Making Education Disability-Inclusive – Thoughts
and Musings

Education is one of the core aspects of life and it is not an exaggeration to say that it can be life-
changing for people to go to university and get the degree that they need to be able to work in
their chosen field of expertise. However, for many people, disability presents a barrier to
education which is not helped by the fact that education could stand to be a lot more inclusive
with regards to how it helps people learn and succeed.
This disparity when it comes to disabled people and their learning experiences has led to many
issues over the years, but it is time to tackle some of the problems head-on, which means
finding solutions. We’ve discussed the idea between ourselves and managed to come up with a
few key ideas.
First and foremost, it is important that we try to collect feedback and insights from disabled
students on an ongoing basis. After all, who better to speak to the needs of disabled students
than themselves? It is also important that universities build an advisory group of students who
represent a cross-section of disabilities. Representation within disability is a key part of
successful support, so we need to emphasise this within feedback and focus groups.
Secondly, we should focus on accessibility within learning. Not every student can access
recordings of lectures, or listen to sound clips, or even attend lectures in inaccessible places.
Sometimes, the course content for a degree is built around a very exclusionary basis, even if
that wasn’t the intention. Students must often be able-bodied to access all aspects of learning,
and this must change. Courses need to be designed to be flexible and to support the needs of
students regardless of what issues they may face.
Our other primary concern is meant to address an often-overlooked aspect of university life – the
staff themselves. After all, education is as much about those teaching as it is those who come to
learn, and many university and education providers have a disability. However, they do not get
the support that they need. Therefore, we need to see changes made which will help them to
get the correct level of help.
We feel this should take the form of policy changes and considerations given for the way
disabled staff work. These considerations will give staff more confidence to work and much-
needed space – some lecturers may struggle to work at the same pace as those who don’t have
a disability, and may experience distress at the idea of being forced to keep an unrealistic pace.
Making changes to the way education is structured for both students and staff in education
across the world is key for bringing about a more equal society. We have to recognise that
sometimes, disabled people need certain provisions and changes to make their education more

feasible, and to assume everyone can work from an able-bodied perspective is unrealistic at
best and exclusionary at worst.

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