Discourse August 2015

Disclosure: Negotiating adjustments with your teachers

Just a reminder that your Access Plan is not automatically sent to your academic staff each study period. It is your responsibility to contact teaching staff and provide them with a copy of your Access Plan if you need to request any reasonable adjustments. At the start of each study period, your should check individual course outlines to know how the course will be run and what will be expected, including assessments, timeframes, and course requirements.  Course Coordinators are your key contact for negotiating any adjustments you need. Exam arrangements which are documented on your Access Plan are approved and don't need to be negotiated. A Disability Adviser can support you with this process if you need some help. 

It is important to note that an Access Plan does not provide an automatic right to an extension. You must apply for an extension before the due date through the learnonline site or as per the assignment details in the course outline. You can provide a copy of your Access Plan as supporting documentation and request an alternative submission date.

Read the Access Plan Information Sheet for more detail.


Forum: Achieving Career Success with Disability

This is an event for UniSA students with disability, mental health, medical conditions and learning disabilities to provide information about career pathways.

Find out more about practical career strategies and programs to give you an edge in a tough job market.

  • Comprehensive workshop discussing disclosure – when, how, and practical tips for disclosing a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability.
  • Hear from recent graduates with a disability about their job seeking experiences.
  • Ask the Panel: industry representatives from public and private sectors ready to answer your questions.
  • Lunch provided.

Date: Thursday 29 October 2015
Time: 11:00am – 1:45pm
Venue: Bradley Forum, 5th Floor, Hawke Building,
City West campus 
Wheelchair access via lift

Register by Monday 19 October 2015 by emailing disability@unisa.edu.au. Please let us know of any access or dietary requirements.


Student Voice: Interview with Ryan

Ryan  Holt graduated from UniSA in 2011, with an Engineering double degree and has previously shared his story at the Forum: Achieving Career Success. Ryan has successfully transitioned from student to industry professional.

What were your initial impressions of university when you first commenced?

When I first commenced I didn’t really have any expectations, I was looking forward to the less structured format of university study as opposed to high school and the challenges it had to offer. I was excited to have the freedom to direct my degree in the direction of my interests.

UniSA on a whole was impressive on first impression. Mawson Lakes offered a nice open campus and was convenient for me to access. Access was the key to my decision in University.

What barrier(s), if any, did you see your medical condition presenting to your studies and future plans?

Having a mobility disability presented many barriers, access to classes was the major one when looking into universities. UniSA provided by far the most accessible campus and this was one of the many reasons I decided to study here. Adelaide Uni due to its age had very little modifications or facilities for someone in a wheelchair, UniSA on the other hand was actively updating its facilities and services to specifically cope for students with differing needs. Future Plans: at the time I did not really think about how my condition would influence my future plans. This may have been a bit of an oversight on my behalf as the Engineering profession requires significant mobility, however as most would understand you adjust and continue to move forward.

How did you overcome such barriers?

Research and Discussion. Transition from a supportive environment like high school to one that is very independent such as university can be daunting. Most people with a medical condition can attest that to overcome barriers you have to look at problems from many angles and often ask for help. The services that the LTU offered in supporting students with a condition, from Access Plans to Career Services were key to managing the barriers in the University environment and entering the workforce. If you can predict the barriers you may face and spend the time looking into your options and asking those who are there to facilitate and assist there aren’t many barriers you can’t overcome.

To what do you attribute your success in gaining employment?  Did you ever see your medical condition as “getting in the way” of getting a job?

Ultimately, networking, work experience and building a rapport with people in the industry. More often than not it did feel like my medical condition did get in the way of me seeking jobs. I was unable to move away to mining areas and as I left university a large number of engineering companies were closing or downsizing. It was important for me to make the most of opportunities to get to know people in the industry. The work experience opportunities I gained helped me make a name for myself as a student who could positively contribute to a company and the industry, and prove to others that even though I had limitations I was more beneficial to the company than my peers who were also leaving uni. Take the opportunities and do not squander them.

Do you have any job seeking tips for graduating students with a disability/medical condition or mental health condition?

The university held workshops on gaining employment with a disability. Go to them they as they are useful and I used these to gain some of my first HR networks. However, it was recommended by a panellist that when applying for jobs disclose that you have a disability/medical condition and this would not negatively affect you. Personally I felt that it did. When applying for jobs I found I received more positive feedback when I omitted my disability and waited to disclose this if and when I was offered an interview. This is my experience and it does depend on the company.

