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Frequently asked questions

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions by staff.

Page Index

How is disability defined?

The definition of disability is very broad and includes:

  • Medical conditions
  • Mental health problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Temporary illnesses or injuries
  • Cognitive disabilities. 

Please refer to the Legal definition of disability section.

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What do I do if a student discloses a disability to me?

When a student discloses a disability to you:

  • Treat the information confidentially and sensitively
  • Obtain students' consent before discussing their situation with anyone else.

The University has a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for students with a disability or medical condition that impacts on their studies. In most cases students are required to provide supporting medical documentation.

If the request seems reasonable and you can accommodate it, there is no need for them to contact Disability Services. If the request is complex or you believe requires further assessment, please advise the student to contact us. Disability Advisors are also available to discuss any student related concerns with you.

If the information disclosed poses a risk to the safety of the student or to others, please discuss this with the Head of School/Area, Disability Services  and/or the University's legal office.

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How do I refer a student to Disability Services?

Contact with Disability Services is voluntary, hence direct referrals from staff are not appropriate. If a student has disclosed a disability to you and you believe they require our assistance, it would be best to advise the student of the availability of the service and encourage them to make contact.

If you are concerned about a student with a disability, you are welcome to contact Disability Services for a confidential discussion. Please note that we are unable to disclose information about a student without their consent.

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What is a Curtin Access Plan and what should I do with it?

A Curtin Access Plan (CAP) is a document generated by Disability Services that outlines the type and level of support required by a student with a disability at Curtin. It may also contain specific information about the student's disability with their consent.

When presented with a CAP, it is up to the academic staff member to liaise with the student and put in place the recommended support or reasonable adjustments. The CAP should only be shared with other academic staff for the purpose of providing reasonable adjustments to the student. If there are any concerns or questions, please contact the relevant Disability Advisor.

Curtin Access Plans should be stored securely and confidentially within the school or faculty and it is advsable to obtain the student's consent prior to sharing it with other staff.

Visit the Information for staff about Curtin Access Plans page for more information.

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How do I assist a student with disability if they have not disclosed it to me?

If a student chooses not to disclose a disability and/or discuss their needs, staff are not obliged to provide reasonable adjustments for them in most cases.

As many students choose not to disclose a disability or medical condition at University, using the principles of inclusive teaching and learning and universal design will ensure that a course or program is accessible to a range of students with diverse needs and reduce the need for students to request specific adjustments.

It is recommended that unit outlines invite students with disability-related needs with the Unit Coordinator, are inform students about Disability Services.

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How are alternative examination arrangements decided upon?

Recommendations for alternative examination arrangements are the result of an assessment process, based on an interview with the student and supporting medical documentation, which may include specific recommendations. Extra time allocations and other examination arrangements vary according to the needs individual students. Disability Advisors adopt best practice methods when making their assessment of a student's requirements, and work collaboratively with the student, their health professional and academic staff to achieve an equitable outcome for all concerned.

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Are students obliged to disclose a disability to the University?

No, not unless they are requesting reasonable adjustments to accommodate their disability or medical condition. Students can choose to confidentially disclose a disability on eStudent. This does not appear on their academic record.

Information disclosed to the Disability Services is confidential with some limits to confidentiality, as outlined in the Counselling and Disability Services Confidentiality Statement. For more information about disclosure, visit the Disclosing a disability page.

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What is a reasonable adjustment?

reasonable adjustment is defined in the Disability Discrimination Act as a 'measure or action taken to assist a student with a disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students'.

Reasonable adjustments can include:

  • Alternative examination arrangements
  • Alternative forms of assessment
  • Time extensions
  • Provision of study materials in an alternative format.

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What resources are available to help me make my classes more accessible?

Accessibility goes beyond physical access to teaching venues. It includes designing accessible coursework and assessments, including field trips and fieldwork placements; making information accessible; using inclusive language, and providing reasonable adjustments for students with disability where necessary.  

Inclusive teaching and assessment practices can minimise the need for individual support for students with disability while enhancing the learning of all students. This will make life easier for you by anticipating the increasing diversity while ensuring compliance with disability related legislation. 

The ADCET website is a comprehensive resource for academic staff.

 

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What are my legal obligations to students with disabilities?

The West Australian Disability Services Act (1993), and the federal Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and Disability Standards for Education (2005) outline the University's legal obligations to accommodate students with disability. The key obligations we have to students are:

  • To consult with the student
  • To make reasonable adjustments
  • To eliminate discrimination and harassment.

Visit the Disability legislation page for more information.

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What can I do if I disagree with a recommendation made by Disability Services?

A Disability Advisor's recommendations are based on a thorough assessment of the student's situation, taking into account the health professional documentation provided. Recommendations are made to provide equal opportunity for the student, not to provide them unfair advantages.

Recommendations made may not be applicable in all academic situations, and in some cases alternatives may need to be provided. If you have any concerns about the reasonable adjustments requested, please contact the Disability Advisor to discuss it further.

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Where can I find help if I have an injury or a disability that affects my work?

Staff with injuries or disability

Services for staff with injuries or disability are available through Human Resources.

Injury Managers are WorkCover accredited internal rehabilitation providers for Curtin employees. Services for staff with disability are available through the Staff Disability Advisors.

Information and contact details are available on the Staff with Disabilities or Injuries web page.

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