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NAVIGATING UNIVERSITY STUDIES WITH A DISABILITY
Gooday, my name is Maria! I’m currently studying a double degree in Law and Commerce on the Sydney campus.
What is something you wish you had known when you started university?
Before starting university, I wish I had known about the extensive support Access & Inclusion provides to students with disabilities.
How has your disability affected your studies?
I am legally partially blind and use my peripherals to see which is also hindered by blind spots. My disability has severely impacted my studying life with my need for enlarged text sizes and digital copies to alternative examination requirements. It’s a continuous challenge and struggle to manage but I guess that is what makes University life all the more exciting and adventurous!
How did you find out about Access and Inclusion?
I found out about Access and Inclusion from the Student Administration Office during enrolment for my first semester.
What support have you received after registering with Access & Inclusion?
I have received immense support from Access and Inclusion. They have made my university life so much easier and enjoyable. From ensuring all my special provisions are met in the classroom and exams, checking in on progress with studies and any issues I encounter with my disability. I’m so grateful for all the support and encouragement Bernadette and Fiona have provided to me. Access and Inclusion has made it easier to be a student with a disability.
Were the supports from Access & Inclusion flexible and adaptable to your individual needs, and what did this look like?
Access and Inclusion are flexible and adaptable to an individual’s needs as they construct tailored Learning Access Plans (LAP) for their students. This is super helpful as it includes all my individual special provisions needed for in class learning and examinations. The LAP enables efficient and clear communication of my educational needs to all lecturers and tutors. Access and Inclusion go a step further by liaising with teaching personal on your behalf if needed. Access & Inclusion, especially Bernadette and Fiona, have always supported me!
What did you find the most helpful in participating in class activities?
Participating in class activities is extremely helpful in making new friends and broadening your communication skills. It is one of the best ways to break the ice!
Did you have alternative exam arrangements, and how did this assist you?
I had alternative exam arrangements due to my disability in which were all organised by Access & Inclusion. This was really helpfully as it allowed me to comfortably and confidently tackle exams.
Did you have a Learning Access Plan (LAP) and how did you find the process of establishing an LAP?
I have a Learning Access Plan (LAP) and the process of establishing one is very simple. The process targets what support a student needs and how Access & Inclusion will achieve that support through established provisions for in class learning and exams. Every LAP is tailored to match the individual, thus supporting documentation required may vary for each student.
What is your advice to other students who have a disability?
Be confident in yourself and the support Access & Inclusion can offer. University life is daunting but ultimately extremely exciting and empowering. A disability does not define or limit you! Opportunities are boundless and plentiful. Move forward on this new adventure without hesitation!
Do you have any other thoughts or feedback about Access and Inclusion?
Access & Inclusion have become my pillar of support in university life, and I am extremely grateful for all their hard work and encouragement. Their support behind the scenes is unparalleled!