Student Access & Inclusion
Student Access & Inclusion supports the University’s commitment to an inclusive and culturally safe learning environment. Operating under the guiding principles of student centred-ness, integrity, collaboration, empowerment, self-determination and self-advocacy, it is our goal to promote the personal growth and development of students with disability by facilitating the provision of reasonable adjustments, and supporting and educating the university community in matters relating to disability.
What we do
Student Access & Inclusion is a free and confidential service which provides a range of support services to students with a disability (or students who are carers of a person with a disability) or medical condition to assist them in engaging in their studies on the same basis as a student without a disability in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth). These support services can include:
- assessment and provision of
- provision of inclusive technology and software
- provision of specialised equipment
- access to specialised educational support staff
- referral to internal or external support services
- pre-admission counselling and advice on inherent requirements
In addition to these support services, the team is also responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the University’s SCU Disability Action Plan 2014-2017 (PDF) and the Reasonable Adjustments for Students with Disabilities policy, and is a point of contact for Academic staff to provide expert advice on disability related matters.
What is ‘disability’?
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) defines disability as:
- total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or
- total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
- the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
- the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
- the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or
- a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
- a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour.
This definition of disability is broad, covering all types of impairment including hidden impairments such as psychiatric illnesses and learning disorders, and temporary conditions such as physical injury or pregnancy-related illnesses.
Registering for assistance
To access the support services provided by Student Access & Inclusion you will need to register. You can do this at any time during your studies, however we strongly encourage you to make early contact as some support services may take time to arrange and early contact will ensure that the appropriate supports are in place for the commencement of your studies. If you believe that you will require exam adjustments you must ensure that you make an appointment with a Disability Advisor to discuss your needs prior to week 6.
Make an appointment
You can make an appointment with a Disability Advisor to discuss matters related to disability and reasonable adjustments. You do not need to have all your supporting documentation on hand for your first appointment, however it is recommended. Appointments are available by phone or in-person and can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or via the following telephone contacts:
|Lismore campus||Gold Coast campus||Coffs Harbour campus|
|Health and Human Sciences
02 6626 9514
|SCU Health Clinic,
02 6626 9514
|Counselling & Support Services Unit,
Level 1, F Block
02 6659 3254
The first step towards registering with Student Access & Inclusion is making the decision to disclose your disability. It is important to understand that this disclosure is limited and is only shared with your consent and for the purposes of implementing reasonable adjustments. Your personal information is treated with the upmost respect and confidentiality is maintained at all times.
You will be required to sign a Permission to release confidential information form when registering with Student Access & Inclusion.
Requirements for supporting documentation
Students who wish to access support services or reasonable adjustments from Student Access & Inclusion are required to provide relevant supporting documentation from an appropriate medical professional at the time of registering with the service.
The supporting documentation should be comprehensive and where appropriate include information pertaining to the nature of the impairment and/or medical condition and the associated impacts that it may have on your ability to study. It may include recommendations of possible strategies which may assist you however it is important to note that these recommendations will be considered but may not be implemented as recommended.
The documentation may be provided in the form of a letter from an appropriate medical professional (see table below) or on the approved Practitioner's Report - Student Access and Inclusion. If you are providing a letter from a medical professional you must ensure that it is printed on official letterhead and contains the Practitioner’s signature, provider number and contact details.
Depending on the nature of condition, you may be required to update your medical documentation periodically during your studies.
Appropriate Medical Professional — Supporting Documentation
|Condition||Appropriate Medical Professional|
|Autism Spectrum Disorder||
|Learning Disability (e.g. Dyslexia)||
|Neurological Condition (e.g. Acquired Brain Injury, Cerebral Tumour)||
|Mental Health (e.g. Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Eating Disorder)||
|Medical (e.g. Chronic Fatigue, Diabetes, Epilepsy)||
|Physical Impairment (e.g. Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy)||
|Temporary Condition or Injury||
Learning Access Plans
Once you have met with a Disability Advisor and submitted the necessary supporting documentation, any reasonable adjustments that may be required will be negotiated with you and documented in a Learning Access Plan. The Learning Access Plan is a document which is used to confirm your adjustments and provide relevant information on the functional limitations (not your diagnosis) that you may experience in relation to your studies. You will be provided with a copy of this plan, which is then forwarded onto your teaching staff each session to ensure that you receive your adjustments as necessary.
Your rights and responsibilities
Students with disability have rights which are protected and enforced under the DDA and the Disability Standards for Education.
Students with a disability have a right to:
- choose whether they disclose their disability;
- be consulted about their needs;
- participate in courses offered by SCU, including fieldwork and placement components;
- use the services and facilities at SCU on the same basis as other students;
- access specialised services to enable their participation;
- reasonable adjustments to support their access and participation in their studies on the same basis as students without disability;
- an environment which is free from all forms of harassment or discrimination;
- be treated with dignity and respect; and
- the opportunity to contribute to the development and review of policies, procedures and practices which impact on their lives.
In addition to this, students with disability must ensure that they:
- abide by all relevant policies at SCU;
- use the services that have been provided to them in a fair and honest manner;
- share responsibility for the negotiation and implementation of reasonable adjustments; and
- make early contact with the university to discuss support arrangements.