Reasonable Adjustments: Deaf and Hard of Hearing
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 who are Deaf or hard of hearing may benefit from a range of inclusive teaching and assessment strategies. Some adjustments that are frequently specifically for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing include:
- access to peer lecture notes
- provision of Auslan interpreters for lectures, tutorials, practicals, practicums and meetings with staff as required
- provision of a combination of Auslan interpreters and/or note-taking services for classes
- arrangement of appropriate seating in lectures, tutorials, practicals and examinations
- provision of a real-time laptop typist note-taker for lectures, tutorials and practicals
- access to real-time captioning in lectures
- transcription of required audio resources into accessible formats including narrated PowerPoints, multi-media clips and so on
- negotiation of assessment methodologies and appropriate technology and equipment
- provision of assistive technology or equipment in examinations as required
- arrangement for student to meet with faculty prior to starting to identify strategies for accommodating the implications of the disability in relation to the inherent requirements of any required practicums
- provision of appropriate seating to facilitate engagement including front of class, eye line to lecturer, space for Auslan interpreter(s)
- lecturers wearing microphones to accommodate students using hearing aids and induction loops
- use of venues with minimal background noise such as moving rooms away from busy corridor areas such as adjacent to elevators
- lecturers’ notes, PowerPoint presentations and other materials provided as a handout or download
- provision of written confirmation of any changes or announcements, particularly related to a change in routine
- provision of subject-specific jargon and definitions at the beginning of the course so that Auslan interpreters can work with students on how to spell and sign the new language
- provision of captioned videos
- alternative arrangements made for presentation of tutorial materials for students with associated speech loss
- emailing of transcripts of live-captioned sessions.
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, Deaf and Hearing Impaired. Accessed on July 19 2016 fromadcet.edu.au/disability-practitioner/reasonable-adjustments/disability-specific-adjustments/deaf-and-hearing-impaired/
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/resource/7383/reasonable-adjustment-in-teaching-learning-and-assessment-for-learners-with-a-disability-a-guide-for-vet-practitioners