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Reasonable adjustments

For students with disability, there is a legislative requirement to provide reasonable adjustments External Link where necessary to ensure that they are able to participate in education and training on the same basis as students without disability.

According to the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (DSE) 'an adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist a student with a disability to participate on the same basis as other students'.

'On the same basis' means that while all students will access age-equivalent content, their focus and the way they access it might vary, depending upon their strengths, interests, goals and needs.

Reasonable adjustments are developed in consultation with the student, their parents or carers, and relevant school staff. Reasonable adjustments apply to all types of learning, including learning at school, and on excursions and camps.

Reasonable adjustments are individual to the student, flexible to take in the changes in needs over time, and agreed, through balancing the interests of all parties.

The process for making a reasonable adjustment under the DSE includes:

The issue of what is a reasonable or unreasonable adjustment is one that schools, regions and the department have to consider carefully, in consultation with parents or carers. This is a genuine discussion to consider all possible solutions, and may involve consultation with others, such as relevant health professionals. Consultation involves the sharing of information and considers the student's needs and the best way to meet them, while balancing the needs of others.

A reasonable adjustment is reasonable if it:

The online resource Disability Standards for Education: A practical guide for individuals, families and communities External Link provides information about the obligations that education providers have to comply with the DSE and the provision of reasonable adjustments.

Schools are encouraged to draw on the supports that are available in the region and central office to clarify issues regarding an adjustment if there is any concern about being able to provide it.

It should be noted that adjustments:

Reasonable adjustments can include a range of strategies. Adjustments reflect the identified individual needs of the student, and assist the student to access and participate in the class program. Teachers can provide instructional and/or access adjustments.

Instructional adjustments are those that change how a student is taught, or may change the content of the program. For example, the student may be provided with an outline of what is to be learnt, with a focus on key concepts. Instructional adjustments Microsoft® Word document693K provide a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of instructional adjustments that may be used by a teacher.

Access adjustments include those that change the way a student accesses the program but does not change the content of the program. For example, a student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may use word-processing instead of handwriting. Access adjustments Microsoft® Word document700K provide a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of access adjustments that may be used by a teacher.

Planning for Personalised Learning and Support: A National Resource Adobe PDF document External Link provides guidance for schools and families in developing individualised planning and processes to support the development, implementation and recording of reasonable adjustments.

The DSE also require education providers to put in place strategies and programs to prevent harassment and victimisation. They must ensure that staff and students know it is not lawful to harass or victimise students with disability, or students who have associates with disability, or their carer, assistant, assistance animal and/or disability aid. An education provider must take reasonable steps to ensure that staff and students know what to do if harassment or victimisation occurs.

Further information

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This page was last reviewed on 21 Jul 2016

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