Living Well When You’re Unwell

28 November 2019

Welcome to Living Well When You’re Unwell, a column that answers all your questions about navigating uni, life, relationships, and jobs with disability and chronic illness.

What exactly does ‘reasonable adjustment’ mean? I heard that word being said a lot in regards to disability. I’ve also heard ‘reasonable accommodation’. What are the differences between the two?
– Seeking Clarification

In different countries, different terminologies are used to refer to making adjustments to ensure a person with disability is not barred from an activity or employment. For example, in the United States the term is ‘reasonable accommodation’. If you travel to different countries or even if you’re an international student used to the terminology in your home country, it can be confusing to understand what these different terms mean.

In the case of ‘reasonable adjustment’ and ‘reasonable accommodation’, they refer to the same thing. In Australia, under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, people with disabilities are entitled to reasonable adjustments in cases where their safety, productivity, and comfort are being infringed upon.

Interestingly enough, when it comes to reasonable adjustments under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, it’s not just people with permanent disabilities who are affected. Many people don’t know that you’re still entitled to reasonable adjustments if you are a person who is:

  • Permanently disabled (physical, mental, etc.)
  • Ill (either temporary or permanent)
  • Temporarily injured

How can I get into disability advocacy? Is there anything I can do at uni?
– Wanting to Make a Difference

There are lots of ways to advocate for disability rights and accessibility. You can join in on conversations online, hashtag campaigns, or even contribute to websites like Invisible Disability Project if you are a person with a disability.

There are also options to get into disability advocacy locally. You can join Accessible Unimelb if you’re a student or faculty member, no matter if you’re a person with a disability or just passionate about equality. Accessible Unimelb is a student group focused on disability advocacy, awareness, and inclusion. Accessible Unimelb meets monthly to discuss the student experience, attitudes towards people with disability on campus, employment after graduation, and how to make positive and inclusive change on campus. If you wanted to get connected to this group or find out more, you can email and we’ll put you in touch!

Do all students with a disability need to be registered with Student Equity and Disability Support?
– Asking For a Friend

If you’re a student with a disability, you’re not required to register for ongoing support unless you want to or need to. Not all disabilities are the same, and therefore they don’t always lead to the same types of access needs. So some students with disabilities may not actually need any adjustments or ongoing support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *