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Conference Program

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Day 1  Day 2  Day 3  Day 4  Day 5  Full Program

Monday 28th November, 2016


Ticket to Work: a partnership approach to supporting young people with disability from school into economic participation

Ms Michelle Wakeford
National Disability Services, Parkville, Australia

Aims: Ticket to Work uses a partnership approach to improve employment pathways of young people with disability in Australia

The primary mechanisms are career development and early contact with work environments, leading to better long term social and economic participation.
That these mechanisms are implemented though a co-ordinated partnership network approach between schools and post school providers, with all players involved working towards a common vision, and understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities

The presentation will focus on evaluation of Ticket to Work.

We used three key methods for evaluating:
• Interviews with Ticket to Work participants 1-3 years since leaving school, comparing social and economic participation to a comparison group using existing datasets: the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) and Survey of Disability Ageing and Carers (SDAC)
• An integration measure survey that assesses the current and desired levels of cooperation between partner organisations
• Interviews with the network intermediaries that look at the characteristics of the overall network using realist evaluation methods

Results: We found more positive longer term (1-3 year post school) economic outcomes compared to the comparison group. There is a strong desire for more collaboration between stakeholders to achieve the common vision.
Conclusion: Ticket to Work is delivering economic pathways for young people with disability. We want to demonstrate and increase the knowledge base about what types of interventions work best for young people with disability in their transition from school, and show the effects of a partnership approach.

Power Within is Infinite: Positive Relationship Empowering Students to be more Responsible for their Learning

Mr Cleveland McGhie
AIME, Bruce, Australia

A review of the evolving education sector for disadvantaged or disability students is leading them into taking more responsibility for their own learning. This is not limited to a program, school or facility but rather the student’s direct relationship to the individual/s that they’re working with. The evolving ideas and practices alone are not enough to support the students who have a disadvantage or disability. The individuals who are truly invested, authentic and empathetic in the work they are doing are what will support and sustain these evolvements. AIME is a structured, dynamic educational program proven to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students through school. Starting in 2005 with 25 University students (mentors) and 25 Indigenous high school students (mentees) to now working with over 1,500 mentors and 4,500 mentees, the program is evolving. AIME runs 42 workshops challenging all students to step out of their comfort zone and build their confidence. Although ensuring sensitivity towards the students and there needs. The decision of how responsible a student wants to be for their learning can be differed depending on the relationship with the individual facilitating the program or working with them. One of my experiences in 2014 working with a student who had a disability from Batemans Bay showed me the power of empathy. And that beyond accommodations that if the correct support is given the students with a disadvantage or disability will become more responsible for their learning.

Assessing Reasonable Adjustments: A functional Assessment tool for Disability Practitioners

Ms Kelly Piper
Disability Assessment Advisor, Macquarie University
In 2015 Macquarie University chose to adopt and adapt the principles of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF; WHO, 2001) when developing individual educational access plans for students with disability.

Functioning and disability are viewed as a complex interaction between the health
condition of the student and the contextual factors of the environment, as well as personal factors.

With a focus on the individual experience of impairment, the assessment process is carefully designed to be relevant across cultures as well as age groups and genders, making it highly appropriate for the heterogeneous Macquarie University student population.

All aspects of a student’s life (development, participation and environment) are therefore incorporated into the assessment of current functioning instead of solely focusing on their diagnosis.

Seven domains of functioning that have a significant impact on student engagement form the basis of the assessment tool: Cognition, Behaviour, Vision, Hearing, Handwriting/Typing, Communication and Physical /Mobility.

The presentation will provide an overview of the functional assessment and how it presently shapes the implementation of reasonable adjustments for Macquarie University students.

JobAccess: Creating opportunities in the workplace

Ms Helen Green, Ms Lucy Macali
Department of Social Services, Canberra, Australia,
JobAccess, Melbourne, Australia

Just as people with disability encounter barriers in higher education, so they do as they enter the world of employment. Talented people may miss out on opportunities; not courtesy of disability, but often because employers do not understand an easy fix, a modification or some flexibility will enable the organisation to attract and retain their talent.

But it doesn’t have to be a story of missed opportunity or lost potential.
Higher education practitioners are in the frontline in addressing this issue. You need to use every tool in the box to support your graduates into work; and that starts with knowing what tools are at your disposal – and how to use them.
What resources are available to job seekers? How about employers? How do you access them?

