Prior to enrolment
Students may choose to disclose to an education institution prior to enrolment to discuss:
- the transition from secondary education to TAFE or university
- access to disability support services
- course core requirements to ensure that the course chosen is appropriate
- specific issues such as enrolment procedures, application timelines, course prerequisites and requirements
- education related adjustments required
- mentoring supports
- modes of study.
The enrolment form often requests information about whether a student has a disability and the type of disability. This information assists the institution in building a statistical picture of the student population. Some institutions may also ask if students would like to receive information about the services and supports available to them because of their disability.
Students with a disability are not legally required to disclose their disability on enrolment forms. If a student chooses to disclose their disability, they are only required to answer the specific questions on the form. These questions tend to be specific to identifying that they have a disability and the category of disability which best applies to them. It is not necessary to disclose specific medical or personal information about a disability.
If students choose not to disclose their disability on the enrolment form, they still have the option of contacting the disability support service staff at any time to advise that they are enrolled and to seek information or practical support to assist with their studies.
Students may choose to disclose to an education institution on enrolment to discuss:
- how to access services once they are enrolled
- specific needs with disability services staff to ensure appropriate services are provided.
Commencement of study
Students have a number of opportunities to disclose their disability. At commencement of study, students may begin to experience the impact their disability has on their capacity to undertake further study. At this point, they can choose to disclose to disability support staff, teaching staff, counselling staff or other students. However, if students disclose after enrolment, they may not be eligible for any fee concessions. The student is advised to check with their training provider for any available concessions.
Anytime during study
There is no legal obligation for a student to disclose their disability unless it is likely to affect your performance to meet the requirements of the course. Check the 'inherent requirements' as outlined by your education provider. If you need to speak to someone about inherent requirements, contact the disability support team or admissions of the education provider.
Often being a student can involve a commitment of several years. Many changes can occur in a student's circumstances, including a change in how a disability impacts on a daily basis, acquiring a disability or chronic medical condition, changes to personal situation and increased workloads at post school training providers. All or any of these circumstances can be a catalyst to a student needing to consider whether or not they disclose their disability while studying.
It is possible for students at any time during their studies to unexpectedly acquire a disability or to experience deterioration in an existing disability or medical condition. This may result in the student needing to disclose their disability to seek support to continue their course. Occasionally, students disclose their disability at a time of crisis, because they did not anticipate potential issues or difficulties, which may arise in any course of study.
As these are unexpected circumstances, a student may require disability support to be put in place quite quickly, to ensure that they are not disadvantaged in their study. This may or may not be possible depending on the level of support required.
Students have a number of opportunities to disclose their disability during their study, if they choose to, such as disability support staff, counselling service staff and teaching staff:
In summary, students may choose to disclose their disability at any time during their studies because:
- their personal circumstances may change, such as a student acquiring a disability or medical condition
- a student’s disability may progress and its impact on daily living may also increase
- a student may feel more confident that disclosing at this time will not lead to discrimination
- course requirements including fieldwork or excursions may highlight issues in relation to a disability
- a student may have identified specific supports that will enable them to participate in their course, on an equal basis with other students.