Students with disability have the right to participate in all school activities, inside and outside the classroom, on the same basis as students without disability. Activities should be planned or adjusted so that students with disability do not face barriers to participating because of their disability. Schools have a responsibility to consult with students or families to identify any barriers to participation and find ways in which the barriers can be removed or overcome.
Under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 This link will open in a new window (the Standards), students with disability have a right to participate in all aspects of their education on the same basis as other students. This includes extra-curricular activities like sport, excursions and any other courses or programs.
Education providers are required to consult students or their parents, guardians or carers before making adjustments so that students with disability can participate on the same basis as other students.
If a course has to include an activity in which the student cannot participate, the student must be offered an activity that is a reasonable substitute when considering the overall aims of the course.
Participation: In practice
Schools support participation in various ways. Some examples include:
- providing a student with regular support for personal hygiene and movement around the school
- showing a student photographs of various class routines as they are about to occur (eg packing, lining up, washing hands) so the student knows what to expect and can participate in these activities with the rest of the class
- providing a computer with screen magnification software (zoom text) to enable a student with a severe degenerative vision impairment to access lesson materials and participate in learning activities.
Schools can comply with the Standards in many ways to ensure that students with disability have the same or similar choices and opportunities as students without disability. Which of the following actions indicate compliance with the Standards for participation?
Change a classroom learning activity so that students of all skill levels can participate.
This action is compliant. Under the Standards for participation, students with disability should be able to participate in learning activities, adjusted if necessary, on the same basis as any other student.
A school provides access to horse riding for everyone by ensuring students with physical disability have adjusted ramps to mount and dismount horses, and additional tuition to develop their riding skills.
This action is compliant. Under the Standards for participation, all educational activities should be designed to support the participation of students with disability.
Consult the parents, guardians or carers of a student with disability to discuss options for the school camp at the organising stage, and to discuss reasonable adjustments that may be needed.
This action is compliant. Under the Standards for participation, adjustments should be made within a reasonable time. This is more likely to happen if consultation begins early.
Ensure that students with disability are included in playground games.
This action is compliant. Under the Standards for participation, students with disability should be supported to participate in all aspects of school life, including outside the classroom.
Story: Jyoti's swimming race
Jyoti is in Year 5 and wears glasses for her low vision. She is a keen swimmer and wants to participate in the school swimming carnival. However, without her glasses, Jyoti is not able to see the lane ropes or the end of the pool.
After discussing possible adjustments with Jyoti and her parents, it is agreed that Jyoti will swim in the lane closest to the side of the pool so that a teacher can walk alongside pulling a brightly coloured float in the water ahead of her. Jyoti is able to stay on course by swimming towards the float and knows that when the teacher removes the float, she is about to reach the end of the pool. These adjustments enable Jyoti to participate in the swimming carnival on the same basis as other students.
Video © Gina Wilson-Burns This link will open in a new window. Available under CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 AU This link will open in a new window licence.
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