Reasonable Adjustments: Physical Disability
Reasonable adjustments refer to a “measure or action taken to assist a student with disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students”1 They are designed to place students with disability on a more equal footing, and not to give them any kind of advantage.
Reasonable adjustments made for a student with disability must maintain the academic integrity of the qualification and not cause a health or safety risk for another student(s) or negatively impact upon the learning experience of another student(s).
Adjustments are negotiated to meet the needs of the individual student, this is predominantly done through a Disability Practitioner within the institution the student attends. They commonly include the following.
To accommodate individual students:
Students with physical disabilities may benefit from a range of inclusive teaching and assessment strategies. Some adjustments that are frequently used for students with physical disabilities include:
- Access to venues.
- Summaries of lecture information given at the end of lectures to accommodate students who may be late due to difficulties moving between teaching venues on large campuses.
- Access reviews conducted of all off-campus sites to ensure they meet the access needs of students with a mobility disability.
- Supplementary tasks as an alternative to difficult field trips.
- Space provided in teaching rooms to accommodate student’s own furniture or adapted equipment.
- Option to stand in classes or take short breaks to accommodate musculoskeletal issues.
- Recording of lectures and tutorial sessions.
- Provision of a note-taker.
- Provision of modified equipment, including computers.
- Support with locating and use of library resources, including photocopiers and other equipment.
- Additional one-to-one sessions with tutors for students who are not able to participate in some class activities.
- Oral examination or access to text-to-speech software where writing or typing of answers is impacted by the physical disability.
- Provision of a separate room if speech recognition software is to be used.
- Additional time in exams where a physical disability affects writings speed.
- Rest breaks in exams.
- Take home exams.
- Extensions to assignments where extensive research involving physical activity such as frequent trips to the library or collection of data from dispersed locations is required.
1 Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2013. Student Diversity. Accessed on July 21 2016 from australiancurriculum.edu.au/studentdiversity/students-with-disability
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training, Identifying Student Requirements and Making Reasonable Adjustments. Accessed on July 20 2016 from adcet.edu.au/inclusive-teaching/working-with-students/making-reasonable-adjustments/
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Accessed on July 21 2016 from adcet.edu.au/inclusive-teaching/specific-disabilities/physical-disability/
Queensland VET Development Centre (2010), Reasonable adjustment in teaching, learning and assessment for students with a disability. A guide for VET practitioners. Queensland Government. Accessed on July 20, 2016 from adcet.edu.au/download/attachment/7383-1