By Christine Cardona:
Are you a student with a disability or medical condition?
1 in 5 Australians have one or more disability and more than 80% of disabilities are invisible and some people take for granted that they actually have a disability.
Universities are legally required under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students with a disability and give them an equal opportunity to access university life and assist them in reaching their full potential.
The Western Sydney University Disability Service is a team of support staff that assist current and prospective students with a disability or chronic health condition to reach their full academic potential whilst studying at Western Sydney University. Students with a temporary injury may also be eligible for assistance.
Western Sydney University has a range of services to assist students with a disability or medical condition:
Academic Integration Plans
An Academic Integration Plan (AIP) is a legal agreement between Western Sydney University and yourself and is drawn up by the Disability Service. It sets out the ‘reasonable adjustments’ you need while you complete your academic work and manage your symptoms at the same time, including but not limited to: classes, assessments and exams. It is also implemented by various departments across the university including your School, the Library, the Assessment and Graduation Unit and Campus Safety and Security.
You could also be eligible for a Concession Opal card through the University.
Access rooms provide students with adaptive equipment and specialist assistive technology. They are designed to enable students to work independently in a shared space using the designated work stations. Access to these rooms are accessible across all campuses via swipe card only:
Bankstown…………………….Building 9, Room 10 and 11 (Library)
Campbelltown……………….Building 1 (Library)
Hawkesbury…………………..Building G6 (Library)
Parramatta…………………….Building EN (Library)
Penrith (Kingswood)……. Building T.G.22
Access News Monthly eNewsletter
Access News is an electronic newsletter sent to all students registered with the university’s Disability Service. It is the main platform used to communicate key messages to students with a disability and includes updates about the Disability Service, important dates, events, building works across campus, external news articles, work experience opportunities, updates from external disability networks and much more.
Education to Employment
Education to Employment is Western Sydney University’s website for graduates with a disability with a downloadable toolkit and resources to help them make the best transition from education to employment, including but not limited to: a 10 step plan negotiating workplace adjustments, what the inherent requirements in graduate employment are and how the disability disclosure in graduate employment operates.
Tip: Don’t forget to also take advantage of Western Sydney University Careers which contains further information about searching for a job, applying for a job and identifying your strengths.
The disability advisor will take you through the process of registering with the Disability Service, signing agreements, statutory declarations and consent forms while developing an Academic Integration Plan(AIP) for you. They will also discuss the supporting medical/educational documentation you submitted as well as your current symptoms and confirm if any follow up is needed.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask your disability adviser any questions about the service, the types of assistance you’re entitled to and how to access them.
Contact the disability service for more information
Phone: (02) 9852 5199
Christine Cardona is a student registered with Western Sydney University’s Disability Service and holds the Disability portfolio in the Parramatta Student Campus Council. She is also the Queer Officer and Women’s Officer at Campbelltown campus.