Reasonable adjustments (also referred to as 'accommodations') refer to the support provided by tertiary institutions for students with a disability or health condition to ensure equal access to teaching and learning. Reasonable adjustments are referred to in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Commonwealth Disability Standards for Education 2005. States and Territories may also have their own legislation such as ACT Discrimination Act 1991. Tertiary institutions also align their commitment to reasonable adjustments with their own Disability Action Plans.
Reasonable adjustments ensure that people with a disability or health condition have access to and participate in the academic, occupational and social activities of a tertiary institution. In making reasonable adjustments academic tertiary institutions ensure that the academic integrity of courses and programs offered is maintained to the appropriate standards.
It is recommended that students who require adjustments should discuss their needs with a Disability Practitioner (also referred to as Disability or Inclusion Advisors). The adjustments will be recommended in line with legislative guidelines and are directly related to up-to-date medical documentation provided by the student.
When recommending the appropriate adjustments for students with a disability or health condition there are a variety of factors that need to be considered.
These may include:
- the nature and onset of the disability
- the type of assessment and course requirements
- the student’s ability to participate in courses or programmes
- the student’s usual work methods and their ability to achieve learning outcomes
- information from consultation with the student involved
- a focus on enhanced independence
- the effect of the proposed adjustment on anyone else affected, including staff, and other students
- the cost and benefits of making the adjustment