Delivered by WorkFocus Australia on behalf of the Australian Government, the JobAccess service is an example of practical Government investment in the speedy removal of barriers to work for people with disability. Set up as the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers, JobAccess helps to reduce the impact of barriers faced in the workplace with advice, support and funding via the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF). It also works with employers to support inclusive employment practices.

Case studies and practical tips will feature throughout the presentation, illustrating the role JobAccess can play in removing barriers and paving the way into employment for people with disability, including mental health conditions.

The efficacy of peer mentoring for students with mental health issues: A critical reflection

Ms Hayley Woodrow, Ms Celina Campas
Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, Australia

Within the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) course at ACU’s Strathfield campus, 15% of students identify as having a mental illness, compared to approximately 5% of students enrolled in other courses. This cohort has much to offer the field of Social Work through lived experience. However, they have high attrition rates and are more likely to experience difficulties on practicum due to fluctuating health conditions, triggering content, limited support and low stress tolerance.

A peer mentoring program was offered in 2016 by Disability Services and the School of Social Work to students with mental health issues, with the aim of improving retention and practicum outcomes for this cohort. However, student interest was low. This raised questions around the efficacy and relevance of the peer mentor model to meet students complex needs, highlighting the difficult area of disclosure and stigma and the challenging task of engaging students who may be too unwell to recognise their need for support.

Anecdotal responses and in-depth interviews with students and staff involved in the pilot will yield valuable insights into the unique challenges, concerns and requirements of students with mental health issues. Through a critical reflection of this pilot via the qualitative research, we will identify key learnings to inform the development and implementation of a support program to better meet the needs of our Social Work students with mental health issues in 2017.

Collaboration and its Benefits – lessons from Victorian Disability Service Managers Network

Anthony Gartner
Manager, AccessAbility Services, Swinburne University of Technology, Rick Boffa, Manager, Disability Services, RMIT University (currently on long service leave)

Collaboration and partnership have become important themes for Victorian university services for students with disability. What started as an informal coffee catch up has grown in recent years to a network meeting quarterly and comprising the service managers of all Victorian university disability services. Benefits have included the sharing of ideas and strategies and the development of a joint pilot student satisfaction benchmarking survey run by six of the eight Victorian based universities (Swinburne, RMIT, Deakin, La Trobe, Federation, Victoria University). Presentation will explore the methods of setting up the network and the collaborative development of the joint Benchmarking Survey. The survey instrument will be shared together with the key findings, including how the benchmarking survey has contributed to the ongoing development of best practice.

Advances in communication of student requirements from Disability Support Services to faculty

Mr Matthew Salas
Monash University, Monash University, Australia

In March 2016 Disability Support Services (DSS) launched two online reports to enhance timely delivery of critical information to faculties. Recommendations regarding alternative arrangements for class tests, Special Consideration and other student matters are now available to relevant faculty staff almost immediately they are recorded by DSS in the University’s student records database (Callista). One report is available to general staff using the Monash Reporting System, while academics are able to access the same information in their Moodle Reports. While many privacy issues threatened to scuttle the project the University finally considered there to be no privacy shortfalls, with the compliance benefits of timely advice far outweighing any privacy risks.

Some Australian universities already have systems for automatic advice to faculty. However this could be a major advance for the larger and more structurally diverse institutions like Monash. The innovative use of Moodle is an example of how continuing development of integrated online data systems could improve service delivery for students with disability.

In theory automatic advice to faculty means that students no longer bear the onus of making first contact with faculty to request alternative arrangements. For DSS it should mean that resources previously assigned to producing large numbers of support letters are freed up. This presentation briefly reviews the development of the project, the privacy considerations, the impacts and feedback so far from students and staff, and consideration of the lessons learnt and potential future improvements.

Access to Graphics by Vision Impaired Students

Ms Leona Holloway
Monash University, Caulfield East, Australia

"Improving vision impaired students' access to graphics in higher education" is a 2-year project funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), due for completion in September 2016. The first stage of the project aimed to determine and evaluate current practices by which vision impaired and blind students in higher education access and produce non-textual media such as graphics, mathematics and videos. A national online survey gathered information and opinions from 71 vision-impaired students in higher education. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 44 stakeholders representing all aspects of accessibility provision: students, disability support staff, academics and accessible formats producers.

In the second stage of the project, pilot studies were conducted with a small number of students and their support staff across four universities. Strategies and technologies for improving access to graphics were trialled and evaluated.
Finally, participants from all stages of the study were invited to a full-day workshop to share the project findings and formulate an approach to effect positive change. Given the large variation in student needs, university structures, and teaching methods and materials, it was recognised that there cannot be a single model for best practice. Instead, a set of principles was drafted, along with suggested strategies to implement these principles.
Based on the findings from out studies, the presentation will focus on potential barriers to access and inclusion for vision impaired students working with graphical materials, and the methods explored to overcome these barriers.

