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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training
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Work and further study remain a huge challenge for students with an intellectual disability

For young adults with an intellectual disability, finding work or suitable post-school study is an enormous challenge but there are some pockets of hope and opportunity.

Often, for the nearly 700,000 Australians with an intellectual disability, the path isn't as straightforward as simply finishing high school, attending university or TAFE and getting a job.

Sally Bailey, a National Disability Coordination Officer, said this could be due to a lack of alignment between a person's goals and the opportunities available to them, particularly if they are interested in pursuing a career in a particular industry.

"When a person with intellectual disability has an interest in a specific vocational industry, for example hairdressing or information technology, education providers are less likely to run courses below [Certificate III] level."

Unfortunately, she said, their disability means some students may find it difficult to complete a course above Certificate I or II level. Students might need further adjustments to the course and content to help them to learn and complete assessments. All education providers have an "obligation" to provide reasonable adjustments to assist students, however what this looks like in practice isn't always clear.

"Reasonable adjustment could look like more time to complete a course, verbal instructions, plain English materials, applied learning opportunities to demonstrate competencies," she explained.

Other course modifications could allow more students to participate in classes of their choosing.

"In the case of industry specific courses there needs to be some work done around teaching students at different levels. It may not be viable to run a whole VET class at a Certificate II level when only one or two students need it but it may be viable to run a Certificate III class and include a couple of Certificate II level students with a modified curriculum," she said.

She said the best courses for students with an intellectual disability covered a range of different areas to give them a practical education, but students should still be able to access courses in their field of interest.

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Source: Sydney Morning Herald