Support for Students with Hidden Disabilities in Universities: A Case Study

Couzens, Donna, Poed, Shiralee, Kataoka, Mika, Brandon, Alicia, Hartley, Judy and Keen, Deb (2015) Support for Students with Hidden Disabilities in Universities: A Case Study. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 62 1: 24-41. doi:10.1080/1034912X.2014.984592

Author Couzens, Donna
Poed, Shiralee
Kataoka, Mika
Brandon, Alicia
Hartley, Judy
Keen, Deb
Title Support for Students with Hidden Disabilities in Universities: A Case Study
Journal name International Journal of Disability, Development and Education   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1465-346X
Publication date 2015-01-22
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/1034912X.2014.984592
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 62
Issue 1
Start page 24
End page 41
Total pages 18
Place of publication Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Subject 3306 Health (social science)
3304 Education
3601 Health Professions (miscellaneous)
3204 Developmental and Educational Psychology
Abstract More students with disabilities are accessing the tertiary sector with many disabilities not easily observed (or hidden), because there are no physical indicators. These “hidden” disabilities affect a variety of cognitive processes and may be developmental or acquired. To ensure students with hidden disabilities can enrol, engage in and benefit from tertiary education, universities generally provide a range of supports. Typically these supports and any reasonable adjustments are negotiated with students taking into account a number of factors including, where available, any supporting documentation that they might be able to provide. This case study reports efforts within one large Australian university to support higher education students with hidden disabilities on campus. Perceptions on the use of and barriers to support available were collected from seven undergraduate students who self-identified as having hidden disabilities and from eight support staff. Results indicated that students found their informal networks to be their most effective supports, closely followed by clear, caring and flexible lecturers and tutors. There were mixed positive and negative perceptions reported on the universal and disability-specific supports available. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
Keyword adult learning
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
higher education
learning disability
universal design for learning
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Education Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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