How to Support Families of Students with Accessibility Needs

Families learn about their different school options by attending fairs and information sessions hosted by the DOE, open houses and tours hosted by schools, and by reviewing online resources and attending online events. It is important that every school plan on-site events with the needs of students who require accessible schools in mind.

Designate Accessibility Point Person

All schools (fully and partially accessible schools, as well as schools with no accessibility) should designate a current school staff member who will be available to speak to families about accessibility at the school. The staff member needs to be someone who can answer questions about access and accessibility and will support students with varying needs, including those students who require physical, visual, and/or hearing supports, or considerations for other health needs.

The staff member should be ready to support and manage the following:
  • Plan open houses and admissions tours with an accessibility focus. This includes ensuring that students with accessibility needs and their families can participate fully in admissions events, such as open houses and information sessions.
  • Support prospective students and their families to meet students’ needs and address families’ concerns about the school’s accessibility features and access to curriculum and/or special education services.

Offering Open Houses and Tours with an Accessibility Focus

All schools (fully and partially accessible schools, as well as schools with no accessibility) should provide sessions with an accessibility focus where families of students with accessibility needs have the opportunity to share information about their child, ask questions, and go on a tour of the school that includes areas that are of vital interest to them–spaces such as restrooms, the nurse’s office, and therapy rooms. Host school accessibility follow-up visits for individual families to see the school in session, assess feasibility of attendance for the student, and showcase academic components.

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