Reasonable Adjustments: Mental Health
As per the Disability Standards for Education 2005 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”. 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 other 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 mental health conditions may benefit from a range of inclusive teaching and assessment strategies. Some adjustments that are frequently used for students with mental health conditions include:
- clarification of attendance expectations and procedures for absence
- clarification of behavioural norms
- provision of a peer mentor
- access to flexible delivery methods such as online learning, blended learning and flipped classroom programs (where available) to provide flexible options that accommodate fluctuations in conditions
- provision of reading lists that highlight what are the essential texts and what are extension reading
- individual orientation to laboratories, workshops, studios and computer systems to reduce anxiety
- feedback on assignments given verbally in private rather than in writing
- recording of lectures if attention, memory and/or attendance is affected by medication
- video recording of oral presentation tasks or presentation one-on-one with a lecturer or tutor
- Where lectures or tutorial sessions are presented more than once in a week, access prioritised for sessions times that are least affected by medication
- additional time in exams
- provision of an alternative exam venue that is free of distractions or take home exams
- modified exam papers that present lengthy questions in bullet points and minimise multiple choice questions
- modified or alternative assessments for presentations e.g., smaller group presentations, pre-recording presentation
- postponement of assessments or suspension of enrolment without penalty if a student experiences a severe episode of their mental health condition.