Today, we talk with Ashton Forrest, advocate for individuals with disabilities, about ensuring accessible and inclusive spaces and programs for students and employees with disabilities. As a human rights activist and community builder, she works to create accessible and inclusive spaces and programs that respect the environment and all people.
As a person with a disability living with scleroderma, Ashton has spent over a decade advocating for and raising awareness about accessibility and disability issues on the local, provincial, and national stage. She has served and volunteered with many organizations and campus entities that support people with disabilities and chronic illness. As a member of the Post-Secondary Education Standards Committee for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) she worked with other accessibility experts and advocates to create an Accessible Education Standard for the AODA. Ashton’s main goal is to ensure that the voices of students with disabilities are reflected in policy, programming, and the built environment on campus.
As a member of the Graduate Student Advocacy Organization and Government at Western University (SOGS), Ashton Forrest focuses on seeing that policies and events are accessible by ensuring that language used is respectful of people with disabilities, that as many barriers to access are removed, and that SOGS members are encouraged to ask for accommodations when needed.
In addition, Ashton Forrest works to:
- Develop and make available resources that provide graduate teaching assistants with the best practices and tools for making their classrooms inclusive and accessible to all students.
- Improve SOGS members’ access to transportation so that they can participate in both the Western and London communities.
- Ensure that the requirements of SOGS members with disabilities and those facing accessibility problems are taken into account when policies and the built environment on campus are being developed.
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