Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
Brock was well represented at the 2014 Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition.
A group of third year Recreation and Leisure Studies students, were top 10 finalists at this years contest.
The group members included Mackenzie Danen, Shannon Misketis, Christopher Bar and Kyle Boham.
The Council of Ontario Universities, in partnership with the Government of Ontario invite undergraduate students to design innovative, cost-effective, and practical solutions to accessibility-related barriers in community.
Representing their group, Mackenzie and Shannon joined other finalists at the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery Conference held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on May 12th and 13th, where they presented “Wheels in Motion”.
“Wheels in Motion” is an educational learning workshop designed for grade 3 students to consider the impact of negative language and attitudes and become aware of some of the challenges to accessibility for individuals who use a wheelchair.
In their submission, Mackenzie and Shannon explained how they came up with their IDeA “after learning that grade-school students who use a wheelchair are often excluded from classroom activities and outdoor free play because of structural barriers within their school environment but also as a result of attitudinal stigma”.
Through participation in Wheels in Motion they anticipated that students would “apply learnings from the workshop well into their future and make their community a more welcoming and inclusive space for all.”
After the two-day conference that included educational sessions hosted by leaders in government and industry and meeting His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.
Mackenzie reflected on her experiences at the conference: "Not only was it an amazing experience to represent Brock University with our IDeA, but it was also an excellent opportunity to network with students from other Ontario universities.
It was reassuring to meet students who share similar ideals as us and who aspire to work towards a world that is accessible to everyone and in which each individual is accepted despite differences.”
Students worked on their IDeA as part of a 3rd year class in therapeutic recreation.
Colleen Whyte, course instructor and assistant professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies along with Margaret Sanderson, Brock’s Accessibility Co-ordinator, encouraged students to consider new possibilities in overcoming attitudinal barriers in society with the intention of ensuring all community members experience meaningful participation in life activities.
According to Mackenzie, “I think the IDeA competition is a great way to get students involved in making differences in our communities and I hope that it will continue to educate people and make them aware of the many changes that need to be made to ensure accessibility.”
“Overall, it was an experience that I will not forget and I am honoured to have been a part of such a great initiative."
Since the inception of the IDeA contest three years ago, students from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University have found themselves among the final groups selected.
In 2012, Hilary Tyler placed 3rd with her campaign titled “Everybody Hurts”,which was a campaign designed to promote empathy in order to break down attitudinal barriers toward those living with mental illness.
For more information about this story, please contact:
Mike Armstrong, communications officer, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences; firstname.lastname@example.org
Colleen Whyte, assistant Professor, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies; email@example.com