Academic Friending: Inclusion of Students with Disabilities
Driven by the idea that true learning, and social change, occurs when people of all abilities work together towards a common goal, Academic Friending is a program that integrates students with and without disabilities, allowing them to take classes together. This joint experience between occupational therapy students and non-traditional students removes barriers created by fears and prejudices, while facilitating experimentation, exploration and the internalization of values and development of a broader social and academic identity.
Additionally, Academic Friending courses enable adults with disabilities to sample higher academics in an inclusive and empowering atmosphere, and at the same time allow health profession students to sample collaboration with individuals with disabilities as equals, thereby helping them to become collaborative, client-focused professionals.
Academic Friending courses in Ono’s Occupational Therapy Department include Enabling Communication, Sign Language, The Family as a System, Therapeutic Humour, and Art as a Therapeutic Measure. The courses are carefully selected after considering course content, teaching methods, and opportunities for collaborative interaction between students.