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The National Educational Association of Disabled Students is a consumer organization, with a mandate to encourage the self-empowerment of post-secondary students with disabilities. NEADS advocates for increased accessibility at all levels so that disabled students may gain equal access to college or university education, which is their right. The Association provides information on services and programs for students with disabilities nationwide, publishes a regular newsletter, and conducts research on issues of importance to its members. Members include disabled students, educators, organizations and professional service providers. NEADS is governed by a 12 person Board of Directors which represents each of the provinces and the territories. Board members are all consumers with disabilities, with the exception of the open" rep. position on the Board, which may be filled by anyone who has an expressed interest in the work of the Association and a demonstrated commitment to the objectives and goals of NEADS.

Started by an enthusiastic group of students who were members of Awareness Carleton, a campus club for disabled students at Carleton University, NEADS developed according to the principles of the consumer movement, and the impetus created by the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981).

On November 9-12, 1986 NEADS held its first conference, appropriately called "The Foundation." Participants ranged from students with disabilities to educators to leading members of disabled persons' organizations. When this diverse group met in Ottawa, discussion focused on ways to improve accessibility in colleges and universities for hearing impaired, learning disabled, mobility impaired, and visually impaired individuals as well as students with other" disabilities.


To initiate the development and expansion of a communications network for students with disabilities and those persons professionally involved in support programs for disabled students at colleges and universities across Canada; Have the capability to make timely and meaningful responses to the issues and concerns affecting the educational resources and environment of students with disabilities; Facilitate the collection and dissemination of information on post-secondary education and the disabled student; Encourage the formation of associations of students with disabilities on the campuses so that consumers can advocate for themselves.

NEADS is governed by a 12 member Board of Directors. This Board is cross-disability and represents the geographical regions of the country. In order to maintain consumer control disabled students members have exclusive voting privileges.

NEADS Encourages

  • Improving awareness of disabled students' needs among professionals, other students, and instructors.
  • Raising the quality of information and its distribution regarding programs and services for disabled students in post-secondary schools.
  • Increasing access to all programs of study and courses.
  • Raising the current level of provincial and federal funding to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to take post-secondary courses regardless of length, weight or choice of program.
  • Increasing accessibility to all aspects of the educational environment.
  • Improving access to the labour market for post-secondary graduates.

For helpful information about transitioning from high school to post secondary education click on this link  http://www.neads.ca/en/norc/movingon/

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