Access Plans

An Access Plan is a document designed to assist Faculty staff to support a student with a health condition or disability and clarify arrangements that are needed to minimise educational disadvantage.

Deakin University takes an inclusive approach to the provision of teaching and support services. This involves improving mainstream practices to meet the learning needs of most students, including many who have a disability or health condition.

However, some students require individual adjustments to teaching and assessment arrangements and/or additional services to minimise any educational disadvantage. In making any adjustments, it is important that academic standards are maintained, that the needs of staff are considered and that equity for other students is assured.

Frequently asked questions about Access Plans

Do all students who have a disability or health condition have an Access Plan?

No. There are a number of reasons why a student may not have a Plan.

  • Many students are able to study without additional arrangements.
  • Some students liaise directly with their Faculty to make arrangements that work well for them, and don't need input from the Disability Resource Centre (DRC).
  • Some students are registered with the DRC, and have some arrangements in place (for example, extended library loans), but they don't have an Access Plan because they don't need any specific arrangements to be made with the Faculty.
  • Some students may have made a decision not to disclose a disability or health condition to the University.
  • Some students may not know about the services available, and may benefit from registering with the DRC and having a Plan put into place. Please direct these students to the DRC on their campus or the disability support website.

How is an Access Plan developed?

  1. Students are encouraged to identify any disability-related requirements as early as possible by discussing their situation with Faculty staff and registering with the DRC.
  2. A Disability Liaison Officer assesses the impact of the student's disability or health condition on university study, taking account of reports from the student's health practitioner.
  3. Recommendations for inclusive practices, study adjustments and services are identified, based on:
    • the implications of the student's disability or health condition in relation to the inherent requirements of the course
    • what is practically possible
    • the student's skills and preferences in using assistive technology and alternative strategies
    • University policies and obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth).
  4. Where adjustments may need to be made to the academic program, recommendations are discussed with the student, and with the Faculty and other service providers where necessary. The DRC develops an Access Plan, which is agreed to by the student.
  5. The Access Plan is considered for approval by the Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) from the student's Faculty.
  6. When approved, the Access Plan is distributed to unit chairs, who then forward this information to teaching and support staff as appropriate. It is also given to the student, who is encouraged to refer to it in discussions with teaching staff.
  7. Services and accommodations are reviewed in consultation with the student and the Access Plan is revised if required.

Why don't all Access Plans indicate the student's health condition or disability?

Unless the student has given their permission, the name of their health condition or disability will not be indicated on the Access Plan. The Plan will detail the symptoms or implications of the health condition or disability.

All students registered with the DRC have provided information about their disability or health condition to the DRC. In doing this, they have met their obligations to notify the University of a health condition or disability that requires arrangements to be put in place. The DRC holds up-to-date certificates from relevant health professionals for the student on file.

When putting suitable arrangements in place, the critical information is the implications of a student's health condition or disability on their study and participation at university. Knowing the condition may assist staff to understand these implications, but it can also be misleading, as individuals may have very different responses to particular conditions.

DRC staff do discuss with students the benefits of sharing information about their situation with academic staff. Some students are confident and happy to disclose information about their disability to everyone that they will be working with. Others are more reluctant to disclose. This is particularly so for those with more hidden disabilities or with disabilities that they are concerned may have a stigma attached, such as mental health issues. As staff of the University we can assist to encourage an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of a diverse population.

What do I need to do when I receive an Access Plan?

Teaching staff need to consider and implement the recommendations in the section of the Access Plan called 'Adjustments to the Academic Program'.

These specific recommendations and suggestions have been developed to assist the student to access their study. Some are just good inclusive teaching practices. They will often be things that teaching staff do all the time, but will be particularly relevant to this student. Others are very specific to an individual student's situation.

If you would like more information on the recommendations, you should discuss this directly with the student for clarification, or contact the relevant staff member at the DRC. The sections on Examination Adjustments and Other Services are there to give a more complete picture of the arrangements that are in place for the student.

How often will Access Plans be reviewed?

DRC staff will set a review date with each student.

Some students have a permanent disability and their arrangements may remain the same for the duration of their course. Others may need to be reviewed annually, and some students may have a temporary disability with arrangements in place for one trimester.

If a student or staff member in the Faculty are finding that the recommendations in a Plan are not working they may request a review by the DRC.

Do Access Plans need to be sent to unit chairs each trimester?

For most students Access Plans will continue at least for the academic year, and so will need to be forwarded to the relevant unit chairs each trimester.

If a Plan is updated, the DRC will notify the Faculty by sending through a new Plan. We will also notify the Faculty if a student no longer requires a Plan.

How can I provide feedback or find out more about Access Plans?

If you have questions relating to an individual Access Plan, please contact the relevant DRC team member as identified on the plan. If you have questions or comments about Access Plans in general, you can contact the DRC.

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