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Support Services: Accessibility and Inclusion

Support Services: Accessibility and Inclusion


Charles Sturt offer many different Support Services for all students! Living with hEDS, Eva Kent shares her involvement using the Accessibility and Inclusion Service and how they created accommodations to improve her uni experience.

Written by Eva Kent

Studying at University is an amazing experience that we are fortunate to have.

However, for some people, this process has not always been easy. Starting your course is stressful enough for anyone; making sure you go to the right building, bring the right supplies, and have shown up at the right time!

What if you had to factor in other things, like making sure you can park close enough to the buildings so you can walk to them, or figuring out how you’re going to be able to get into the classroom? For me, these are just a couple of the extra considerations I had to make.

Meet Eva

My name is Eva, I attend Charles Sturt’s Albury campus studying my Bachelor of Occupational Therapy.

I live with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or hEDS for short. This is a rare connective tissue disorder that affects every body system, but it is most commonly known for affecting the joints.

Because of this, I can experience anywhere between 5-20 dislocations or subluxations per day, in any of my joints.

hEDS does cause a fair number of disruptions to how I can access study and learning. It affects my fine motor skills, causes a fair amount of fatigue and pain, and can affect my ability to walk.

Some days, on my bad days, I need to use walking aides, like my walking stick or my wheelchair. Because of this, I never thought I’d be able to study on campus.

That was until I met with the Accessibility and Inclusion team.

Me (Eva) during an on-campus anatomy class, learning about nerve innervations!
Me (Eva) during an on-campus anatomy class, learning about nerve innervations!

Registering with the Accessibility and Inclusion Advisors

After I accepted my Charles Sturt Advantage offer to start my course in 2020, I chose to enrol in a few supplementary courses to brush up on my essay writing before I started my degree.

I was looking around the Student Portal when I saw a section about disability support. I clicked to get some more information, and it took me to a page to register with the service. I registered my information and got a letter from my GP stating my diagnosis and the impact this would bring to my studies.

I met with one of the amazing advisors, Lynn, and she talked me through potential accommodations that the university could provide for me.

This included:

  • Taking exams in a small group to enhance my ability to focus and ease anxiety
  • Extra time to complete exams and assessments
  • Access to assistive technology to assist me with writing my assessments
  • Access to accessible learning environments

No more worrying about stairs for me!

Myself (Right) and fellow AWSRC member Georgia Lewis.
Myself (Right) and fellow AWSRC member Georgia Lewis.

Accommodations made

Together, Lynn and I developed a study access plan, which included alternative exam arrangements, workplace learning supports, and access to accessible learning spaces.

I use this plan to communicate my needs to my lecturers each session, and this plan can even be used as evidence for special consideration extensions!

Additionally, I have been able to gain access to some assistive equipment. I have been loaned a 4 wheeled walker to help me get around campus, and an ergonomic chair to sit on during classes.

These extra pieces of equipment have allowed me to engage in my study, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Me and my favourite study buddy, Rufus.
Me and my favourite study buddy, Rufus.

Get support

To any student out there who is struggling, like I was, I can’t recommend the Accessibility and Inclusion team highly enough. The staff are so compassionate and respectful, and genuinely want to help students to achieve their study goals.

Information on the Accessibility and Inclusion Team can be found here, or you can send them an email at

Find the support you need by using the Charles Sturt Support Services Directory.

Want to read about another Support Service?

This is an SSAF funded initiative
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