Despite what schools and BOSTES state about disability provisions, students do have rights. Parents need to be aware of the following laws:-
- Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/dda1992264/index.html#s6 and
- Disability Standards in Education 2005 – https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2005L00767
These stories below were Published on the Australian Human Rights website. Simple adjustments for students that parents should not of had to go to Human Rights for. I cannot understand why educators make it so difficult for students with disabilities and for their families. They need to walk a few kilometers in that student and their families shoes to really understand.
Adjustments for exam
A student complained that an education authority was refusing to provide adjustments for final exams to be conducted in eight days time. The complaint was resolved within 4 days of receipt with an agreement to provide the adjustments.
Accommodating ADHD in education
A mother complained that she and her son were being discriminated against by his school because of his attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including information about his disability not being passed on where required and teachers being unprepared to speak to her. The school denied any discrimination. The complaint was settled with an agreement to improve staff training and payment of $6000 compensation.
School assessment adjusted
A father complained that his son, who has a number of disabilities including Asperger’s syndrome and Tourette’s syndrome, was being discriminated against by an assessment system for English oral presentation. The complaint was settled with an agreement to provide a number of modifications to testing procedures for the student to accommodate his disabilities, including taking tests in familiar environments and being allowed to colour code his notes.
Additional time for exams
A secondary college student who has an autistic disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a vision impairment complained that her disabilities had not been adequately accommodated in exam arrangements. The educational authority responded that the student’s application for modified exam arrangements had been incomplete and provided after the due date. The complaint was resolved when the respondent advised that for future exams the student would be provided additional time and a separate exam room.
Extra exam time to accommodate reading disability
A mother complained that her daughter’s vision impairment and reading difficulties were not being adequately accommodated in arrangements for exams. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to provide an additional 2.5 minutes per 30 minutes of exam time (that is, an additional 15 minutes for a 3 hour exam).
Adjustments for learning disorder
A mother complained that her son’s school had not taken appropriate steps to accommodate her son’s auditory processing difficulty. The matter was resolved without admission of liability with an agreement to meet to develop an individual education plan including with the input of a speech pathologist, and to review the plan within 4 months.
Technology and additional time improve exam opportunities
The father of a boy with dyspraxia (a disability affecting speech which can also affect learning to read) complained that his son was not receiving sufficient accommodation to afford him equal opportunity in secondary school exams. The complaint was resolved when the educational authority advised that new technology would allow the boy to have access to digital recordings of exam material and that he would be permitted an additional 10 minutes in every hour of exams to manage the technology.
In another case, the mother of a girl with speech dyspraxia similarly complained she had not been adequately accommodated. She had been offered an oral recording of exams but was seeking additional time instead. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to provide 60 minutes additional working time and use of a desktop computer for exams (with arrangements to ensure that this could not be used or perceived as being used to gain unfair advantages, for example by having spell checking removed).
Adjustments for student with learning disabilities
A mother complained that her son, who has a learning disability and has been assessed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, had not had his disabilities effectively accommodated by his school. The complaint was resolved without admission of liability when the school agreed to develop a plan, in collaboration with a peak education body and the boy’s mother, to identify adjustments for the assessment tasks for each subject; provide professional development support for teachers in the design and implementation of adjustments to assessments; assist in the development of a policy on recording issues raised by parents and the procedure for sharing relevant information with school staff; develop a communication strategy to coordinate effective communication between all stakeholders; provide professional development on the prevention of victimisation and bullying of students with disabilities; and waive two terms fees for the student.
Reminders for child with ADD
A mother complained that her child, who has been assessed as having attention deficit disorder, was excluded from the school choir after forgetting to attend practice. The complaint was resolved with an agreement to introduce a communication book so that the child and her parents would have easy access to reminders about important school events.
Adjustments in exams
A girl who has a learning disability affecting her reading and writing complained that she had not received sufficient reasonable accommodation in exam procedures. The complaint was resolved when the education authority agreed to provide 10 minutes extra time in a number of subjects and a reader for mathematics exams.
In another complaint a boy who has been assessed as having dysgraphia complained of receiving insufficient accommodation. The complaint was resolved when the education authority agreed to provide 10 minutes extra time and to permit the use of a word processor in exams.
Individual support needs re-assessed
A mother and father complained that their daughter, who has attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, was receiving inadequate support at school or enable her to learn effectively or remain safely at school during the day. The complaint was resolved when the education authority agreed to fund an assessment of the girl’s needs and options for effective education for her.
Access to course materials
A student who has a neurological condition affecting how he receives and processes spoken information complained that arrangements to provide him with lecture notes in written form had broken down and that he had failed subjects as a result. The complaint was settled when the university agreed to ensure that all lecturers provided notes when required in accordance with university policy, and to provide an exemption from HECS liability for the period of study affected by failure of arrangements for accessible materials.
In another case, a mother complained on behalf of her son who has a reading disability that materials were not being provided in CD form in a timely manner. The matter was settled with an agreement to improve access policies including ensuring that students were aware of school procedures for reasonable adjustments to be considered and for complaints, conducting additional disability awareness training for staff and refunding $15000 of fees.
Accommodation of Asperger’s syndrome in education
The mother of a boy with Asperger’s syndrome complained that his disability had not been accommodated by his high school. He had been suspended for disruptive behaviour and hitting other students. The complaint was settled with an agreement that the boy’s education at the school could continue with increased support including a mentoring program and a negotiated individual education plan.
Accommodating autistic disorders in education
A father complained that his nine year old son who has autism spectrum disorder had not had his needs accommodated by his school. The school considered that it had in fact provided all required accommodation. The matter was settled with an apology for problems in communication between school and family and an agreement to provide ongoing support when required.
Accommodation of vision impairment in school tests
A mother of a boy who has a vision impairment (scotopic sensitivity syndrome) complained that his disability was not being accommodated in sitting a statewide test for year 5 students. The complaint was settled when the education authority agreed (within one month of the complaint being received by HREOC) to the test being provided to the boy on non-glossy blue paper in 24 point type as requested.
Accommodation for exams
A woman complained that her son had been discriminated against on the basis of dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder when her request for a reading/ writing assistant for an exam was refused. The complaint was settled when the education authority agreed to permit an assistant for the exam.