Disability is a normal part of the human experience, and some form of disability affects about one in five Australians and this number is increasing, partly as a result of an ageing population. Numbers of students with disability in university have more than doubled in recent years (to around 6%) but are still under-represented.
Our perceptions of people with disability are socially and culturally conditioned. Negative attitudes and assumptions, often based on misunderstanding or ignorance, can shape the way we behave towards them. People with disability are as diverse as those without - blind people are no more alike than brown-eyed people! They are also parents, partners, managers, employees, artists and sportspeople.
Impairments are variously disabling depending on the extent to which society and the university makes provisions for their inclusion. Disability is not so much an attribute of the individual as of the social and physical environment in which he or she lives. The nature of the disability experienced by the individual can be moderated when environments and practices are designed to be inclusive.