Youth and Students with Episodic Disabilities
The Canadian Survey on Disability (2017) determined that among youth aged 15 to 24 years, 13% are living with one or more disabilities. Among these conditions, mental health related-disabilities were the most common type of disability (8%), followed by learning (6%), and pain-related disabilities (4%) (Statistics Canada, 2018). However, a 2018 scoping review by Linden et al. found that over one-fifth of Canadian students have received a professional diagnosis of depression at some point in their lifetime, which may suggest higher rates of disability (Linden, Grey & Stuart, 2018). Many of the most common disabilities reported by youth are episodic and/or non-evident disabilities.
The number of post-secondary students living with disabilities has been increasing steadily over the past several decades. This has resulted in increased pressure for institutions to provide services to support students living with disabilities (Olding & Yip, 2014).
In 2016-17, approximately 74,000 learners with accessibility needs were registered with Disability Services Offices at Ontario colleges and universities, including full-time and part-time students (Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, 2018).
In recent years, Realize has led several Canadian projects to explore the impacts of episodic disabilities for post-secondary students. These projects ( Episodic Disabilities and Postsecondary Education in Canada: A Review of the Literature , FINESSED Discussion Paper and FINESSED Poster ) informed the recent development of an online course entitled Fostering INclusion and Support for Students with Episodic Disabilities (FINESSED). FINESSED Info Sheet
FINESSED Community of Practice
The FINESSED Community of Practice consists of post-secondary faculty and staff, past and current students living with episodic disabilities, clinicians, non-profit organizations, activists/advocates, social scientists, researchers and other national stakeholders who are committed to support youths living with episodic disabilities. The objective of the Community of Practice is to work together to scale up the FINESSED course for national implementation and to provide materials and tools for other populations (for example, youth living with episodic disabilities, their caregivers and their clinicians). The Community stays in contact through quarterly teleconference calls.
For further information, contact Melissa Egan, Coordinator, Episodic Disabilities Initiatives at MelissaE@HIVandRehab.ca
Linden, B., Gray, S., Stuart, H. (2018). National Standard for the Psychological Health and Safety of Post-Secondary Students – Phase 1: Scoping Literature Review. Ottawa, ON: Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Government of Ontario. (2018). Ontario helping students with disabilities reach employment goals. Retrieved from https://news.ontario.ca/maesd/en/2018/05/ontario-helping-students-with-disabilities-reach-employment-goals.html
Olding, M., Yip, A. (2014). Policy Approaches to Post-Secondary Student Mental Health. OCAD University & Ryerson University Campus Mental Health Partnership Project. Retrieved from https://campusmentalhealth.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Policy-Approaches-to-PS-student-MH.FINAL_April15-2014.pdf
Statistics Canada. (2018). Canadian Survey on Disability, 2017. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/181128/dq181128a-eng.htm