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Reasonable Adjustments: Physical Disability

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 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 adaptive 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.