My other piece of advice is to hold yourself up professionally. You only get one opportunity to make a first impression. Don't let your condition define who you are and your value. Contribute and excel in any opportunity, work experience, part-time contract work or volunteer, and positively contribute to the business and build a reputation for your work.  Your reputation, word of mouth of your colleagues is the most effective way to gain a job.


How to transition to Tertiary Education: Helpful hints for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Coping with change and transition can be difficult for many people, and if you are on the Autism Spectrum you may find it particularly challenging. This new resource is designed to support students with ASD and is available for free on the Australian Disability Clearinghouse website. It was developed by the Commonwealth Governent National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) program.

This booklet contains the folloowing sections:

  • Know your strengths and challenges
  • Familiarise yourself with the campus
  • Studying at university or TAFE
  • Organising your study
  • What support could be helpful?
  • Find key people who can help you
  • Communication tips
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Information for parents.

Download your free copy of How to Transition to Tertiary Education: Helpful hints for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder  


Apply now to become a PACE Mentee for Spring 2015

  • Are you a student with disability who wants guidance on how to pursue your career goals?
  • Are you looking to network and advance your career opportunities?
  • Are you interested in honing your job seeking skills and learning from an industry professional?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then participating in PACE Mentoring could be the experience you're looking for. PACE is the Australian Network on Disability’s (AND) vibrant and dynamic mentoring program developed to mutually benefit employers, and students with disability. PACE offers the opportunity to develop job-seeking skills and confidence in a workplace setting. It can assist with planning your career journey, as well as aiding personal and professional development. PACE recognises that students with disability frequently find themselves with little or no work experience, and may not be fully aware of the skills and attributes they can offer an organisation. PACE aims to assist you to become 'job-ready' and reduce some of these hurdles.

How does it work?

PACE is a three month program which takes place twice a year. The Spring program is due to commence in September and we are now accepting applications. Mentors and mentees will meet approximately 6-8 times during the 12 weeks. It is free to mentees, and the Australian Network on Disability (AND) will manage the program from start to finish. During the program, the mentee and mentor will set goals and outcomes, discuss experiences, skills, and career pathways. Other activities may include:

  • Reviewing resumes and cover letters
  • Mock interviews
  • Worksite visits
  • Networking with other professionals
  • Discussing workplace adjustments
  • Building confidence.

To apply for an opportunity to be matched with a professional mentor, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Email Stephanie Littlewood, PACE Project Assistant for an application form applications@and.org.au
  2. Email the completed application form as an attachment along with a CV (desirable but not essential) and any disability related information (for eligibility verification).

AND makes every effort to match you with a mentor in your field of interest. If we are unable to find the perfect match, we may ask if you would like to  participate in the Autumn program in 2016.

PACE is generously sponsored by our Principal Sponsor ANZ and Associate Sponsor IBM.


Longitudinal study of school leavers with autism: The transition from school to adult life for young people with autism spectrum condition and their families.

  • Do you have an autism spectrum condition?
  • Are you finishing school or in your first year post-school?
  • Are you a young person without autism spectrum condition finishing school or in your first year post-school?
  • Are you the parent/guardian of one of these young people?

What is this study about and who can participate?

The transition from school to adult life for people with ASD and their families is one of the most difficult periods to traverse as services are fragmented. This period remains poorly coordinated and not well understood. Therefore the main aim of this longitudinal study is to understand the process of transitioning from school to adult life for Australian students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. For this purpose we are inviting young people with an autism spectrum condition who are in their final year of school, or first year post school (aged 15-25) and their parents or guardians, to participate in a longitudinal survey.

We also would like to understand how students who DO NOT have an autism spectrum condition transition from school to adult life in order to understand the unique ASD profiles and issues associated with this transition period.

What will participation in the study involve?

As a participant, you will be asked to complete one survey when you first agree to enter the project, followed by a survey 12 months later and again 24 months later. 

If you are a young person you will be asked to complete questions about yourself.

If you are a parent of young person you will be asked questions about yourself and your child, including questions about your wellbeing.

You will not need to complete all of the survey questions at once; you will be able to stop and resume filling out the survey as long as you complete the whole survey within one month of starting it. The survey can be completed either on-line or as a hard copy (paper booklet), whichever option is more convenient for you.

How can I participate or find out more about this study?

You can contact Dr Mirko Uljarevic (M.Uljarevic@latrobe.edu.au) or Ms Ru Ying Cai (R.Cai@latrobe.edu.au)


De-stress tips from Current Students (response from June 2015 Newsletter)

Thanks for all your responses sharing your de-stress tips! We have copied your responses below to share with Discourse readers. Students may also want consider an individual appointment with a University of South Australia counsellor to discuss how to better manage stress.

