12 Disability-Friendly Universal Principles

12 Disability-Friendly University Principles

  1. Actively encourage participation in all core activities of the university, including education, research, practical, and social arenas.
  2. Promote personal and career development that advantages the person’s skills.
  3. Recognize the range of educational and learning styles of those with varying types of disabilities.
  4. Promote interaction among those with and without disabilities to facilitate reciprocal sharing and learning.
  5. Develop and maintain diverse options for ways to participate in university activities.
  6. Ensure that the university’s research agendas reflect and include those with disabilities at all levels of the research.
  7. Promote public discourse about disability as part of all DEI activities.
  8. Underscore the advantages of including those with disabilities in increasing complexity and richness of learning activities.
  9. Include health and wellness as a core tenet of the university, knowing that these are not the same for everyone.
  10. Facilitate disability community within and across campuses.
  11. Be cognizant of disability issues in all activities of the university without those with disabilities having to be at every table.
  12. Do not assume ‘typicality’ as the standard.

Levesque et al. identify five dimensions of accessibility. To be accessible, services
must be:

  • approachable
  • acceptable
  • available
  • affordable
  • appropriate

If all of these features are not in place, then a service is not accessible. Thus, adapting or adding disability modifications to a service that is not fundamentally accessible is unlikely to create access. Each of the five dimensions mentioned above must be in place before
minor modifications are made.

Reference: Levesque, J., Harris, M. F., & Russell, G. (2013). Patient-centred access to health care:
Conceptualising access at the interface of health systems and populations. International
Journal for Equity in Health, 12(1), 171–182.