Reaching for the Cloud: Can cloud based software, and "google" environments assist students who have a disability?

Mrs Anita Raftery, Mrs Rhonda Ebeling
North Coast Institute of TAFE NSW, Kingscliff, Australia,
North Coast Institute Of TAFE NSW, Taree, Australia

Our tertiary learning environments are constantly changing. New technologies and software solutions create both opportunities and challenges for teachers and students who experience barriers to learning. Online and cloud based learning platforms are becoming the “norm”. There are assumptions made that cloud based solutions will improve Universal Design for Learning and improve engagement and outcomes for students who have a disability.

Disability consultants in the North Coast Institute of TAFE implemented a pilot program to trial Cloud based google apps for education (GAFE) – including chrome, google classroom and cloud based inclusive software Read&Write for Chrome. The pilot aimed to gather anecdotal evidence from staff and students involved in the pilot during terms 2 and 3 of 2016 and examine if these cloud based software platforms improve UDL, student engagement and access to learning content.

This presentation will outline the development and implementation of the trial, and use case studies to realistically explore the outcomes, including the barriers and challenges experienced by staff and students. Can cloud based software, and "google" environments assist students who have a disability? Or does the “cloud” present additional barriers that need to be addressed by teachers and technology implementation teams?

BATYR: giving a voice to the elephant in the room

Mr Sam Refshague
Batyr Australia Limited, Sydney City, Australia

Australian research shows that in a class of 30 students, statistically 7 will be suffering from a serious mental illness. Tragically, only 2 will reach out for support . This lack of help-seeking translates to a lack of choice and opportunity for students; with 86% of those with a significant mental illness dropping out of studies.

batyr is centred on an evidence based model of stigma reduction and mental health education. Young people who have experienced mental ill-health are trained on how to present their story safely and effectively. With the opportunity to share their stories with others, we see the removal of mental health stigma and the empowerment of more people with the ability to reach out to the much needed services and supports available in their community.

Taking into account research from both SANE Australia and other experts in the field, batyr uses direct personal contact with people who experience mental illness in order to ensure we have targeted, local, credible and continuous contact with communities.

Within the tertiary space this involves the use of our chapter model which allows students to spearhead cultural change on campus. Sam will present on the innovative model behind batyr’s programs, which have already had face to face contact with 40,000 + young people across Australia.

batyr’s impact is consistent, with internal evaluation finding that up to 88% of university students who attend a batyr program found the program to be engaging, with a further 85.75% indicating that they were more likely to seek help having participated.

Questioning inherent requirements?

Ms Merrin Mccracken, Ms Catherine Stuckings
Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, 2RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

Catherine Stuckings has been working with and developing inherent requirements for 5 years. Merrin McCracken has been avoiding them for just as many! Through the ATEND Community of Practice on Inherent Requirements they have met and come together to explore and question the role of inherent requirements in tertiary education, as Catherine draws together the work she has done at RMIT, and Merrin is asked to begin the process at Deakin.

In this presentation they will share their experiences, and encourage your input into exploring the questions they have considered:
• What are inherent requirements aiming to do?
• What does the literature say?
• What is the role for educators, professional bodies, disability support staff, the legal framework?
• Are there alternatives?
• What other questions should we be asking?

While Catherine and Merrin have different views and experiences on a number of aspects, they agree on three things. Inherent requirements should focus on being inclusive and not exclusive, enabling and not disabling, and encouraging creative solutions for students and not protection for the university.

The language for equitable choice: Experiences in describing the task, not the person, in documenting inherent requirements for one university

Ms Marion MacGregor Burgess
James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

The current drive to document inherent requirements (IRs) of tertiary courses is creating a flurry of activity, and not a little disquiet. Processes for identifying, validating and documenting IRs vary between institutions, as do the outcomes produced. This paper looks at one university’s experience of beginning the process of documenting IRs, with specific focus on the decision to re-frame the wording of drafted inherent requirements statements to focus on the requirements of the course tasks, not the’ requirements’ or characteristics of the students engaging with them. This experience has highlighted issues around disability discrimination, organizational communication and decision-making and, potentially, the utility of the documents created through these processes.

