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
Workplaces REVAMPED Final Report
This is the final report of the Realize project titled ‘REVAMPED’, Workplaces REcognizing the VAlue of eMPloyees with Episodic Disabilities funded by the Opportunities Fund of Employment and Social Development Canada.
The REVAMPED Project Objectives were targeted:
1. To increase awareness of episodic disabilities among employers;
2. To increase the understanding of employers of the challenges related to working and
living with episodic disabilities;
3. To increase the capacity of employers to respond effectively to the challenges facing
people living with episodic disabilities;
4. To increase access to information and networking opportunities for small, medium and
large employers on leading practices in accommodating employees living with episodic
disabilities in the workplace; and
5. To increase the capacity of people living with episodic disabilities to communicate
effectively about their lived experience.
The Pandemic Pandora’s Box: Long COVID and Episodic Disability
Project Report; Realize 2021
The Pandemic Pandora’s Box report analyzes the combined findings of two informal, community-driven surveys shared openly online in February 2021. The first asked adults working or seeking work in Canada about their experiences with Long COVID, while the second asked Canadian employers about their comfort level and preparedness to provide workplace accommodations to COVID-19 long-haulers. Up to 1 in 3 people who contract COVID-19 – regardless of the severity of their acute infection – risk facing Long COVID. Long COVID refers to a multitude of fluctuating, debilitating symptoms that may affect all organ systems and for many cause impairments which last for months.
FINESSED Discussion Paper
Discussion Paper; September 2018; Author: Realize