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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training

Disability Practitioners

Disability practitioners are known variously as Disability Liaison Officer, Disability Advisor, Integration Coordinator, Teacher Consultant or Disability Officer. Although position descriptions vary, primary functions are likely to include:

  • Assisting students to identify the implications of their disability for study and assessment
  • Documenting adjustments and services required in the form of a Learning Access Plan (or similar)
  • Providing information to students and staff about available support services, assistive technology, learning strategies accommodations or adjustments
  • Managing interpreting and notetaking services
  • Providing disability education, training and awareness for staff
  • Assisting teaching and support staff to problem-solve issues
  • Assisting the institution in the development and implementation of action plans, policies and procedures to ensure disability services are main-streamed
  • Assisting in balancing the rights of individual students and the interests of the institution.


Disability Practitioners can subscribe to the AustEd email list. AustEd is an initiative of the Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability (ATEND) and is a closed list, its aim is to facilitate discussion and information-sharing among disability practitioners and teachers within the post-secondary education sector.   Discussions focus on inclusive teaching, learning and support for people with disability in this sector. For more information, including how to subscribe, go to austed-list online form - this is also where subscribed members need to go to to access archived emails,  


Webinar - Learning Access Plans: What are we learning?


Transcript available to download

Merrin McCraken, Manager, Disability Services,  Deakin University
Jackie Weinman, Disability Advisor, Counselling and Disability Services,  Curtin University

Merrin  and Jackie present their findings on a survey they sent out to Disability Practitioners from across the sector. This was a trial into using live captioning with webinar technology. Captioning by Bradley Reporting.

Over the past few years many educational institutions have adopted the model of using Learning Access Plans or their equivalent as a way of communicating the needs of students with disabilities to relevant staff within the institution. These plans outline the `reasonable adjustments' recommended by the Disability Service/Equity Office, and in many cases contain some information about the student's disability and the implications of the disability on access to study. The processes institutions have developed vary widely, for example some rely completely on student self-advocacy and others have organisationally based systems for disseminating the information.

In this presentation Merrin and Jackie shared the results of a survey undertaken in October 2012, where 49 universities and TAFE’s shared their practice, experience and evaluation of the efficacy of Learning Access Plans. They consider how these findings resonate with the different experiences of two Universities: Curtin University in Western Australia and Deakin University in Victoria, particularly where there are different, and sometimes opposite, approaches taken. They explored various approaches to creating and disseminating access plans and evaluation of the outcomes for students and staff. They explored the value of access plans in meeting the legal framework for institutions, and factors to consider when constructing a process