Inherent requirements: working towards graduating a student with quadriplegia from the Doctor of Medicine

Ms Sharon Garside, Dr Liz Fitzmaurice, Mr Dinesh Palipana
Griffith Univesity, Gold Coast , Australia,
Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia,
Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia

The development and use of inherent requirement statements across diverse disciplines has been a hot topic for all stakeholders in recent years. The Medical Deans’ Inherent Requirements for Studying Medicine in Australia and New Zealand Consultation Document stimulated enthusiastic discussion at Griffith University about the potential value or latent risks associated with applying these statements. At Griffith University there has been a constructive collaboration between all stakeholders to generate reasonable adjustments that enable individual students to reach their full potential.

This presentation will provide a case study analysing the process that underpinned the negotiation of reasonable adjustments with a student who acquired quadriplegia when in second year of the Doctor of Medicine program.
Individual adjustments were made including access to electronic course materials; assistive technology for exams and private study; and assistive software and hardware in the hospital setting. Additional clinical learning sessions and in-hospital time was used to develop novel methods in performing clinical tasks effectively.

Using the process for negotiating reasonable adjustments as outlined in the Disability Standards for Education (2005), the focus was, as it always should be, on responding to the individual student’s requirements while maintaining the academic integrity of the program. The approach ensured the student’s re-engagement in his program and contributed to his success academically and in the clinical setting.

The scope of the obligation of tertiary institutions to students who are carers of people with disabilities

Dr Elizabeth Dickson
Queensland University of Technology, School Of Law, Brisbane, Australia

Australian tertiary institutions have made significant improvements to their accommodation of students with disabilities since the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth) (DSE) came into force a decade ago. There remains work to be done, however, in respect of the accommodation of students who care for a relative with disability.

Carers Australia’s submission to the 2015 DSE Review (June 2015) suggests that around 300,000 people under the age of 25 provide unpaid care to a relative or friend with disability, compromising their educational opportunity. Accommodation of carers through flexible delivery and flexible assessment could improve educational opportunity.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA) section 7 provides that the DDA ‘applies in relation to a person who has an associate with a disability in the same way as it applies in relation to a person with the disability’. DDA section 4 defines ‘associate’ to include a ‘relative’ with disability. DSE section 9.1 says that ‘an action that contravenes the provisions of section 22 (the prohibition on discrimination in education) of the Act (the DDA) in relation to a person who has an associate with a disability is not an action in accordance with these Standards’. This suggests that there may be a legal obligation on educational institutions to support student carers; that not making reasonable adjustment for student carers may amount to unlawful discrimination.

This paper will explain the relevant provisions of the DDA and the DSE and consider what steps tertiary institutions could and should take to avoid discriminating against student carers.

Transitioning to University and the Challenges to Inclusion - A Parent Perspective

Ms Lorraine Rodrigues
RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Advocating for my son at primary and secondary school, was a daily occurrence and I became quite adept at tasks involving lesson differentiation, exploring adaptations and seeking help from other communities of practice when needing advice and guidance. Those were the years that cemented my thinking on inclusion. The three drivers to inclusive teaching and learning - social justice, legislative requirements and the research evidence on inclusion, were my trump cards to promoting inclusion on all fronts - educational, social and cultural. It has reaped its rewards for us as a family and for the many other students with a disability, who now enter the portals of inclusive primary and secondary schooling. Precedence has been set. Standing on the threshold of transitioning to university life has brought with it new challenges. This presentation is a personal perspective to highlighting those challenges and the success in building new networks, alliances and connections that have come on board to continue to traverse the next leg of the journey on inclusion. The road less travelled will always be daunting, challenging and apprehensive. But if rights, laws and research evidence dictates, that inclusion works for all, then it makes no sense to pursue anything different. Best intentions, best policies and best accountability frameworks must be translated into best practice otherwise they are not worth the paper they are written on. Bring on university life – bring on change!

Is this the right time for you to study?
The collision of external services and student supports

Mr Shaun Corcoran
Bendigo Kangan Institute, Bendigo, Australia

In response to the key theme of Challenge, the learned experience of students with disabilities of the Victorian Vocational Educational and Training sector and the struggle of Study/Life balance is represented by one the journey of one abstracted student experience.

I posit the question…
‘Where does the provision of support services in the Higher Education sector sit within the student journey if we recognise the complexity of impediments, outside of the education environment?’

Exploration of this ‘typical’ student with disabilities experience at entry point into VET is explored through an abstracted case study. We look at the students life experience from preparation (or not, as the case may be) for exit from compulsory schooling, interaction with community based agencies, youth justice, physical and mental health providers, family and community support services with the dislocation this can engender, governments statutory agencies, financial stressors and CALD specific issues.

