Survey outcomes Print E-mail
Information collected in the TIU survey (April-July 2009)

Those who answered the survey: 55 answers, 54 universities and institutes of Higher Education, from 47 towns in 20 countries. 

The people who answered the questionnaire were mostly disability adviser/officer/coordinator (78.2%).  Only 3.6% were senior administrators, while 9.1% were academics staff and 9.1% were disabled students. 

Some university disability websites in various languages. 

Legislation data country by country. 

Disclosure:  The 55 respondants gave a wide range of information.  By far the greatest proportion is 'visiting a “student support” or “disability” office', (85%). Registration is resported as the most common way for disabled students to disclose (70% of respondants).  Over 70% said they never use online surveys for disclosure.  Pre-registration was mentioned mainly by British institutions, where the university entrance system allows this.

Disability support: Of 40 universities that answered this question, 45% say the 'Student support team' is responsible, while 70% of the universities have a disability support team, with specific disability advisors/ officers/ coordinators (Disability teams are often part of the more general 'Student support teams').  Variations come from different national regulations and university organisation: 35% use student counsellors, 12% have psychologists to work with students and make arrangements for different needs/ requirements.  Note: in one university, all the staff are responsible for the needs of disabled students.  Of the 43 universities that have a disability policy, 38 described the policy implementation 

Main types of support:   95% indicate 'suitable exam conditions', closely followed by study skills (over 80%).  While mobility on campus is significant (nearly 70%), over half the respondants indicate students' concern for better social skills.  Therefore all 4 areas are significant areas where students with disabilities ask for support.  Specific support mentioned in survey answers: adaptive materials (e.g Braille or digital texts, T-loop, computer aided real time transcription, software for dyslexics etc.), special arrangements for courses (scribes/ note takers), mentoring, counseling, advising, travel assistance (on campus, and mobility from home to university), suitable accommodation , Information on adjustment possibilities, financial support, sign language interpreters,  

Informing students: according to survey answers,

  • Over 90% of universities produce brochures
  • Nearly 90% have a webpage
  • Only 12% have an email group to inform students that disclosed a disability
  • 80% organise training and 60% have campaigns to attract attention to the disability services.
Among the materials used are:
  • Power point presentations
  • Training materials with information such as types of disabilities students may have, some of their requirements, the role of the disability service, how exam arrangements are made, ...
  • handouts and information sheets
  • training materials on job hunting skills for students with disability
  • Two university study courses (http://www.bfwd.at for barrier-free-webdesign and http://www.assistec.at for assistive technologies) and a course book (Austrian Accessibility Academy - see http://www.jku.at/iis ) and course materials for student workers on how to make up accessible and most usable study materials for different target groups. Courseware (script & eLearning) for students (computer science and related) on accessible ICT and AT and Design for All for the institute´s teaching activities
Volunteers are used in very different ways:
  • Help in study: learning assistants
  • Accompanying disabled students between classes, partners in dormitories.
  • Providing knowledge and feedback
  • Shared responsibility with disability NGOs
  • Running specific projects: preparation for and transition to university
  • Digital recording of texts
  • Awareness campaigns

Funding: many of those who answered had a budget from the university or the state.  Other sources of funding that have been used are:  Erasmus additional funding for students with disabilities, subsidy from an external organization, occasional collaboration with companies, project money from ministry for accessibility of buildings.  

Contact with students: Webpages are most used.  Many respondents provide brochures, and many have an e-group to mail disabled students.  Other methods are: a digital magazine, other students, special arrangements for admission, policy against discrimination, Equality Plan.

Training: mainly given on request, for disabled students and for volunteers. Training is given more to non-academic staff than to academic staff.  Most universities prepare materials on disability. 

Some projects:
  • Services for blind and visually impaired students.
  • Sports for students and staff members with disabilitites
  • A buddy project
  • Autism project
  • Careers options for disabled graduates
  • Student Contact and Information Centre for students with a disability
  • Awareness days with the Student Union
  • Transition to universit
  • Involving local disabled people (Gandhigram Rural University , India)

Student cases : examples of what can work.  

Good Practices for supporting disabled students: This section groups answers for Practices, Priorities and Needs.  The points were given as answers either to 'current good practice', or 'planned developments'. 

  • University-level organisation:
    • DIsability Policies that are implemented
    • Advisory Committee reporting directly to the university Chancellor / President.
    • Disability provision embedded into the organisation, not added on after plans are finalised.  
    • Cooperation between university services and between campuses
    • Common practice for special arrangements across campuses and faculties 
    • Admission process accessible to all, and collecting information about individual needs of new students
  • Finance:
    • A budget for Disability Support 
    • Financial support for disabled students
  • Physical access to buildings (more buildings, more floors withing buildings/ the new library/ the disability office).  "The Director of Disability Services sits on all the committees for construction at the university to assure that they university is in compliance with the spirit and the letter of the law".
  • Social services: 
    • Centralized councelling; Special information when requested;
    • Empowering students to be their own advocate.  Assisting the student in developing these skills
  • Academic provision:
    • Information for  professors at the beginning of every semester with the accommodations recommended for each student
    • Buddy Project: pairing in class and in labs.  Tutoring after class,
    • Accommodated (adjusted) exams
    • Accessible library materials.  Digital books.
  • Technology: ICT for special exam arrangements.  Comprehensive computer clusters, with accessible equipment and software 
  • Cooperation with International Affairs for exchanges of disabled students (going from and coming to our university) to provide appropriate accommodations.  
  • Continuing existing projects. 
  • Staff awareness.  Understanding and support from academic staff 
  • Cooperation with other universities
  • Information about successful disabled students
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