EQUITABLE LEARNING SERVICES (ELS) provides a wide range of assistive services to help you with your studies at UNSW. We understand some of the challenges that come with physical/mental health conditions, being neurodivergent or being a carer for someone who is living with these conditions. We understand the need for better and more flexible learning methodologies and are here to assist you with designing tailored learning plans.
Read the information below to better understand some of our service offerings.
EQUITABLE LEARNING PLANS
Equitable Learning Plans are customized educational strategies that are designed to meet the unique needs of students who have disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. These plans consider the individual strengths, challenges, and learning styles of each student, and they aim to provide the support and accommodations that are necessary to help them succeed in their academic pursuits.
The goal of an Equitable Learning Plan might include ensuring that the student has access to all educational materials, activities, and opportunities; providing accommodations that allow the student to participate in the classroom and complete assignments; and offering support to help the student develop the skills and strategies needed to overcome any barriers to learning.
After registering with Equitable Learning Services (ELS) and meeting with an Equitable Learning Facilitator (ELF), you may receive an Equitable Learning Plan (ELP) which would include tailored educational adjustments. Adjustments are selected based on the medical documentation you provide and a discussion about the impact of your condition(s) or caring responsibilities have on your studies. ELPs are to be renewed at the start of each new study period.
Students who are neurodivergent, have disabilities, or individuals caring for them, may face certain learning challenges in educational settings. Adjustments are meant to reduce or eliminate barriers that could be reasonably altered. Some examples include modifying class participation requirements, taking exams with a smaller group of students to minimise distraction, or getting access to assistive technology. If you’re required to complete a placement for Work Integrated Learning (WIL), ELS can also recommend adjustments, like modifying location.
Keep in mind, we can’t always predict how a disability may impact performance within a course, so it may be necessary to amend adjustments during the study period. Instructors are not legally required to unreasonably alter their courses, and some adjustments may not be acceptable in the context of course requirements. In these situations, students and faculty should contact ELS to facilitate the identification of mutually acceptable accommodations.
Assistive technology refers to a range of devices, software, and tools that can help individuals with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions overcome barriers to learning and access information. It assists students in areas such as communication, reading and writing, organization, and attention. It helps in levelling the playing field and provide access to information and educational materials that may otherwise be difficult or impossible to access.
There is a range of specialised computer software and equipment that can assist you to access course and study information. You may already be familiar with the various computer software packages that adapt text into a readable format for a number of vision and learning disabilities. Example: SENSUS ACCESS
Some of these are available in the Assistive Technology Centres located in the Main Library and the Law Library. Your Equitable Learning Facilitator will discuss with you the best way to use the technology and facilities that are available to all UNSW students or whether you require specialised access and support. Eligibility for assistive technology support is assessed by the documentation provided by your doctor or Health Professional and in consultation with your Equitable Learning Facilitator (ELF).
What is Work Integrated Learning (WIL)?
Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is a form of experiential education that integrates a student's academic studies with practical work experience. When it comes to students with disabilities or neurodiversity, WIL provides an opportunity for these students to gain hands-on experience in their field of study, develop real-world skills, and build professional networks. It also helps employers become more inclusive and better equipped to support employees with diverse abilities.
WIL programs may include accommodations to support their needs, such as providing accessible technology, flexible scheduling, or modifications to the work environment. Neurodivergent students may also benefit from a supportive work environment that recognizes and accommodates their unique strengths and challenges. By offering opportunities to gain practical experience and build professional networks, WIL can increase competitiveness in the job market and improve overall employability.
Your needs may differ in work settings than traditional classroom environments. If you are required to participate in Work Integrating Learning (WIL) programs, ELS can include suitable adjustments on your Equitable Learning Plan in collaboration with the WIL team.