We then overlay the complexity of the Higher Education ‘machine’, the expectation of adult learning self-management and increasing pressures of independent living onto this individuals fragile social construct and ask; where, in order to support the learning’s, do we draw the line in supporting the student entire?

Support services end at the campus edge – can they go further? Should they?
If we are truly engage and educate the student should we not challenge our own delivery paradigm, change what we have always done and provide choice to the student beyond that which was traditionally delivered?

Enabling students to be more independent at notetaking

Ms Merrin Mccracken
Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

This year at Deakin we have nearly 100 students, working with x casual note takers, to deliver over 500 hours of note taking support a week. This seems too many. A working group, comprising disability staff, an expert in technology and a language and learning practitioner will commence in the second half of the year to interrogate this area. We plan to speak to students about the value of note taking to them, analyse the reasons that it is needed, their interest in being more independent, and develop resources, information and training about other options available. This paper will share our findings to date, and progress on pilots we will be commencing in Trimester 3.

Strengths4Success - Journey Towards Excellence. A program which positions students' academic success and wellbeing as equally important outcomes

Ms Tania Willis, Ms Sue Hancock
Australian National University, Acton, Australia

Strengths4Success – Journey Towards Excellence is a student success program which positions students’ academic success and wellbeing as equally important outcomes.

A pilot initiative was introduced mid-2016 by the Office of Access and Inclusion, The ANU to provide students registered with a disability the opportunity to develop their talents, and a framework for applying them, to achieve their goals including leadership opportunities.

A Presentation Providing an Innovative Perspective on University Student Achievement and Creating Success for Students with a Disability
The Strengths4Success program is based on the idea that every student entering university already has a set of talents they can use to achieve and succeed at university. Each student’s unique set of talents can enable and empower them to do certain things very well at university and beyond. The key to a student’s achievement is through:
• Students identifying their greatest “Top 5” talents
• Students developing strengths based on those talents
• Students applying strengths in academic learning and achievement tasks.

Delivered as a series of workshops, the program provides students with the opportunity to determine their future achievements and quality of life. This program is designed to provide students with an increased sense of direction that comes as they gain a greater understanding of who they are. As a result, they will gain confidence and become more optimistic through the realisation that they have abilities they can use to purse their goals enabling them to Embrace the Future and achieve in all aspects of their life.

Inclusive University Experience for People with Intellectual Disability: How far have we come and what else needs to be done?

Dr Fiona Rillotta, Ms Lorraine Lindsay
Up the Hill Project, Disability and Community Inclusion Unit, School of Health Sciences, Flinders University , Adelaide, Australia

Background: The Up the Hill Project (UTHP) facilitates inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) at university. The UTHP is the longest standing inclusive higher education program in Australia. Students with ID audit topics supported by peer mentors. UTHP promotes self-determination by enabling students to: work towards their expressed desire to attend university; develop and review goals; choose university topics; and choose social and academic activities.

Method: Our research has investigated characteristics of participating students since the program’s inception; expectations, experiences and outcomes for students; and a pilot of a student with ID undertaking a practicum placement. Semi-structured interviews, thematic analysis, retrospective analysis of databases, descriptive analysis, and written narrative were used to collect and analyse data.

Results: Outcomes for university students with ID include: increased self-confidence; social development; inclusion with peers and staff; and knowledge of chosen topic. More than 30 students have participated in UTHP (aged 19-66), and have chosen various topics including history, visual arts, computer science, and disability. Further knowledge and understanding of the capabilities of people with ID, and about inclusive practices is required for the broader university community. Future research needs to explore: how students with ID successfully transition to university; what students do after graduating from UTHP; and the facilitators and barriers for students with ID to undertake formal university qualifications/ degrees.

Conclusion: By removing barriers and providing inclusive and meaningful environments, it is possible for people with ID to develop personally, socially, and academically at university.

Curtin's Universal Design Journey.. so far

Ms Jackie Weinman
Curtin University, Perth, Australia

Curtin re-affirmed its commitment to ‘embed the principles of universal design more fully in our facilities, academic programs and services to ensure accessibility for the widest range of users’ in its Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2012 -2017; and in this plan has undertaken initiatives relating to Universal Design (UD) including ensuring staff are informed about its principles..
Curtin first made this commitment in its DAIP 2007- 2011 when it formed a voluntary Universal Design Reference Group (UDRG) in 2007, initiated by the Disability Services and chaired by the Head of the School of Built Environment, with membership open to any student or staff member. The UDRG seeks to help the Curtin community address UD matters, provide a UD reference point, provide input into university policy and decision making, encourage UD research and raise awareness of UD.

