Disability Resource Centre
The definition of ‘disability’ is broad. It includes physical, health, psychological and mental health conditions, learning disabilities and temporary disability/illness.
Deakin’s Disability Resource Centre offers teaching staff with information and support on a range of issues related to working with students with disability.
Where to start?
A good place to start is 10 things staff need to know about disability services.
An Access Plan is a document designed to assist faculty staff to support a student with a health condition or disability and clarify arrangements that are needed to minimise educational disadvantage.
The Disability Resource Centre works with students to create an Access Plan, which is used to discuss their needs with faculty at the start of each trimester. It could include practical information and recommendations such as study adjustments, services and practices that will assist faculty and lecturers to meet these students’ requirements.
What are the Unit Chair’s responsibilities?
- Familiarise yourself with the Access Plan and consider how the adjustments might be implemented.
- Distribute the notification email from the DRC with the attached Access Plan to relevant teaching staff for the particular student, e.g. to tutors.
- Be responsive to student contact and open to exploring adjustments.
- Be aware of the need for confidentiality and the dignity of the student in both discussion and storage of this document.
- Be aware that the University has a legal requirement to provide reasonable adjustments—the University is not required to make adjustments that are unreasonable or compromise the integrity of assessment tasks.
What do you do when you receive an Access Plan?
- Teaching staff need to consider and implement the recommendations in the section of the Access Plan called ‘Adjustments to the Academic Program’.
- These specific recommendations and suggestions have been developed to assist the student to access their study. Some are just good inclusive teaching practices. They will often be things that teaching staff do all the time, but will be particularly relevant to this student. Others are very specific to an individual student’s situation.
What are the student’s responsibilities?
- All students with an Access Plan are advised to make contact with their Unit Chairs either just before, or in the first few weeks of trimester. The DRC encourages students to develop independence and self-advocacy skills as much as possible.
- Follow standard faculty processes, e.g. apply for extensions prior to the due date.
Can you provide adjustments if a student does not have an Access Plan?
- Some students prefer to manage all discussion with academic staff independently. These students are still entitled to reasonable adjustments, but may need to provide documentary evidence to the University.
- Strategies and adjustments required after Week 8 will be negotiated directly by the student and/or DRC.
Who can you contact for more information?
- Contact the Disability Resource Centre on your campus to chat with a Disability Liaison Officer about Access Plans.
- If you would like more information on how to support students with a disability, please see the DRC webpage for Disability Information for Staff.