Resources and frequently asked questions for staff

Find answers to commonly asked questions from staff about supporting students registered with the Disability Resource Centre (DRC), or managing Access Plans

If you have any question not covered below, please don’t hesitate to contact the Disability Resource Centre (DRC).

I am a Unit Chair, and I have received multiple Access Plans for students enrolled in my unit for this study period. What do I need to do with them?

It is important for you to read the Access Plans, save them in a safe place for reference during the study period, and refer to specific recommendations of educational adjustments as required, for example where access to missed classes has been included, or extra time allocated to in-class assessments. The Access Plan can be viewed as a starting point in a conversation between a student and yourself.

Access Plans are developed by Disability Liaison Officers (DLO) in consultation with students. The educational adjustments outlined in each Access Plan are based on recommendations by registered health professionals as well as consultation with the student regarding the impact their disability has on their study.  The DLO will also consider the program and mode of study when recommending adjustments.

Please keep in mind that Access Plans continue to arrive via email throughout the study period as students register or review their plans.

I don’t understand how some of the recommendations in the Access Plan are applicable to my unit. Who can I approach for advice?

The Disability Liaison Officers (DLO) in the DRC are always happy to assist Unit Chairs in interpreting educational adjustments in the context of their specific units. Alternatively, academic staff can contact Inclusive Education for inclusive teaching practice guidelines or advice on how to make their unit more accessible for all students, not just those with a disability or those registered with the DRC.

One of my students has an Access Plan and has assumed that I will automatically grant them an extension on every assignment. Is this true?

An Access Plan does not  automatically grant a student an extension on every assignment. Students are advised that they will still need to apply for an extension when required, and to follow the unit guide for information on how to apply for extensions.

While students are still required to follow Unit/Faculty guidelines, they do not have to submit medical supporting documentation every time they request an extension if the reason for the request is related to their disability, as medical documentation was supplied when the student registered with the DRC

There may be some cases where the student’s request does not fall within Unit/Faculty guidelines and an adjustment can still be considered. Feel free to contact the DRC for further clarification.

How do I determine the appropriate length of extension to provide a student who has an Access Plan?

There is no set length to extensions as an educational adjustment under an Access Plan. Extension times are at the discretion of the Unit Chair. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) are aware of academic integrity and the implications of extensions on marking deadlines; however lengthy extension may still be supported in some cases.  We advise students that in most cases anything up to two weeks can be negotiated with the Unit Chair.  If longer extensions are requested by the student, you can approve these requests with or without consultation with a DLO. Always set a specific submission date in writing with the student, rather than leaving it open-ended or unconfirmed.

It is important to note, though, that granting very long extensions can sometimes be counter-productive and may cause the student additional hardship. Contact the DRC for advice if you are unsure. The student's DLO is usually listed in their access plan and you can reach out to them directly or contact drcentre@deakin.edu.au

I have received a request from a student asking for an adjustment, but the Access Plan doesn’t include enough information for me to be able to decide. Can I ask the student to provide more information about their disability?

You should not request further information about a student’s disability.

The student has a right to privacy and confidentiality, and they determine how much or how little information relating to their reason for registration with the DRC is disclosed in an Access Plan.

Remember that Access Plans are drawn up in consultation with the student and are based on medical supporting documentation completed by healthcare professionals. The Access Plan is more about the impact of the student’s disability on their studies rather than about the diagnosis.

I have received an Access Plan in Week 11 of the study period. It is too late for me to apply any of the adjustments listed in the Plan. What should I do?

Students can initiate contact with the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) at any time throughout the year, including week 11 of the trimester. Access Plans are still distributed late in the study period in case the student still requires extensions on assignments that may not be due until after the end of the teaching period.

I have a feeling that some students who are registered with the DRC don’t really need to be registered. Can I ask you about a student I am concerned about?

You can certainly reach out to the relevant DLO to express any concerns you may have.  Students register with the DRC because they need educational adjustments in place to support them in their studies. As we move closer to fully inclusive education practices across all areas of the University, the need for (some) adjustments may diminish or even disappear altogether. In the meantime, we continue to register students with a variety of long-term or short-term conditions based on the medical supporting documentation they need to provide. We set review dates on Access Plans so we can monitor whether the student requires ongoing support or not.

Some Access Plans include details of the student’s disability, some do not. Why is this?

Some students are happy for the nature of their disability to be disclosed, while other students are not. We respect the student’s right to privacy and confidentiality. We do provide advice to students on the issue of disclosure if they ask for our input.

I would like students with an Access Plan to contact me at the start of the trimester. Why do they generally only contact me when they need an extension?

We encourage students to reach out to their Unit Chairs at the start of the trimester to introduce themselves and to establish an open communication channel, but some students prefer to only make contact when they need something.  Also, students with fluctuating conditions will generally only reach out to their Unit Chair when they need support. In some cases, students can find it very difficult to ask for help when they need it most, and in these cases, the student will hopefully reach out to their DLO, who in turn will contact the Unit Chair on behalf of the student or help the student with the wording of a request.

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