In 2015-2016, Curtin’s Properties, Facilities and Development took on the challenge to become the most accessible university campus in Australia by 2030, and as part of this created a set of Curtin-specific guidelines for project managers, architects, planners, designers and engineers, to inform, guide and support the development of an inclusive and accessible physical environment. The Curtin Universal Design Guidelines for the Built Environment include principles, elements, specific design criteria and tips for making the environment more inclusive and accessible. Curtin developed them with external consultants from architectural, planning and accessibility backgrounds after wide consultation.

Curtin’s UD journey is just beginning. There is more to tell about the story so far, where we are now, and where we are heading.

Universal Design – The Impossible and Now

Ms Melissa Wortel, Ms Cathy Easte
Griffith University, Nathan, Australia

How do we make the university environment inclusive for students with disabilities? Is it possible to create an environment that suits everyone?

At Griffith University, we endeavour to make our learning environments inclusive for all students. This encompasses all students on and off campus; and our Open Universities Australia (OUA) students. Across the university, universal design is being established from the ground up; we have schools and teaching projects in place looking at the big picture instead of isolated solutions.

We have embarked on an on-going journey to research, pilot and implement assistive technology within all areas of the university. We began the process by upgrading our Assistive Technology (AT) Lab’s over our 5 campuses. During which time, progression was made to our common-use and school-based labs; installing a range site-wide assistive software for students to allow students to work along-side their peers.

Inclusion of our students is vital for all aspects of learning and we need to be mindful of this in all stages of procurement; problem solving; project selection; and assistive software and hardware trials. We currently have projects exploring software specific instructions for course work, live captioning in lectures and we are investigating software for Griffith University’s website to further enable its accessibility to all current and future students from anywhere in the world.

Creating an environment by embedding universal design principles enables students, staff and visitors to Griffith University a fuller experience of all aspects of university life and assists in breaking down barriers of exclusion. “When you include the extremes of everybody, that’s to say differently abled people of all sorts, then you produce things that are better for all of us (Wolff, 1990).”

What has been impossible in the past is possible today, though where will we be tomorrow?

Taking Up the Challenge –- Making It Happen Together

Ms Kerri Heavens, Ms Rachel Wielstra
Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia

Access to the external environment at Western Sydney University for everyone including people with disabilities is a university-wide concern. To meet regulatory requirements the university engaged an external provider in 2009 to undertake an Environmental Audit across six campuses to identify areas of non-compliance and to make recommendation on how compliance could be met. The Audit report was intended to be a five year accessibility blue print for the university and in particular Capital Works & Facilities.

Many of the issues identified in the 2009 audit were resolved however by 2014 Western Sydney was engaged in an ambitious program of expansion through the establishment of new campuses and teaching venues to accommodate the increase in student enrolments. Given such rapid growth, the Disability Service recognised that an updated audit was critical as a number of urgent issues of accessibility were being identified by members of the university community. The big question was with limited resources, expertise and no funding how could this be done?

Brain storming provided a number of ideas but the idea of working with a number of other departments within the university and the Occupational Therapy students was the most appealing, achievable and mutually beneficial. Our idea was for Equity & Diversity, CW&F and the School of Health and Sciences to work with Disability Service in hosting senior student’s placements each semester. The goals of the placement were:
• to undertake a comprehensive audit of the external physical environment campus by campus
1. to develop a comprehensive Access Audit which was to become the ‘new blue print’ for the university
2. to provide an opportunity for the students to present their Audit report to senior members of the university community.

Passport 2 Employment Program (P2E)

Mrs Pam Anderson
National Disability Coordination Officer, Region 16 (Western Victoria) 1Skillsplus Ltd, Ballarat, Australia

This Abstract aligns to the following Conference themes:
• Embracing the Future - show casing ‘brilliant’ ideas including new programs (pilots)
• Maximising student success in education and preparing them for future careers
• Creating opportunities for participation, retention and success of people with disability in higher education and training.
• Looking beyond the ‘usual’ and creating opportunities and choices for the future

ABSTRACT: The National Disability Coordination Officer Program Region 16, in partnership with the Glenelg and Southern Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network supported the establishment of the Glenelg Transition Action Network, with stakeholders from education, employment, training and disability providers and local government. The main objective of the group was to improve pathways for young people with supported needs. The network identified the need to conceptualise a training program to assist students requiring extra transition education, preparation and support. From this idea, the ‘Passport 2 Employment 2014’ (P2E) program came to fruition.

