Accessibility is at the heart of inclusive education. Hanna and Ben are our Accessibility Team, and they provide direct, personalised support to ensure that all learners can participate fully in their education.
“Our roles as Accessibility Advisors are unique within the broader Student Success team. Our role is dedicated to supporting neurodiverse learners and learners with impairments, injuries or medical conditions here at OP”, explains Ben.
Who can access Accessibility Services?
Anyone experiencing a barrier or challenge can use Accessibility Services. You do not need a formal diagnosis—though the team can help you be diagnosed if that is something you would find helpful. Certain support services do require a diagnosis, such as special considerations for exams.
Accessibility may help with:
- Assistive technology
- Special exam conditions
- Peer tutoring and notetaking
- Pastoral care and coping strategies
- Financial and resource assistance
- Orientation and liaison
- Diagnosis and referrals to internal or external resources
Accessibility can help you develop a learning plan that accommodates your personal requirements, and can also provide support communication between you, your school and your lecturers. The goal is to make sure that the learning environment is inclusive so that every learner can have equal access to achieving their best.
Examples of work that Accessibility performs might include organizing reader and writer support for a dyslexic learner during exams, working with an epileptic student to develop a safety plan, or arranging an interpreter for a learner who uses New Zealand Sign Language.
Accessibility is currently participating in gaining the Dyslexia-Friendly Quality Mark for Otago Polytechnic as part of the ongoing effort to improve our inclusive practices.
An upcoming event to add to your calendar is the Neuroabilities Symposium: Ministry of Superpowers, organised by the Neurodiverse Community of Practice, where neurodiverse learners and staff are invited to share their experiences. The next symposium will be held Thursday, 12 October 2023.
How do I get in touch with Accessibility?
You can make an appointment with the Accessibility Team through the online booking system. You can also get in touch with Accessibility by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by making an appointment in person at Student Success in the Hub, or by telephoning Student Success and asking for Accessibility at 0800 762 786.
Meet our Accessibility Advisors
Hanna Heims has been an Accessibility Advisor at Otago Polytechnic since 2021. “My background is in nursing, and I have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science. For the past 13 years, I have worked for several different disability services, ranging from community settings for intellectually disabled children to clinical residential settings for young adults with physical disabilities. I am passionate about providing equal opportunities and support to any learner experiencing barriers or disadvantages to their success.”
Ben MacJeff (he/him) joined the Accessibility Team at Student Success in September 2021. “I have been working in the human services sector for the last few years, most recently as a residential disability support worker. I also previously worked as a Veterinary Nurse in Australia. My interactions with learners are what I enjoy the most about my role. I feel very lucky to be able to support such a diverse group of people who are constantly teaching me.”
Published on 17 May 2023
Orderdate: 17 May 2023
Expiry: 17 May 2025