Inherent requirements

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or unit that demonstrate the capabilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of the course or unit, while preserving the academic integrity of the university’s learning, assessment and accreditation processes. These must be met by all students – they are the abilities, knowledge and skills needed to complete the course.1

The Disability Discrimination Act [DDA] 1992, as amended in 2009 (Australian Government Comlaw, 2010) through the Disability Standards for Education [DSE] (Australian Government Comlaw 2005), requires institutions to take reasonable steps that enable a student with a disability to participate in education on the same basis as a student without a disability.

An adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist a student with a disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students. Examples of adjustments include: provision of a note taker or Sign Language Interpreter; provision of adaptive equipment / furniture or assistive technology.

An adjustment is reasonable if it balances the interests of all parties affected.2

Making changes to ensure equal opportunity for people with a disability is commonly referred to as a "reasonable adjustment."3

  • Equipment / furniture / devices designed to facilitate independence for people with people with disabilities and medical conditions

Adaptive equipment includes: ergonomic furniture such as height adjustable desks and chairs; mobility equipment and may include industry specific equipment.

  • Software or hardware devices by which people with disabilities can access technology

Assistive technology can include devices such as alternate keyboards and mice, voice recognition software, monitor magnification software, multiple switch joysticks, and text-to-speech communication aids.4

Inherent requirements domains

To provide clarity and consistency, the inherent requirement statements have been grouped under several domains. Courses may contain some or all of these domains.

Acting in ways consistent with what society and individuals typically think are good values and avoiding activities that do harm to people or the environment.

In the context of Inherent Requirements, this could mean adherence to the Code of Ethics set down by the University or the professional body associated with a student’s course of study.

  • The maintenance of a level of conduct that is deemed acceptable and appropriate, according to societal or situational mores, over a given period of time

This requirement is most pertinent to students with mental health issues, neurological impairments and refers to circumstances where the student can demonstrate consistent, predictable and appropriate conduct.

  • Pertaining to law

For the purposes of the Inherent Requirements, this refers to the legal requirements set out by professional bodies associated with particular courses of study.

Verbal communication

  • The act of conveying messages, ideas or feelings through the use of speech.

For the purposes of the Inherent Requirements, speech producing / voice output communication devices are also considered verbal communication.

Non verbal communication

Elements of speech and communication behaviour aside from words that transmit meaning including: pitch, speed, tone and volume of voice; gestures and facial expressions; body posture, stance, and proximity to the listener; eye movements and eye contact.

Non-verbal cues can provide significant additional information to a listener/ conversational partner.

Written communication

Communication by means of written symbols -this includes typed, printed or handwritten material in addition to the use of electronic devices such as tablets.

The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through one’s thought, experience, and senses.

Knowledge and cognitive skills

Any of a number of acquired skills that reflect an individual's ability to think. Cognitive skills include: verbal and spatial abilities; concentration; memory; perception; reasoning; planning and organisation; flexible thinking and problem solving.

Literacy (language)

For the purpose of the inherent requirements, is defined as the ability to acquire information, understand that information and apply in a scholarly manner.

This includes collecting information from multiple sources, comprehending that information and reporting the findings to demonstrate understanding.


The ability to understand and work with numbers.

Basic numeracy skills consist of comprehending fundamental mathematics like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

The mode by which one’s body perceives external stimuli - through sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

In the context of the Inherent Requirements, the key sensory modalities are vision, hearing and tactile abilities.


The extent to which a person can see; accuracy of vision.


The sense of hearing; the ability / inability to hear.


The sense of touch.

Gross motor skills

The use of large muscle groups that coordinate body movements for activities such as walking, lifting, pushing, pulling and maintaining balance.

Fine motor skills

The ability to undertake precise coordinated movements of the hands for activities such as writing and manipulating small objects.

Dexterity is the skill in performing physical tasks, especially with the hands.

The ability to maintain a level of function over a pre-determined period of time. This could include physical performance – such as standing for a period of time or cognitive (mental) performance – such as concentrating for a particular length of time.

1. UWS Inherent Requirements Working Party 2010

2. Australia Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) - Creating Accessible Teaching and Support

3. Australian Human Rights Commission.

4. Further information can be located at



Inherent Requirements
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