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RSS FeedsToronto preschool for kids with disabilities canīt accommodate staff who use wheelchairs
(The Star Religion)


19 may 2019 18:21:48

Toronto preschool for kids with disabilities canīt accommodate staff who use wheelchairs
(The Star Religion)

As a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, Ashleigh Judge has faced barriers all her life. But the Toronto early childhood educator didn’t expect to be turned down for a job in a preschool that serves children with disabilities because the building is inaccessible.“It’s not the first time I have faced this problem,” said Judge, 33. “But it’s the first time it was so blatant. It was really disappointing, especially coming from an agency that should be doing better.”Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital has been operating Play and Learn Nursery School in a city of Toronto building on Eglinton Ave. W. for 33 years. Although the Forest Hill-area program is on the main floor, it does not have an accessible washroom, and the classrooms are located off a hallway that is too narrow for an adult wheelchair. Judge says she is happy to use the accessible washroom in the library next door, but wonders why the city’s leading agency serving children with disabilities has done so little to make the learning space more accessible.Stewart Wong, a spokesperson for Holland Bloorview, says the hospital’s main campus near Bayview and Lawrence Aves. is fully accessible, as is a community-based preschool in Scarborough. But he acknowledges the Play and Learn site is not.“We have spoken to the city about accessibility issues,” he said. “We have worked really hard to be as inclusive as possible in everything that we do. But working in buildings that are decades old presents a challenge.”The hospital has not considered moving Play and Learn, Wong said, but would “welcome a conversation to explore more accessible options.”Judge called the office of area Councillor Mike Colle in early April with her concerns but never heard back.When the Star contacted Colle’s office last week, the councillor said he sympathizes with Judge.“People with disabilities have enough problems without havi ...
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