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Diversity and Equality

Ten Key Points in implementing SENDA

Did you know that in Australia 90% or more of the court cases under their DDA have been concerned with mainstream teaching and learning activities? This means that individual academics may be the people who end up as witnesses in court. The following are the ten major points about the DDA, which all academic staff need to follow.

Anticipatory duties

  1. Plan Open Days, Preview Days and other admissions related events in accessible locations and with opportunities for disabled students to disclose (in privacy) their the needs and discuss their support.
  2. If a student discloses a disability, specific learning difficulty or medical condition to you, ensure that you know what you need to do, especially about informing the rest of the university and limits of confidentiality. In particular, if the student permits, the University Disability Service should be notified as a matter of urgency.
  3. Prepare all teaching materials in electronic formats (in order that alternative formats can be produced from the electronic copy) wherever possible and practicable.
  4. Plan curricula with the needs of various disabled students in mind, including consideration of possible alternative forms of presentation and assessment for disabled students when needed.
  5. Plan assessment regimes with the needs of disabled students in mind including onsideration of alternative assessment arrangements to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.
  6. Pre-course information (e.g. timetables and reading lists) should be in accessible (electronic) formats and available as much in advance as possible.
  7. Ensure you have a reasonable knowledge of the other services to whom you could refer a student who has some additional needs.
  8. Be aware of staff development opportunities and give priority to these in order to ensure that teaching practice meets individual students? learning requirements.

Reasonable adjustments

This requires flexibility and attention to individual needs (seek advice from the Disability Service on those needs):

  • Be prepared to use the full range of assistive technology and other reasonable adjustments when appropriate.
  • Plan and conduct laboratory / studio work, field trips and work placements with the needs of disabled students in mind (advice should be sought from the Disability Service for particular individual students) e.g. risk assessments, additional support, reasonable adjustments.

And Finally

Ensure you know where to get more information and advice about the DDA and how to avoid accidental discrimination in a specific instance. If you are not sure where to start, try the Disability Service!

With acknowledgement to the Southern Higher Education Consortium September 2002