OBJECTIVE: The main objective of the program is to provide participants with skills and knowledge that will assist them in their transition from secondary school into further education, training and/or employment and to introduce/familiarise participants into the tertiary/adult learning environment.

RESULTS: The most amazing results were evident when students formed new friendships, communicated with more confidence, became inspired and motivated by the opportunities which were being presented locally and as the program progressed, students gained greater confidence, a sense of pride, achievement and independence. Since its establishment in Portland, the program has been delivered to OVER 80 students in Colac, Geelong, Portland, Warrnambool, Hamilton, Horsham and East Gippsland with numerous key stakeholders from surrounding communities collaborating to ensure its ongoing success. The program was nominated for the Victorian Disability Sector Awards 2015 and was one of five finalists in the category “Excellence in Education and Learning Outcomes.” The Department of Health & Human Services is funding a follow up LEADERSHIP PROJECT titled the “Youth Empowerment Program 2016” which brings all past and current participants of the program together to build leadership skills at an overnight camp designed in preparation of the NDIS Rollout in 2017.

10 Essential tips for understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder in the TAFE /Uni classroom

Ms Susan Lawrence
Disability Liaison Officer – Federation Training TAFE Gippsland

Is it a challenge to have a student in your classroom that has Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Why are the numbers of students with ASD increasing?

What does it mean to be as “clear, concise and concrete as possible”?

This can make all the difference to a student understanding what is required of them in the learning environment and to achieve their chosen course of study.
What is the standard ‘get out of class card’? How can this be avoided? It can be as simple as giving someone more time.

It need not be a challenge if you have an awareness of some of the challenges that are faced by students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. How they feel about disclosing information to the TAFE staff or Faculty. What do we do with that information?

Be prepared to have your own beliefs and understanding challenged and take away a multitude of examples of environmental situations that can reduce the frustration of having a student in your classroom and turn it into the most valuable asset. Learn how to implement “reasonable adjustments” that become a standard practice within your classroom environment.

Supporting success for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Exploring the evolving role of student support and equity services

Ms Emma Steele
Student Equity And Support, The University Of Newcastle, Callaghan , Australia

Increasing numbers of students with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are accessing and engaging in Higher Education. With the roll out of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) across the country, these numbers are likely to increase further. There is a need to explore new and innovative approaches to supporting these students to successfully engage in their studies and life as a University student. This paper will explore new approaches taken at the University of Newcastle to support students with ASD. In 2015-2016, UON adopted a case management approach to support the engagement and success of students who present with ongoing needs that are not met through academic adjustments alone. This paper will allow for discussion and debate about the role of student support and equity services. Do we have a role in supporting skill development of our students to enable success and increased self- responsibility for learning, and how do we do this? How do we maintain service boundaries while at the same time ensuring timely access to support? Through discussion of 3 student case studies, the paper will discuss some of the challenges and successes of trialling this approach.

The NDIA package – How does it unwrap in the tertiary education context?

Ms Michelle Campbell, Mr Doug McGinn
University Of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia,
University of Tasmania, , Australia

Changes, challenges and choice is what faces a person transitioning to life at university.

It has been discussed and debated over the last 25 years the role that disability support staff play in this transitioning. There are many and varied models and services on offer to students with a disability. Changes within the higher education sector mean that we are now delivering learning in different ways and having an expectation that students will take greater responsibility for their own learning.

Challenges not only exist for students participating within higher education but for staff providing service. We are continually striving to enhance student experience and now a new player in the form of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) provides a challenge to both students with a disability and disability staff alike.

Choices for people with a disability are now being broadened through the introduction of NDIA.
This presentation will highlight how the introduction of NDIA has impacted on access to university and services provided by staff at universities within two NDIS trial sites.

Hear about the opportunities that now exist for students as well the impact of having more students with a disability, or students with more complex needs.

Debate and discuss the role of disability support staff advocating for students and establishing positive relationships with planning staff from NDIA.

Take the opportunity to ask questions of those staff who’ve been working with their local NDIA in order to further promote the participation of people with a disability in higher education and make education a stepping stone for their future career.

