Proposed changes within the Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) in England and Wales may potentially change the emphasis and design of support for students with a disclosed disability (SDD) within higher education institutions (HEIs) and require colleagues in a teaching role to reconceptualise their teaching. As a result, institutions require data around the students’ perceptions of the current teaching and learning support, both those provided by the individual lecturer and those which are part of wider university support systems for students with disabilties.
A review of the literature identified three main areas for investigation which correlated to the intentions of the study. These were:
The HE system perpetuates a medical model of disability through its systems. Historically, the only way in which students can access support has been by buying into this perspective which is perpetuated by the DSA (Griffin and Pollak, 2009, Vickerman and Blundell, 2010). It suits the ‘disabilism’ (Madriaga, 2007) of institutions to deal with issues by fulfilling legal obligations to make reasonable adjustments and avoiding litigation – a ‘risk management’ approach, thereby negating the need for radical change. This is perpetuated in a system which describes ‘needs’ as opposed to ‘rights’ (Claiborne et al, 2011, Matthews, 2009), and the ‘pervasiveness of normalcy’ can be seen within the positioning of disabled students in the ‘widening participation’ debate (Madriaga et al, 2011). The growth of the concept of ‘neurodiversity’ may put more pressure on institutions to make reasonable adjustments (Griffin and Pollak, 2009).
Experiences of support for SDDs is varied (Denhart, 2008, Griffin and Pollak, 2009). Predominantly very positive experiences of support service individual assistance. More mixed experiences of support from lecturers and tutors – some very negative perceptions, e.g. lecturers not being aware of the student’s disability and the adjustments required (Vickerman and Blundell, 2009, Madriaga et al, 2011). Good practice was down to individual attitudes rather than institutional policies or provision (Vickerman and Blundell, 2010, Claiborne et al, 2011).
Many assumptions are made that providing assistive technologies is enough and little support is provided in making sure students are able to use these effectively (Hanafin et al, 2007, Griffin and Pollak, 2009, Seale et al, 2015). In common with the rest of the population, not all disabled students feel comfortable with using all available technologies (Seale et al, 2015). However, many students report the usefulness of assistive technologies (Griffin and Pollak, 2009).
Curriculum planning/assessment processes:
Many of the issues in learning and assessment highlighted as barriers by disabled students are also shared by non-disabled students (Madriaga et al, 2011) – difficulties with reading and writing to the expected level, interpreting academic feedback, struggling to complete coursework, giving presentations. Some suggest it may be more helpful to conceptualise this as a quality issue rather than an equality and diversity issue (Hanafin et al, 2007).
This research project, internally supported through widening participation funds, was completed by the School of Education’s Special Educational Needs and Inclusion subject team with the support of a research assistant. The research aims were to:
- Understand the emotional, social and academic experiences for those students in the faculty with a disclosed disability;
- Identify enabling and mitigating factors for those students;
- Identify areas of ‘best practice’ in terms of the enabling factors;
- Identify areas of general teaching practice, from the perspectives of students, which could inform the establishment of ‘Inclusive Learning Environments’ across the university as a result of potential changes to the DSA.
Claiborne, L., Cornforth, S., Gibson, A. & Smith, A. (2011) Supporting students with impairments in higher education: social inclusion or cold comfort?, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 15:5, 513-527 Denhart, H. (2008) Deconstructing barriers: Perceptions of students labelled with learning disabilities in higher education, Journal of Learning Disabilities , 41:6, 483-497 Gibson, S. (2012) Narrative accounts of university education: sociocultural perspectives of students with disabilities, Disability & Society, 27:3, 353-369 Griffin, E. and Pollak, D. (2009) Student experiences of neurodiversity in higher education: Insights from the BRAINHE Project, Dyslexia, 15, 23-41 Hanafin, J.,Shevlin, M., Kenny, M. & Mc Neela, E. (2007) Including young people with disabilities: Assessment challenges in higher education Madriaga, M. (2007) Enduring disablism: students with dyslexia and their pathways into UK higher education and beyond, Disability & Society, 22:4, 399-412 Madriaga, M. (2010) ‘I avoid pubs and the student union like the plague’: Students with Asperger Syndrome and their negotiation of university spaces, Children's Geographies, 8:1, 39-50 Madriaga, M., Hanson, K., Kay, H. & Walker, A. (2011) Marking-out normalcy and disability in higher education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 32:6, 901-920 Matthews, N. (2009) Teaching the ‘invisible’ disabled students in the classroom: disclosure, inclusion and the social model of disability, Teaching in Higher Education, 14:3, 229-239 Seale, J., Georgeson, J., Mamas, C., Swain, J. (2015) Not the right kind of ‘digital capital’? An examination of the complex relationship between disabled students, their technologies and higher education institutions, Computers & Education 82, 118-128 Vickerman, P. & Blundell, M. (2010) Hearing the voices of disabled students in higher education, Disability & Society, 25:1, 21-32
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.