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Saturday, April 18 • 11:40am - 12:30pm
At The Intersections of Race and Dis/ability: Experiences of Black Canadian Families and the Special Education Designation Process

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In Canada, recent research evidence reveals Black Canadian students in special education are over-represented in special education programs and are also over represented in post-secondary vocational (applied) schools (Robson, Anisef, Brown and Parekh, 2014).  In fact, according to Toronto District School Board statistics, the intersections of race and disability for Black Canadian students decrease the chances of attending college or university (Robson, Anisef, Brown and Parekh, 2014). College and University degrees are pathways to professional careers with average to high paying careers (Crawford, Macmillan, Vignoles, and Wyness 2016).

Consequently, for Black students negatively affected by disproportionality, their ability to obtain a college or university degree leading to a professional career, is severely diminished (Robson, Anisef, Brown and Parekh, 2014). Low paying jobs and unemployment can lead to a poor quality of life (Crawford et al., 2016). Poor socioeconomic outcomes contribute to poor health outcomes and direct links between discrimination, stress response and poor physical health are well established in the research (Patterson and Veenstra, 2016).

Parents of children with special needs face unique challenges when navigating school systems primarily aimed at supporting “typical” students. Assessments, tests, individualized learning plans and services are common facets of special education programming that can for some, be intimidating and frustrating (Starr and Foy, 2012).

In addition to the unique challenges of the special education system, Black Canadian parents must also navigate cultural differences encountered with staff and school administration, barriers not experienced by their Caucasian and non-Black counterparts. Navigating cultural spaces within the special education system is an additional burden Black parents face, which may or may not have an impact on the quantity and quality of special education service delivery (Stanley, 2015).


Saturday April 18, 2020 11:40am - 12:30pm EDT
Room #4