An investigation of barriers to HDR students with disability completing an HDR qualification at an Australian University

Mr Peter Smith
Federation University, Ballarat, Australia

For a student with disability to receive maximum benefit from the support services offered by universities they must have a big say in, and as much input into their support as their disability allows and needs. To fail to do this has significant potential effects. It reduces the potential benefit of the services which, at its worst limits the growth of the person with disability. The academic community requires independent thinkers who are able to apply research skills to a variety of situations. The support services accessed by the candidate need to encourage independence in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidate.
The student researcher has multiple disabilities and the lack of awareness of the limitations of disability displayed by the university has created barriers to him completing his HDR studies. From his experience and reading, he has identified a number of areas where students can have trouble. The aim of the study is to find the barriers, if any, to students with disability completing a HDR qualification. This researcher is keen to ascertain a number of things:
• What are the barriers affecting the completion of HDR qualifications by people with disability?
1. What support services would HDR students like their university to provide to help remove any barriers to completion of their course.
2. What support services offered by the university did participants access?
3. If there were no barriers, why does the interviewee believe this?

The STAR Project: A transition support project for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety or way finding needs.

Mrs Alison Nuske
University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Transition to higher education can be a challenging experience for all students. For those students with disabilities the transition into the university environment presents additional complexities. In 2015, the University of South Australia’s Disability Services team developed a pilot project; Supporting Transition and Retention (STAR), a transition support program designed to assist commencing students with disabilities to successfully transition into their first year of university studies. Since this pilot project the Disability Services team have continued to implement the STAR program in each of the main study periods.

The STAR project was developed to trial the provision of transition support to commencing first year students with ASD, way finding difficulties or anxiety related needs. The aim of the project was to utilise the knowledge of trained current University of South Australia students with a disability, to assist in the transition of commencing students with disabilities. Transition Assistants attended a half day training session in preparation for participating in the project, and while working in this project each Transition Assistant was employed as a casual staff member within the university.

The transition support provided by the Transition Assistant focused on the following areas:
• Confidentiality and disclosure
• Self-advocacy
• Study tips and routine
• Social transition
• Wellbeing
• Campus spaces
• Online learning

In this presentation, an outline of the pilot project and its implementation will be provided and the successes and challenges that have been experienced during the project will be discussed. An overview of the program since this pilot project was conducted will also be presented.

Transition to University: Getting it right for students on the Autism Spectrum

Ms Petria McGoldrick
University Of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia

With better support for students with autism spectrum disorder in secondary schools, and larger numbers of students completing the Higher School Certificate generally, the number of students on the spectrum enrolling in higher education has increased seemingly exponentially in the past few years. With greater participation comes, for some, an increased awareness of the barriers to participation and success that are to be found in the university environment, particularly with regard to the hidden curriculum.
Research shows that the most effective transition planning occurs well in advance of the transition. At the University of Wollongong, however, experience suggests that while only a handful of students do avail themselves of opportunities for campus tours and so on, students on the spectrum are a cohort more likely to do so. These opportunities need to be more targeted, timely and collaborative.

Adding to the complexity of this transition, most university lecturers do not have formal teacher training, and may therefore be ill-equipped to teach students with additional and complex learning needs. This presentation will seek to offer advice on how we can better increase the understanding of university lecturers and tutors, in order to support students on the spectrum to successful outcomes. Based on case studies from our practice, we will discuss how Disability Liaison officers, teaching staff, parents and the students themselves can be for successfully supported through the process of transitioning to higher education.

Emerging Challenges for Students with Disability participating in Higher Education: a review of six NCSEHE funded research reports

Mr Ian Cunninghame, Dr Diane Costello, Professor Sue Trinidad
National Centre For Student Equity In Higher Education, Curtin University, Bentley, Australia

Though a number of equity groups have been the subject of increased research, program development, and policy action to improve access, retention, and success through higher education, there has been a comparative lack of focus on students with disability. With this in mind, the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) made this a priority area in the Student Equity in Higher Education Research Grants Program rounds in 2014 and 2015. This facilitated six research projects being funded aimed at identifying some of the gaps in knowledge concerning challenges faced by students with disability participating in higher education. As a result, the research commissioned by the NCSEHE has produced significant findings and recommendations, particularly regarding specific challenges faced by those in under-researched disability groups, the difficulties inherent in clearly communicating expectations for capacity to students and staff whilst adhering to national disability policies, and substantial contributions on the challenges faced by students with disability in the expanding field of online higher education. Each project had a specific area of focus, however many reported similar findings which identified critical challenges faced by students with disability across the higher education landscape. Drawing these critical findings together, the NCSEHE has produced a review that emphasises the common findings and recommendations for policy action and further research addressing present challenges faced by students with disability in higher education.

The conference committee and organisers reserve the right to change the conference program without notice.

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