Key definitions, strategy and legislation underpinning our plan

The Disability Inclusion Action Plan forms part of our ongoing commitment to ensure the inclusion of people with disability and to enable everyone to achieve their full potential and capabilities at this University.

How we do this is defined by legal and strategic frameworks that ensure we are giving all members of our community a fair go.

Defining disability

Complex social and medical dimensions come into play when defining disability.

A person’s functioning or disability is conceived as a dynamic interaction between a person with a health condition(s) and environmental and personal factors (WHO 2001).

When we approach disability as an interaction rather than an attribute of a person, the focus shifts to how environmental factors can be changed to improve social participation.

Environmental factors may include negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and facilities, and limited social support.

We recognise disability is part of the human experience – not a condition or impairment isolated to a minority group. Anyone can experience a decline in health, and therefore experience some degree of disability, at any stage in life.

How we understand disability has evolved over time, with the most significant change being the acknowledgement that people living with disabilities are usually far more limited by social, cultural and economic constraints than by a specific physical, psychological or intellectual impairment.

Disability is considered to be any condition that impacts a person’s mental, sensory or mobility functions. It may be caused by accident, trauma, genetics or disease. It may be temporary or permanent; visible or invisible; lifelong or acquired.

Legal and strategic framework

The Disability Inclusion Action Plan has been developed within the boundaries of relevant legislation and guidelines.

How we define disability

The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) defines physical, intellectual, sensory and other kinds of disability.
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