My child’s rights

The Disability Standards for Education (2005) were formulated under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992). The Standard states the obligations of education and training providers to ensure students with disabilities are able to access and participate in education and training on the same basis as those without a disability.

The Standards provide for reasonable adjustments and alternative assessment arrangements to allow students with disabilities (including ASD) equal access to academic courses and activities.

Reasonable adjustments

A 'reasonable adjustment' is an action which enables a student with a disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students.

Examples of reasonable adjustments for examinations or essays could be:

  • an alternative assessment such as an oral exam rather than a written one
  • an alteration to the standard format of an assessment, such as typing instead of handwriting in an examination
  • allowing more time for the completion of an assignment or examination.

Other examples of reasonable adjustments and alternative assessments provided to students by Victorian higher education institutions are listed in the table below. With the exception of counselling services, these adjustments can be made only when the student has told the university or TAFE about his or her ASD diagnosis.

Read the Disclosure section to find out more about reasons for disclosure and when to disclose.

Functional impacts on academic performanceReasonable adjustmentsAlternative assessment arrangements

Sensory and motor

  • Light sensitivity
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Irritation to certain environments
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills such as handwriting
  • Short breaks during classes to help manage sensory sensitivities
  • Provide a learning environment which minimises the impacts of environmental effects e.g. lighting
  • Note taker for taking class notes
  • Flexible arrangements for field placements with extra consultation with field supervisor
  • For exams, provide extra writing time or use of computer to type answers

Cognitive

  • Easily distracted
  • Miscomprehension due to literal interpretation
  • Difficulty comprehending certain communication styles (verbal and gesture)
  • Difficulties with new  tasks or unplanned changes
  • All communication (oral and written) to be clear and concise using non-figurative and unambiguous language e.g. no metaphor
  • Paraphrase communications
  • One-on-one catch-up with lecturers
  • Copies of overheads and formal lecture notes provided few days prior to class
  • Audio recording of lectures or classes
  • Short breaks during class to help manage the condition
  • Digital audio recorder for non-audio-recorded teaching space
  • Special exam conditions for exams and in-class tests (written, practical and laboratory). For example, separate room for exam
  • Extra reading time with access to clarification of exam content
  • Extra writing time
  • One exam per day

Behavioural

  • Poor organisational skills
  • Obsessive or repetitive routines
  • Referral to specialist department within the tertiary institution to assist with organisational skills and study planning
  • Extensions as negotiated with academic staff and relevant support staff when condition is impacting

Social/interpersonal

  • Abrupt or intrusive communication style
  • Difficulties with group work
  • Difficulties initiating or responding appropriately in communication with others (academics and fellow students)
 
  • Assigning roles and responsibilities to students within the group
  • Individual assignment as alternative to group assignments where the academic integrity of the course is not impacted

Emotional

  • Anxiety and depression
Referral to Counselling ServiceReferral to Counselling Service

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