The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education (DSE) 2005 require education providers to implement reasonable adjustments in a timely manner for students with disabilities to minimise barriers and facilitate students with disabilities access and participation in education and training on the same basis as those without disability.

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Students who have a medical condition or disabilities, who request that the University provide reasonable adjustments, must register with Disability Support and provide appropriate documentation to verify the nature and extent of the medical condition or disability. Details of the types of documentation required can be found in the Disability Support Documentation Guidelines.

2.1 Documentation provided by students to support their disabilities must be dated and signed by the appropriate health or disability professional, and should be assessed as current:

  1. No more than two weeks old for temporary conditions.
  2. No more than six months old for fluctuating conditions, if appropriate.
  3. Not earlier than the age of 16 years old for a learning disability.
  4. No more than three years for chronic/permanent conditions unless condition is self-evident.

2.2 The documentation provided should be specific and:

  1. State the mental health or medical condition.
  2. Indicate whether the disabilities are permanent, temporary, or fluctuating.
  3. Outline the impact on the student.
  4. Recommend reasonable accommodations.
  5. Clearly identify the health professional and their credentials.
  6. Be legible, on a letterhead, dated and signed.

2.3 Students with fluctuating or permanent conditions are provided with an Education Inclusion Plan (EIP) for the duration of their course, which is usually reviewed every 12 months. Students with temporary conditions will be provided with a temporary EIP which will have an end date or review date noted on the EIP.

3.1 Information in relation to a student’s disabilities/medical condition shall remain confidential and shall be restricted to those with a legitimate need to know in accordance with the University Privacy Policy. The University is committed to only disclose personal information to a third party with the consent of the student unless it reasonably believes that such disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of the individual or any other person or where it is permitted by law.

3.2 For the purposes of providing reasonable adjustments to students, no information will be disclosed without signed consent from the student. This signed consent on an Authority to Collect Form (AC) indicates the student’s preference for full consent, part consent or no consent for disclosure to academic staff. However, where full disclosure is not provided to Disability Support, this may limit Disability Support staff in their ability to assist in implementing any adjustments required.

4.1 Recommendations for reasonable adjustments are documented in an Education Inclusion Plan (EIP). EIPs are developed by the Disability Advisor in consultation with the Student, in consideration of the relevant supporting documentation as recommended by the treating practitioner and the inherent requirements of the course.

4.2 Once an EIP is completed and signed by the student and the Disability Advisor, the student is provided with a copy.

4.3 The student is then responsible for communicating with academic staff and providing them with their Education Inclusion Plan within 10 working days of finalisation, should they need reasonable adjustments in their unit of study. Students are responsible for discussing reasonable adjustments with relevant academic staff each semester.

4.4 The University Assessment Policy and Procedures also requires that a copy of the EIP is forwarded by Disability Support to the Head of School or delegate located on the student’s campus. EIPs are reviewed regularly and can be updated at any time and processed accordingly.

4.5 Disability Support is responsible for advising Student Systems of the students’ EIPs so students with EIPs can be identified by academic staff on class lists. Disability Support also provides Examinations and Results with a final list of students requiring examination adjustments by the middle of week 12 of each semester.

An adjustment is reasonable if it successfully balances the interests of all parties affected. As a guide, the following principles should be taken into consideration:

5.1 Reasonable adjustments for students are measures taken by the University to enable students with disabilities to have equitable and inclusive access to all educational services on the same basis as students without a disability such as:

  1. Admission and enrolment
  2. Participation in a course or program
  3. Use of facilities and services
  4. Events

5.2 The adjustment may take the form of an aid, a facility or a service that the student requires because of his or her disabilities.

5.3 Reasonable adjustments will be provided in consultation with the student based upon information and recommendations provided by the treating practitioner, within a reasonable time after the EIP is completed. Reasonable Adjustments provided for students with disabilities must not detract from the integrity of the course or program and its assessment requirements or processes in order that the graduates of the course or program can present themselves as having the appropriate knowledge, experience or expertise.

6.1 Disability Support is responsible for recruiting, supervising and budgeting for note takers, interpreters and participation assistants as required.

6.2 Library (Data Quality and Digitalisation) is responsible for funding and providing alternative format text requirements as coordinated by Disability Support.

6.3 Where Faculty develops programs for profit, adjustments are to be provided and funded by the program.

6.4 Faculty will be responsible for the implementation of and expenditure on adjustments relating to creating accessible curriculum, teaching, assessment and in class examinations. This includes captioning, alternative format teaching materials and exam papers, readers and scribes etc.

6.5 All expenditure on reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities will be recorded and reported.

7.1 The University will make reasonable adjustments to examinations for students with disabilities to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and competency for assessment purposes. Students must first comply with the requirements stated under the Policy and Procedures on Students with Disabilities and meet any timeframes for exam adjustment requests. Exemptions may apply (see paragraph 8).

7.2 Reasonable adjustments for examinations will be recommended after considering standard practices that redress the impact of a student's disability on their performance in examinations. Common adjustments are:

  1. Extensions of time
  2. Use of assistive technology
  3. A smaller capacity venue
  4. Use of reader, scribe or computer where necessary
  5. Use of ergonomic chair
  6. Alternative formatting of exam papers

7.3 Examinations and Results will provide reasonable adjustments for central examinations. Schools are responsible for the creation of alternate format exam papers and provision to Examinations and Results within allocated timeframes.

7.4 Academic staff are responsible for implementing reasonable adjustments for school based assessment.

8.1 The University may not implement a reasonable adjustment where the Faculty or Department is satisfied that exemptions under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005 apply.

8.2 Staff are required to seek advice from Disability Support, in conjunction with Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching), prior to making a final decision as to whether exemptions apply.

8.3 The following are identified under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 as exceptions to the requirement for provision of all necessary measures and reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities:

  1. Where provision of adjustments or measures would impose unjustifiable hardship on the University;
  2. Where, even with the provision of all appropriate adjustments, the student remains unable to fulfil the inherent requirements of a course of study;
  3. Where the provision of adjustments or measures would undermine the academic integrity of the course of study, assessment or accreditation process; and
  4. Where a student with disabilities has an infectious disease or other condition that requires isolation in order to protect their health and welfare or the health and welfare of others, and where the University is unable to provide reasonable adjustments that will enable the student to receive relevant services and facilities so that they may continue with their studies;
  5. Where, even with the provision of all appropriate adjustments, it is not possible to meet occupational health and safety requirements.

8.4 Unjustifiable hardship as described by Section11(1) of the Disability Discrimination Act, provides that: for the purposes of the Act, in determining what constitutes unjustifiable hardship, all relevant circumstances of the particular case are to be taken into account. This includes:

  1. the nature of the benefit or detriment likely to accrue or be suffered by persons concerned; and
  2. the effect of the disability of a person concerned; and
  3. the financial circumstances and the estimated amount of expenditure required to be made by the person claiming unjustifiable hardship; and
  4. in the case of provision of services, or the making available of facilities - an action plan given to the Commission under Section 64 of the Act

A student who is dissatisfied with a decision should, in the first instance discuss their concerns with the Disability Advisor. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of this discussion and believes a decision is discriminatory in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the ACU Student Complaint Policy and Procedures should be followed.

Students seeking to resolve issues of discrimination and harassment can seek support and information initially from a Disability Advisor or contact the Student Advocacy Service.


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