employed but 7.3% were unemployed.
  • When age is factored in, the percentages who were employed at the time of the survey shows major differences. Among university students who were attending school during 2007 and 2011 and are no longer attending, 79.1% who are aged 15 to 24 years and 81.4% who are aged 25 to 34 years were employed. Contrast this to non-university post-secondary students where only 73% aged 15 to 34 and 73.7% aged 25 to 34 years were employed.
  • There were 18.7% post-secondary students with disabilities who lived in households where the household income was below the low-income cut-off. Within that group, post-secondary non-university students who were currently attending were the worse off. Almost one in four (23.9%) were living in households below the low-income cut-off. By contrast, non-university students who had attended during 2007 to 2011 were the best off with the percentage dropping to 14.8.
  • Few post-secondary students need adapted or modified building features to attend their chosen post-secondary institution. Of the 325,180 post-secondary students, only 7.7% needed this accommodation and this proportion was even less among university students with disabilities.
  • Just over one in four (84,830 or 26.1%) needed assistive devices, support services, modification to curriculum or additional time for testing to follow courses. This need was higher among university students with disabilities. With this group, 37,970 or 32.2% needed at least one of these accommodations.
  • Among those who need such accommodations, the highest need was for extended time to take tests and exams – 76.3% or 64,730 students with disabilities. This need was similar across the two types of institutions. However, the unmet need for this type of accommodation was significantly higher among non-university students with disabilities. Among university-based students with disabilities, unmet need was 8.3% while among non-university students with disabilities, this unmet need was 21.2% - over one in five who needed this accommodation did not receive it.
  • Some insights into the impact that having a disability has had on the individual’s ability to obtain his/her desired level of education are provided. The largest impact is among post-secondary students who had their disability before the age of 19.  Read the full report here:

POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: THEIR EXPERIENCE – PAST AND PRESENT

For further information:

Frank Smith, National Coordinator, National Educational Association of Disabled Students
Rm. 514, Unicentre
1125 Colonel By Drive
Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6 Canada, tel: (613) 380-8065, ext. 201, frank.smith@neads.ca

 




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