  • Nothing de-stresses me like a good stretch, a crazy little dance, a good cry and a nice warm cup of chamomile tea.
  • I de-stress by finding a quiet, dark place where I can sit or lay and concentrate on my breathing - Breathe in, and Breathe out, just let everything go.
  • Some of the things I like to do to keep me on track are: Prioritize time, and if I do fall behind don't stress it is possible to catch up. P's get degree's! There is support at the Uni and with other students. Take advantage of this asap so you have a network of support when things seem tough. Use your e-pal as they are there to help you and guide you and most importantly empower you to keep on track. Build relationships and keep up communication with both lecturers and tutors they want to see you do well and love the feedback (as the lecturers are in Adelaide). Make friends with your fellow peers and if you can get a study buddy, it helps to keep you motivated. Chill you when you are stressed and to share the highs and lows of Uni life with someone who can help you develop as a person and an academic.
  • I find it really helpful and relaxing to listen to classical music while studying.
  • Depending on the course I have embarked upon to study, different stresses apply. For example at the moment I am very comfortable studying SSK10 (Tertiary Learning Strategies)  as the time pressure is less than the 3 other subjects that I have studied at OUA, and specifically Accountancy, Macroeconomics and Microeconomics. I have to learn how to manage my time better. In my particular situation because of the medical problem I have, it tends to affect my memory, posture, and back. When I study for long periods of time in front of the computer screen, when I start to feel stressed physically and mentally. My immediate de-stress action is to get up and do some physical exercises, mentally disengage from the subject, as well take longer breaks.
  • I like to socialise and go out to a restaurant or movie theatre. 
  • Currently, my favourite de-stress activity is to do something physical. Something to get the body moving and to change my focus for a while. Activities I enjoy being Judo, surfing, resistance training at the gym or simply a jog down at the local beach. These activities usually leave me feeling refreshed and re-energised again. Or if I can't get out to do those things I also try to practise mindfulness/breathing exercises, play my guitar, do something creative, do some stretching, jump on the trampoline with my son or play a game with him. These usually help me relax and refocus again for later when I return to the task I was stressing about.
  • I like to de-stress when studying by going outside and enjoying the sun, and mucking around with my puppy for a little while.
  • To de-stress I get a shoulder massage. It costs a bit, but it is well worthwhile. Sooooooo relaxing.


Participants needed for follow up survey

Last newsletter, we published an Interview with a Phd Student,  Lindsley  (Lins) Abcadia. Lins is completing his PhD in the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, (CIL) which is situated at the UniSA Magill campus. Lins is researching and developing a mobile learning application designed to help meet the accessibility needs of people with disability. He has developed a more focused survey, if anyone is interested in completing it, it would be very helpful to Lins' work. Please go to this website to access the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FollowUpDS

If there are students who would like to receive the information sheet, participate in focus groups, or a usability test please contact him at: abalb001@mymail.unisa.edu.au


Young Carer Bursary Programme  2016

 According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a young carer is:

"A person of any age who provides any informal assistance, in terms of help or supervision, to an older person or someone who has a disability or a long-term health condition. This assistance has been, or is likely to be, ongoing for at least six months".

The Young Carer Bursary Programme is a national programme and is administered by Carers Australia in Canberra.  The aim of the Programme is to help relieve the financial pressure on young carers to undertake part-time employment, in addition to managing their educational and caring responsibilities. The provision of a bursary increases the opportunity for young carers to remain in, or return to, education or training leading to improved employment opportunities and long-term finances.

The Australian Government has committed $1 million for bursaries in 2016 and 2017. Bursaries are set at $3,000 each so 333 bursaries will be awarded in those two years. Students who are studying an undergraduate degree are eligible to apply; postgraduate students are not eligible.

 Applications will open on Tuesday 18 August 2015 and close at 5pm AEST Monday 28 September 2015.  I have attached further material to this email for you to use in informing your eligible students. 

Applications can be completed via an on-line application form on the young carer bursary website at http://bursaries.youngcarers.net.au/

If you require further information you can ring 1800 756 238 or email Carers Australia at ycbursaries@carersaustralia.com.au


Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)

Do you need assistance in the event of an emergency evacuation? The University can develop a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) to provide appropriate assistance for people with disabilities during emergency evacuation. If you would like to develop a PEEP please contact the Disability Adviser on your campus.


Help me - Language and learning support + study planners

The L3: Language, Literacies and Learning website has a range of online resources to support students during their university study including reference guides and extra guidance and support for approaching study and assignments. One to one appointments are available on each campus with a Language and Learning Adviser.

Never miss a submission date!  Get a study planner online.