Define by Ability, not Disability

30 Nov 2021

Each of us are unique. Each of us have an ability and other areas that we may find challenging.

Our campaign, Define by Ability, not Disability,  focuses on what students can do, not what they cannot do! At the Country Universities Centre, we celebrate International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD) by sharing CUC student voices. 

Disability labels can be stigmatising and perpetuate false stereotypes. Labels can profoundly influence a student’s confidence and function by creating a culture of low expectations. Focussing on a strength-based approach provides students with confidence and self-esteem to advocate for their support to fulfil their higher education aspirations. 

People with disability, whether that disability is visible or invisible, want to be treated like everyone else. Disability is part of being human. Millions of Australians are impacted by a disability, and almost everyone will temporarily or permanently experience a disability at some point in their life. 

Studying at university can be challenging for any student. Students who have a disability, learning challenges, or a chronic medical condition face extra barriers that can inhibit success. Universities have designated disability support services. These services support students in their learning journey. Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) provides a summary of supports that students with disability can expect when attending university. Along with links to all disability support services at Australian University. 

A success factor in higher education is the ability to seek help and support.  

“A student’s sense of resourcefulness depends on their ability to navigate the university system to get the help and information they need, willingness to speak up” Lizzio, A. (2006). 

Professor Alf Lizzio, Dean of Learning Futures, Griffith University, explains his theory in the clip 5 Senses of Success. 

A student’s disclosure of a disability is a very personal decision and is always voluntary. Students must make an informed choice. The National Disability Coordination Officer NDCO resource supports Students to prepare how they would like to disclose their disability. 

What is your ability? Share it with us on socials!

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