Mrs Karenne Hills

11. Mrs Karenne Hills, Counselling Course Coordinator, Christian Heritage College, Brisbane, Australia

Students with ‘Other Abilities’ in Higher Education: A Trial Program.

This presentation will provide an overview of the initial findings of a trial program created to explore the effectiveness of alternative methods of educational delivery, designed to assist students with different learning styles and abilities succeed in higher education.

In 2014 it was decided by the faculty of a small Christian higher education institution in Queensland, that equal opportunity should be provided for all people to participate in the transformational learning that underpins the ethos of Christian Education.    Subsequently, a trial program was developed which involves one student, who presents with mild to moderate physical and intellectual impairments caused by a rare congenital condition called Acrodysostosis.

By utilising an innovative strengths-based teaching approach incorporating modified assessment, learning supports in the form of tutoring, pre and post tutorial underpinning and lecturer education, the program has seen the student achieve success far beyond expectations,  obtaining grades of Credit or above for each subject completed.   While presenting some obvious challenges, the success of this program thus far points to a number of exciting possibilities within the tertiary education sector for people with disability, especially in light of the impending introduction of the NDIS.

At the very least this initiative demonstrates what is possible in assisting students with different learning styles and abilities to achieve success.  Success has also been measured by the obvious sense of inclusion, heightened self-esteem and sense of purpose and achievement expressed by the student. This presentation involves an interactive dialogue between the program co-ordinator and the student participant.