Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

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Q. Are there different admission requirements for students with disabilities?

A: No, there are no different admission requirements made for students with disabilities. All students must meet the University’s entry requirements.

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Q. What if I believe a student will not be able to be registered or employed for work following the completion of their degree?

A: Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), it is unlawful to refuse to admit a person to a University course on the basis that they are unlikely to be able to gain employment because of their disability.

When offering advice about educational pathways and future employment, staff are not required (or legally permitted) to act as a “gate keeper” to the workforce.

The key question is “will the student be able to complete the core requirements of the course?”

A qualification may lawfully be withheld if the person’s disability means that the inherent requirements of the profession cannot be met (DDA, Section 19), but educational authorities are not permitted to pre-empt this.

If staff have concerns that a student is unlikely to meet the requirements of the profession, it is recommended to discuss this with the student and provide information that can help them make an informed decision about their future. Do not try to “counsel” a student away from their chosen career path as this may be seen as discriminatory.

It is important to ensure that course requirements and expectations are clearly documented as it may be necessary to consider reasonable adjustments to the course to enable the student to participate on an equitable basis.

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Q. Are breaches of the Student Code of Conduct (e.g. academic misconduct or behavioural misconduct) handled differently for students with disabilities?

A: No. All students are subject to the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

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Q. Do staff at JCU have a legal responsibility to accommodate students with disabilities?

A: Yes. The University is required by the Disability Discrimination Act – Education Standards 2005 to provide reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities to allow them to participate in education on the same basis as other students.

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Q. Do I have to liaise with AccessAbility Services if a student discloses their disability information to me?

A: No. Not all students with a disability, injury or health condition require support from AccessAbility Services and can be supported through direct communication with relevant staff.

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Q. Are students required to disclose their disability information to any staff and/or AccessAbility Services?

A: No. Students are not required to disclose their disability and/or provide medical documentation to staff or AccessAbility Services, unless they have requested support.

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Q. Is it possible for some students with disabilities to get through the majority of their course without receiving adjustments?

A: Yes. For example some conditions or illnesses do not impact in such a way that the student requires adjustments, e.g. some physical disabilities, such as the early stages of multiple sclerosis, are not immediately apparent.

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Q. What are reasonable adjustments?

A: Reasonable adjustments allow, that wherever it is possible, necessary and reasonable to do so, the usual policy or practice will be varied to meet the needs of a student with a disability, injury, illness or health condition.

More Info on Reasonable Adjustments

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Q. How do I know if adjustments to assessments are fair and equitable?

A: The most important question to ask is:“Are the academic standards and course requirements still being met if reasonable adjustments are implemented?”

Also consider the following:

  • The barriers, needs or challenges confronting a student with a particular disability

  • The views of the student and/or their carers and/or interpreters

  • What benefits or disadvantages the adjustment might have on other students

  • The costs and benefits of making the adjustment

If you require assistance with implementing reasonable adjustments please contact AccessAbility Services.

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Q. What alternatives to assessments are possible?

A: The following suggestions are neither exhaustive nor prescriptive and students may require other alternatives depending on their circumstances.

Some examples of alternative assessment include:

  • Orals

  • Role plays

  • Case studies

  • Viva’s

  • Taped interviews

  • Slide presentations

  • Photographic essays

  • Simulations

  • Student directs a third person to carry out the steps of the assessment or the activity if the student is unable to perform themselves

  • Additional assignments instead of examinations

  • Flexibility with deadlines if large amount of reading and research is involved (for students with vision impairments, learning difficulties etc)

  • Alternative question formats for exam papers. For example:replacing some or all of the exam questions with long or short-answer and/or multiple choice questions (for students who have memory, processing and/or other cognitive difficulties)

  • For adjustments to formal examinations or for further advice contact AccessAbility Services

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Q. Do I have to podcast a lecture if a student with a disability asks me to?

A: No, you are not required to podcast lectures. Students registered with AccessAbility Services are able to borrow a digital recorder to record a lecture if they are unable to take notes.

If the student is unable to attend the lecture and requests a recording it is at the lecturers discretion to podcast the lecture. AccessAbility Services can be contacted if required.

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Q. What is an alternative format?

A: Alternative formatting provides an alternative to standard print. Alternative formats may include audio, e-texts, large print, Braille, Digital Talking Books etc.

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Q. What is the responsibility of staff if a student with a disability requests course materials to be provided in alternate formats?

A: The responsibility of a staff member is to ensure subject materials and reading lists are available prior to the beginning of Semester to allow time for reformatting to ensure the student is not disadvantaged.

Staff should also advise the student to contact AccessAbility Services as soon as possible to arrange the alternative formatting to be completed.

If appropriate and resources are available, academic staff can provide alternative formats for students such as handouts in large print or provide podcasts of lectures.

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Q. What are accessible documents?

A: Accessible documents are those that can be read by a screen reader for a student who is blind or vision impaired. Students with a learning disability, motor neuron disorder and/or psychiatric condition may also use screen readers to help with concentration.

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Q. Are staff required to provide course materials in an accessible format?

A: Yes. Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), Section 24, staff are required to provide, if reasonable and able to do so, accessible documents.

More info on accessible documents

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Q. Do exam adjustments for formal exams have to be organised through AccessAbility Services?

A: Yes.

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Q. Do exam adjustments for mid-term exams/tests have to be organised through AccessAbility Services?

A: No, if appropriate mid-term adjustments can be arranged by the lecturer; however AccessAbility Services can assist with arrangements if required.

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Q. Is Special Consideration different to exam adjustments?

A: Yes. Special Consideration (if approved) means that the lecturer will consider the students’ circumstances when marking the examination paper. All students, including those with a disability, follow the standard University process for applying for Special Consideration.

Exam adjustments are alterations to the conditions in which the exam is undertaken. Students requesting exam adjustments must be registered with AccessAbility Services.

More info on exam adjustments

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