What Art Students with Disabilities Think of Art Colleges in Canada

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What Art Students with Disabilities Think of Art Colleges in Canada

A while back, PortPrep.com owner Karen Kesteloot exchanged e-mails with a parent of a child named Mark who has Cerebral Palsy and wishes to apply to an art program in college. Karen worked one on one with Mark in her studio to help him build the skills he needed to apply to college and help him decide on a discipline in the arts he would love and be able to excel at despite his health concerns.

One of the main side effects of Cerebral Palsy is their inability to take control of motor skills. As a result, Mark has shaky hands, which makes hand drawing tasks difficult for him compared to computer aided work. He also needs to ensure that it is easy to get around on public transit or live on campus because his vision is also impaired via irreparable dent in his optical nerve.

With the help of daily acupuncture and physical therapy, Mark is lucky to not only be highly functional compared to many children with Cerebral Palsy, but also is a very intelligent young man who possesses a high degree of ability in the arts. He wants to make the most of his life and abilities.

If you or your child has a health concern, physical or mental disability be sure to speak to the appropriate staff at the college or university. Report the condition to the disability and student support office and go and check on the quality of the facilities and support workers at the school to ensure that you or your child will be properly cared for while studying in their program.

By working with Karen, Mark was able to build his confidence and feel ready to study at Humber College in Rexdale, Ontario in a foundations year as part of its Industrial Design program. While studying there, He decided that interior design suited him best and then began a careful and thorough search for the college program that would be right for him with his disabilities and where he could feel comfortable to study. He is focused on being as healthy and proactive in his life as he can and has very supportive parents who helped him go through the selection process.

Karen provided helpful information that guided the parent through her child’s college admissions. You can view Karen’s advice that we’ve turned into blog posts by clicking on the links below.

The parent took Karen’s advice of going around different campuses with great art programs and talk to the professors there to get a better idea on how each program approached their curriculum. By the end of their exchanges, the parent was kind enough to compile all her findings to the art schools that offered interior design that she and her child visited to get more information.

Below is a list of pros and cons from some of the top art schools in CanadaConestoga CollegeRyerson UniversitySheridan College, Humber College, and Georgian College.

NOTE: The opinions expressed below are from the parent and in no way reflect the beliefs of PortPrep.com and Karen Kesteloot. Also, what you will be reading below is an edited version of the e-mail for readability purposes.

Conestoga College

Conestoga College

Conestoga College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pros: We found the campus friendly, easy to get around and easy to get questions answered.

The students taking the course seemed happy there. The building was bright and seemed like a well-organized place. Mark liked the way the studio was set up for ease of working and storage (each student has their own locker at their station).

The campus is small and he liked that, but easy to go somewhere for some fun – he felt safe to go off campus. He liked the gym and extra-curricular sports offered.

The program was more designed to his liking, in what they focused on and also with the electives, which seem much more practical. He liked taking a course that was useful rather than filling a spot.

It is close to home for Mark and that was a bonus for him.

The rooms are big and has large desks, which are better for art students. All degree students automatically get into residency. You may not get your preferred style of room, but you do get in. Also, there is lots of housing for the future when you want to be out of residence.

Cons: No meal plan, not easy to get from studio to residence after hours, and not many rooms in residence. It’s also difficult to meet other people if you are not a resident during your first year.

Ryerson University

Pros: We found the place very friendly (most of all places). My daughter has applied there for her PhD, and she has been very impressed. Of all (eight) university’s it was the only one who held an open house for students applying ahead of admissions and have kept in touch mentioning jobs for her to apply to in the hope that she will apply again next year (she was first on the professors list, but turned down by the committee because they decided on a student in a slightly different discipline). She has received many emails, Skype interactions, and phone calls from three of the professors throughout the process as well.

Mark’s friend, who is in Photography, loves Ryerson. He loves the city life, the food, how friendly everyone is and the program. The residence is great. He likes that there is a huge selection of stores, restaurants and pubs to choose from. He is a guy with a positive attitude about everything so that helps.

Also with Ryerson, we liked that they had such a connection with the community for work experience and mentorship. Throughout the programs, students have senior students as their mentors along with business opportunities in the community.

Cons: In his friend’s mind, the only bad thing was the 2-hour drive home from the school. The greyhound bus is handy though unless you are lugging a lot of art supplies/laundry etc.

Mark did not like that the electives were not practical and doesn’t see the point of some of those courses at this stage in his life. He is a practical sort. Also, he didn’t like the busy city life and the congestion downtown.

Go to the next page to find out what this parent has to say about Sheridan College, Humber College, and Georgian College for her disabled son!

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