- About Disability Services
- What is a Disability?
- Who is Eligible?
- Should I Register for Assistance?
- How do I Register for Assistance?
- Privacy and Disclosure
- How do I Comment on, Compliment or Complain about Disability Services?
Disability Services assists current students of the University of Sydney who have a disability to access reasonable adjustments, and provides prospective students with advice regarding the support services offered at the University.
Disability Services is located within Student Support Services.
Disability Services is the principal point of contact and support for students with disabilities and works closely with others in the administration and academic departments of the University. This is to ensure that appropriate arrangements relating to teaching and assessment are made for students with disabilities, whilst maintaining the academic integrity and core requires of the individual courses.
The Disability Services Officers are involved in the provision of services and recommendations of adjustments for students with disabilities. Disability Services encourages independence, responsibility and autonomy in the students that access this service. Once registered, students manage their needs via an online service request system which allows students to manage their needs independently and in their own time. Disability Services Officers are available for one-to-one assistance to students who require a little more guidance, however, it is stressed that Disability Services Officers are not counsellors, and do not undertake a case management approach.
Disability Services Officers are located at the Camperdown/Darlington and Cumberland campuses.
The assistance provided by Disability Services is underpinned by the following key principles:
- That the University will give students with a disability with the opportunity to realise their academic and social potential and to participate fully in University life
- The University of Sydney will uphold the academic standards of each degree and discipline so that all students graduate with the skills and knowledge expected of a graduate of the award conferred;
- Assistance provided by Disability Services seeks to minimise the impact of a disability on a student’s studies, but also to maximise student’s independence and to provide skills that a student will be able to carry beyond tertiary education into employment and community life;
- Disability Services seeks to provide services that support the University of Sydney’s commitment to meeting it’s obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth), the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Commonwealth).
The definition of disability is based on the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 and includes:
- deafness / hearing impairment
- blindness / vision impairment
- physical disability
- specific learning disability
- psychiatric disability
- acquired brain injury
- chronic medical conditions
- temporary disability
Services and support are provided through Disability Services where:
- a student has a disability as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act (1992), AND
- that disability impacts or in the case of prospective students has the potential to impact on the student’s University studies in some way, AND
- the student has supporting documentation i.e. medical documentation describing the disability and any corresponding need for services and/or adjustments.
Eligibility is determined at a registration appointment with a Disability Services Officer.
The decision to register with Disability Services is at the discretion of the student. Students should ask themselves the following questions:
- Is my disability making it harder to meet the requirements of my studies?
- Is my disability contributing to a poor experience at University?
- Do I feel disadvantaged at University by my disability?
- Are there things I could do better if I had a little extra help?
- Am I relying on Special Consideration through my faculty to counter the impact of my disability?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be beneficial to register with Disability Services.
Some students with disabilities may already have good self-management techniques and be able to manage their disability and it’s impacts on their studies without additional assistance. For more information on how you may be able to help yourself, refer to the Managing Your Studies webpage.
For information on how to register with Disability Services, please go to our Registration and Services web page. In short, you will need to begin the registration process online, provide supporting documentation using the Supporting Documentation Form and make an appointment with a Disability Services Officer. During the appointment the Disability Services Officer will review the documentation and assess your eligibility for services.
Eligibility for each service is based on general eligibility for support services AND the reasonable adjustments necessary to assist in reducing the impact of your disability on your studies.
The Disability Services Officer will discusses with you the options for reducing the impact of your disability on study.
When assessing whether an adjustment is ‘reasonable’, the Disability Services Officer will consider in consultation with academic or other staff if appropriate:
- the inherent requirements of the course that demonstrate core learning outcomes
- the extent to which your disability impacts upon your studies
- the effect, if any, of the adjustment on other students or the teaching and learning process; and
- the resources required.
Disclosing a disability or impairment can be a life long process. Every time you enter a new work or study setting or meet new people you may need to make decisions about disclosing personal information. Disclosure in the University may be about ensuring that you can access supports that the University offers students with a disability.
