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Best Practice Standards 3.4


3.4 Access to General and Specialist Services

Students with impairments have equal educational opportunity through access to appropriate support and services.

Best Practice Standards

  1. Students with impairments have access to the full range of support services available to their peers. Where existing services are not accessible, alternative services and/or arrangements are made.
  2. Services to all students are regularly reviewed, ensuring that they meet the emerging requirements of students with varying impairments.
  3. All support services for people with impairments are culturally appropriate to Māori and to other ethnic groups, including international students.
  4. General and specialist support staff have the skills, experience and support to provide effective advice and support to people with different impairments, their whanau/ families and other staff.
  5. Prospective students with impairments, especially those with complex academic and/or daily living needs, are contacted early enough to arrange appropriate and effective support.
  6. Students have frequent opportunities to discuss the likely impact of impairment on their studies and the appropriate support required.
  7. Support services assist students with impairments to become independent members of the academic and student community.
  8. Support services have effective networks and cooperate with other institutions and relevant statutory/voluntary agencies to enhance services and gain access to specialist advice when required.
  9. General and specialist support staff meet their obligations related to the Health and Disability Commissioner Act, 1994 and other relevant legislation.

Understanding these Best Practice Standards

  • Specialist support services comprise specific facilities, equipment, programmes, personnel, or arrangements to assist students with impairments. Specialist staff includes disability support staff, sign language interpreters, note-takers, readers, writers and specialist tutors.
  • General support services can include all health services, student learning services, student associations and those services providing academic, administrative and general support.
  • By developing and promoting a wider range of general services that encompass people with impairments, institutions can reduce the costs of specialist services.
  • Accessible support services have:
    • A location that is easily identified, physically accessible to those with sensory and mobility impairments and safe for people concerned about confidentiality.
    • Appropriate communication access (e.g. faxes, access to interpreters, email, private rooms, alternative contact points that are advertised).
    • Service information in accessible formats.
  • Specialist support and services for students with impairments can be enhanced by:
    • Establishing a network across all areas to coordinate support services for students with impairments.
    • Specialist staff being a resource to assist other staff to meet the needs of students with impairments.
    • Ensuring support staff (e.g. note-takers, specialist tutors, reader-writers) have the appropriate skills, a professional attitude and receive adequate training and appropriate remuneration.
    • Providing free training for senior students who have passed subjects, to become paid note-takers.
    • Linking into a 'transcription service' where audiotapes are converted to electronic or hard copy and having 'alternative format' information available through the printery.
    • Developing a 'survival guide' for students with impairments and a specific individual orientation for students with different impairments (e.g. learning difficulties, mental illness, intellectual disability).
    • Having peer mentoring where senior students with impairments contact new students.
    • Creating specific career and transition services (e.g. specific employment package and initiatives).
    • Ensuring students can use effective independent advocacy for support (e.g. personal networks, whanau, external advocacy services, consumer groups, advocates within student associations, class representatives).
    • Those involved with the spiritual, cultural, sporting and social areas of campus life considering the needs of students with impairments in planning, and developing specific strategies to involve them.
    • Marketing services among community networks that people with impairments access.
    • Consulting with students with different impairments and whanau about service reviews and outcomes.