People with Intellectual Disability Experiencing University Life

 
Left to right: Arahni Sont - Centro ASSIST, Meeda Jacobs - Foundation Secretary at Uni2 Beyond Foundation, Professor Patricia O’Brien - Executive Director of CDS - Professor of Disability Studies

Left to right: Arahni Sont - Centro ASSIST, Meeda Jacobs - Foundation Secretary at Uni2 Beyond Foundation, Professor Patricia O’Brien - Executive Director of CDS - Professor of Disability Studies

 

27th March : “People with Intellectual Disability Experiencing University Life” at the Centre for Disability Studies, University of Sydney with Professor Patricia O’Brien, Head of CDS and guests

This was a round table on “People with Intellectual Disability Experiencing University Life” plus the launch of the book of the same name. Really interesting discussion at this event and many key thinkers in the disability space were present. Education is a key component in forging a world that has inclusion and it all starts at the school age level. Real inclusion means active participation and valuing each other’s contribution. The University access programs described in the book have shown that the presence of PWD at university enriches the learning environment for all and that the University staff and leaders also become educated in diversity.

Prof Roger Slee (Uni of South Australia), Prof Keith McVilly (Uni of Melbourne) and Dr Michelle Bonati (State University of New York at Plattsburgh) spoke about their respective programs at their Universities which are chapters in the book. Friederike Gadow, from CDS and Stephanie Walker, a former student spoke about the birth of the CDS program, Uni2 in 2014 and the challenges and benefits of doing the program. Jeffrey Chan from the NDIS QS Commission mentioned that there are 1.3 billion people globally with a disability and $8 trillion of disposable income. The Uni2 program was previously funded by NSW ADHC but is now reliant on tuition fees and NDIS budgets – donations are welcome to keep this innovative program going.

Teresa Dao