Disability Collective: How simple extensions can support UTS students? How simple extensions can support UTS students?

Traditional learning environments can prove challenging for individuals with ADHD. Many students find the journey to seek help for mental health concerns daunting, with lecture halls filled with distractions, fast-paced classes, and a lack of accommodations contributing to a sense of isolation.

As the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) strives to foster an inclusive atmosphere, it becomes imperative to reassess and adapt learning spaces to better suit the needs of students dealing with ADHD. Creating environments that promote focus and reduce external stimuli can significantly enhance the academic experience for these students. Stigma, fear of judgement, and a lack of awareness about available resources often act as barriers, preventing students from reaching out for support. A crucial step towards addressing these challenges involves implementing simple extensions for assessments across all faculties at UTS.

By recognising the diverse needs of its student body and acknowledging that mental health concerns may impact a student’s ability to meet strict deadlines, the university can provide students with the flexibility they need to manage their workload during challenging times without the added stress of formalising extensions through extensive documentation. This approach aligns with a proactive, preventative stance, recognising that early intervention and support can mitigate the impact of mental health issues on academic performance.
By normalising the provision of simple extensions, UTS could take a significant step in breaking down the stigma associated with mental health challenges, fostering an environment where students may feel more comfortable seeking help without the fear of judgement. This not only reduces the barriers to access support but also encourages a culture of openness and understanding. For students grappling with mental health issues without a formal diagnosis, the struggle to access accommodations can be particularly daunting. Simple extensions could act as a crucial buffer for those in the process of seeking a diagnosis, ensuring they receive the necessary support during challenging times.

The advent of virtual classes has been a transformative force for students with disabilities, fostering inclusivity and expanding educational opportunities. These platforms have enabled many to pursue their studies from the comfort of their homes, overcoming physical barriers and enhancing accessibility. However, concerns arise as some UTS subjects shift away from online options, potentially restricting the educational access that benefited students with disabilities. This transition prompts a crucial examination of the balance between technological advancements and maintaining inclusive learning environments, ensuring that the needs of all students, including those with disabilities, continue to be met effectively

"It is crucial to consider and implement initiatives that support disabilities across all learning environments. Initiatives relevant to simple extensions across all faculties represent a progressive step towards creating a supportive and accessible environment. This approach can play a crucial role in normalising help-seeking behaviour, supporting undiagnosed students, and ultimately fostering a campus culture that prioritises the well-being and success of every student."