Disclosure could be:
- telling someone you have a disability or impairment
- telling someone about aspects of your disability or impairment
At the University disclosure may mean:
- educating someone about your disability or impairment
- telling someone about the impact of your disability or impairment on study and how you do things successfully
- telling someone about your learning style
- providing documentation about your disability or impairment
- talking to another student about your disability or impairment
Please see below for more information on disclosure:
"Choosing Your Path. Disclosure: It's A Personal Decision"
"To Tell or Not To Tell..."
Disclosing To Disability Services
It is not necessary for you to disclose to the University that you have a medical condition or impairment unless you require education related adjustments (reasonable adjustments) or support.
To access reasonable adjustments or support, you will first need to first register with Disability Services which will require you to provide up-to-date Supporting Documentation that discloses the nature and duration of your disability or impairment and the functional impact it has upon your ability to participate and perform in the academic environment (course content, delivery, and assessment). Such documentation will be used solely for the purpose of providing adjustments.
Once the adjustments you need are determined, Disability Services will write an Impact Statement that provides an overview of the specific impacts of your disability on your studies, your academic related needs and any inclusive teaching practices that your teachers may need to implement. It is important to note that the Impact Statement does not disclose the diagnosis of your disability.
Where a student has chosen to not disclose a disability, Disability Services and teaching staff are not able to provide education related adjustments specific to that disability. It is important to note that the disclosure of your disability on a UAC Questionnaire or during enrolment is not accessed by Disability Services and is not a means of registering with the service.
When determining reasonable adjustments, the University must also base its decisions on your ability to meet the core participation requirements of your course. The University seeks to provide adjustments that offer you the best opportunity to achieve your academic goals and maximise your independence.
We appreciate that the decision to disclose may be difficult and encourage you to contact Disability Services to discuss any of your concerns further.
Acknowledgement of Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
Consent to Disclose
At registration, you will be asked to sign a consent form (Acknowledgement of Use and Disclosure of Personal Information) allowing Disability Services to determine and organise reasonable adjustments in accordance with the legislation.
Disability Services collects personal and health information for the purpose of providing education related adjustments. The collection of this information assists us to identify reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and Disability Standards for Education (2005). You have the right to disclose to Disability Services only the information you feel comfortable to release. You should be aware that limiting the further disclosure of information might limit the amount or type of reasonable adjustments that can be made in your particular circumstances.
Disclosure of Diagnosis
Disability Services does not at any stage disclose your diagnosis to University staff. Rather what may be communicated is your Impact Statement, which describes the impact of your disability on your studies. The Impact Statement often includes the inclusive teaching practices that you require.
Information is disclosed to Faculties/academic staff for the basis of organising reasonable adjustments for students. It is not a blanket disclosure and disclosure occurs only where it will assist you, on a needs basis or as otherwise required by the law. If you do not provide consent for disclosure, Disability Services will not be in a position to recommend adjustments for you.
Disability Services will, where necessary, advise other members of University staff including the student’s Faculty Disability Liaison Officer/s (SDLO) of your registration with Disability Services and the impact of your disability. This will only occur to enable those University staff to assist in implementing any adjustments required to accommodate your disability. The University may also disclose relevant information provided by you to practicum, field and clinical providers in order to be able to identify and provide reasonable adjustments for your disability, whilst you are undertaking training or placement.
The University will not disclose your personal and/or health information to any external organisation or person, unless:
- the disclosure is permitted or required by law, such as an Act of parliament, subpoena, warrant, or other legal instrument;
- your express consent has been obtained for the disclosure; or
- the University reasonably believes that disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to your life, health or safety or of another person, or a serious threat to health or public safety.
The University is conscious of the private nature of the information provided by students about their disabilities, and uses, manages and discloses it only in accordance with the NSW privacy legislation. Disability Services staff are committed to the secure management and maintenance of personal and health information. All personal information held by Disability Services is managed separately from all other student information held by the University.
You have a right to access and correct personal information about yourself, subject to some exceptions allowed by law. Further information about accessing personal information can be obtained from the University’s Privacy Officers.