Reasonable adjustments

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

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 that students with disabilities are able to access and participate in education and training on the same basis as those without disability.

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

Providing reasonable adjustments

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

An alternative assessment is an adjustment or alteration to the standard format of an assessment.

Examples of reasonable adjustments and alternative assessments provided to students by Victorian higher education institutions are listed in the table below.

If you have not already done so, please check with the disability support service at your institution for the types of adjustments that may be provided to students with disabilities, as this may differ between institutions.

While some students with ASDs may independently initiate discussions with academic staff, the disability support liaison officers may attend the meeting with academic staff to facilitate discussion of appropriate adjustments for the particular student. In some cases disability support may send you a letter stating what reasonable adjustments the student requires.

Examples of reasonable adjustments and alternative assessments

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 the condition
  • 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
  • Many lectures in tertiary settings are now automatically recorded and placed online. It may be helpful to make sure that a student with an ASD is aware of this and is able to access this information independently.

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