Attention requested for inclusion during introduction days

AID Board already partly complying with Expertise Centre recommendations.
Opblaas-AID-logo Students who require assistance should also be able to take part in the Annual Introduction Days (AID) to the maximum extent possible, says the Expertise Centre for Inclusive Education (ECIO). Photo Resource.

When organising the introduction days, keep in mind participants with assistance needs, such as students who are in wheelchairs or struggle with mental challenges such as anxiety issues. That was the call issued last week by the Expertisecentrum inclusief onderwijs (Expertise Centre for Inclusive Education, ECIO) to all organisers of induction days or weeks.

According to ECIO programme manager Joyce van der Wegen, the introduction period is essential for study progress and student wellbeing. ‘If students cannot attend introduction days, they start their studies at a disadvantage.’

Together with student interest groups Ieder(in), ISO, LSVb, JongPIT, and JOBmbo, the Expertise Centre spoke to students about their experiences. They translated this input into a list of eight tips, the most important one being: talk to the students in question about what they need to be able to participate as well as possible.


Consulting with the students in question is precisely what the AID board in Wageningen is already doing, says chair Rosa Knol. ‘On the registration website for the AID, under the FAQs, there is an item entitled ‘I have a disability or impairment. If you click it, you will be asked to contact us by e-mail and tell us what support you need. This works quite well; every year, the students who need it find their way to us. Sometimes they ask for help with very practical matters, such as a safe place to park a wheelchair bike. And sometimes they require extra guidance. For example, someone reported that they had autism and would like their mentor to be aware of this, without having to share it directly with the whole group. So we organise it, and we make sure they get an experienced mentor we know well.’

Next year

With only a few days to go until AID – in some other cities, the introduction period has already begun – the ECIO tips come a bit late, Knol acknowledges. ‘As a board, we did take steps towards an inclusive and accessible AID, including additional social safety training for the mentors and volunteers. We will put the other ECIO items on the action list for next year’s AID Board.’

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