Refer to the following worksheets to identify any questions you may have
about disclosing your disability:
Disclosure in a tertiary setting may be about ensuring that you have access to the range of study supports/accommodations available to students with a disability. It may also be about deciding whether or not to tell other students as you find yourself making friends and working with other students and staff. Every time you enter a new educational setting or meet new people you need to make decisions about disclosing personal information which may mean any of the following:
- educating someone about your disability or medical condition
- telling someone about the impact of your disability or medical condition on study
- telling someone how you do things successfully
- telling someone your learning style
- providing documentation about your disability or medical condition
- talking to another student about your disability or medical condition
There are many aspects that you
need to consider when deciding whether or not to disclose your disability and/or
medical condition. In particular you need to decide whether telling someone will
assist you in some way, whether you trust the person you would tell and what
could be the possible repercussions from disclosing. You are not required or
obliged to disclose your disability to your education provider however if you
choose not to disclose, your lecturers and/or tutors will not be able to meet
your specific needs as they have not been informed of them.
You need to consider what you
want to achieve while studying and whether you want to make use of the wide
range of study supports/accommodations
that may be available to you. Where a student has not disclosed a disability to
their education provider teaching and other staff are not responsible for
providing education related adjustments to the student
There are three key things that
you need to discuss with disability
staff when deciding whether or not to disclose your disability and/or
medical condition. These include:
- what will the person do with the
information you have shared with them?
- is there other information they
need to know (rather than assuming)
- can they come back to you for
further clarification if required
Disability staff can control who
is contacted and what they are contacted about. They can also liaise on your
behalf with staff across the tertiary institution to ensure that appropriate
academic adjustments are made. Disclosure may also enable you to apply for
alternative exam arrangements and assist you plan and manage situations that may
impact upon your course or subjects.
Refer to Worksheet 5
-Questions to ask the Disability Liaison Officer or Student Support Officer
(worksheet 5 as text 23KB or worksheet
5 as PDF 81KB ) and Worksheet 7 - Key questions (worksheet 7 as text 46KB or worksheet
7 as PDF 87KB).
You can choose to disclose before you commence study, after you have started attending lectures and tutorials or when you require reasonable adjustments for teaching methods and assessment. If you disclose before you start to study you can disclose on any of the following forms:
- tertiary admissions application form
- course enrolment form
- course or topic questionnaires
It is recommended that you disclose as early as possible so that disability staff have plenty of time to organise any accommodations or supports that you may need. Disability staff recommend that students first disclose on the confidential student enrolment form. This information is used to assist disability staff to plan ahead and budget for the services they need to provide students. There are a number times during your study that you are presented with an opportunity to disclose
If disclosure of a disability becomes an issue of duty of care, your safety or the safety of others, then people who need to know may be informed. Equity officers and counsellors do have a duty of care to respect your confidence. However, If you are not in a position to speak for yourself it is important that you consider whether you carry appropriate information, such as a medic alert bracelet.
Tertiary institutions take confidentiality extremely seriously and by registering with disability staff the nature of your disability is kept confidential. Many tertiary providers have confidentiality policies which support your right to make decisions about what happens to personal information about you.Disability staff
will tell you about the policies of the education provider and talk with you about the confidentiality of the information that you provide to them. Disability staff should also tell you if they are planning to tell anyone else about your disability and why. If you choose to disclose to a friend or another student it is a good idea to make sure they understand what is meant by confidentiality and ensure they respect your wishes if you want to keep this information private.
To register with disability
you will be required to provide current documentation from a relevant
health professional to confirm your disability. The information supplied can be
from the professional of your choice for example a general practitioner, medical
specialist, allied health professional. Disability staff will discuss with you
the specific information required.