All students start their journey at CQUni with a unique set of circumstances, often juggling work, family, and other responsibilities. It can be a challenge. If you are living with a disability, medical or mental health condition, you may experience an additional layer of complexity.
So, what is the best way to manage a health condition and meet your study goals?
Keep reading to find out how the Student Accessibility and Equity Service can support you throughout your time at CQUni.
The first thing to know is that you are not alone. A significant number of people experience some form of disability, illness, or injury at some stage in life. As an inclusive university, CQUni is committed to ensuring that all students have access to the services and support they need to thrive.
Why should I tell the university I have a disability?
For some people, it is not a straightforward decision to tell the university about their disability or medical condition. Some prefer not to say anything unless they encounter issues they are unable to sort out themselves. Others who have been living with a condition for a long time might not feel there is anything the university can do to support their studies. Some may be worried that if they share personal information about a particular condition, they might not be able to study their chosen course or get a job in their field. There may also be people who are still coming to terms with a diagnosis and are not sure how it is going to impact them while they are studying.
While everyone has the right to make the best decision for their circumstances, if you have never studied at university before or if it has been a long time since you have studied at school or TAFE, it’s difficult to predict how the demands of study, group work, multiple assignment deadlines, inherent requirements, residential schools and placements might impact your capacity to study and what practical support you may need at some point.
That is why any student who has a disability, medical or mental health condition is encouraged to get in touch as early as possible for a confidential discussion about their circumstances. Being proactive and finding out about support does not mean you are expecting things to go wrong, but it does mean you can prepare to stay on track if any curveballs crop up.
What help is available?
The Student Accessibility and Equity team works closely with students to participate in all aspects of study and training on the same basis as any other student. This means staff work collaboratively with individual students to understand their needs and the impacts of their conditions. Accessibility Consultants have expert knowledge on the types of reasonable adjustments that are possible with study and can advise you on what to expect. They can also act as an advocate which can be helpful if you become unwell.
The types of reasonable adjustments that can be put in place will depend on your condition, its impacts, recommendations from your treating health professional and course requirements. Some students just require flexibility with assignment deadlines just in case they have a flare-up and need extra time to complete an assessment. Other students require all video and audio materials to be transcribed or captioned, or they need specific software and equipment. Students can sometimes require alternative arrangements with assessments or to participate in residential schools. Whatever your circumstances, reasonable adjustments are tailored to your specific needs.
How do I connect to the service?
To receive more information about registering for support with Student Accessibility and Equity, complete the disability questions when you enrol online or update your Health details in MyCQU in the You section. All universities must ask prospective students if they have a disability, medical or mental health condition and ask if they require information about support services available. This ensures universities plan their services and courses appropriately. When you tick these boxes, an automated email will be sent providing an overview of the service and a link to the registration form to get completed by your treating health professional. This information is only used by an Accessibility Consultant and is not distributed outside the service unless you want that to happen.
If you are a current student who has not registered yet, you can still do so by contacting Student Accessibility and Equity directly by email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 07 4930 9456 or by downloading a copy of the Registration form directly form the Accessibility webpage.
What can I expect?
At every stage of the registration process, you can expect to be fully informed and involved in discussions and decisions about reasonable educational adjustments. This is your journey.
You will receive an Accessibility Plan listing the reasonable adjustments that will be put in place and the key responsibility areas. The Student Accessibility and Equity team will always seek your permission to distribute your plan to relevant staff.
You can expect a regular check-in from the Student Accessibility and Equity team throughout your studies. You are encouraged to stay in touch with the team, especially if your circumstances change, you want to talk through your options or make updates to your Accessibility Plan.
Connecting with support early is a great way to prepare for success at CQUni.
International Day of People with Disability
International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is held on 3 December each year. This year’s theme is ‘See the ability in disability’.
IDPwD is a United Nations observed day celebrated internationally. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.
Information on how you can get involved in the day as an individual or organisation and how to break down barriers (both structural and attitudinal) for people with disability can be found online.
If you want to get involved with this day at CQUni, reach out to our Student Accessibility and Equity team.