There is a vast array of additional information and resources available aimed at enhancing the educational experience of students with an impairment.
Low to no cost accessible software solutions
New software applications, many free, are regularly released and made available over the internet for downloading and use on your PC, laptop, smartphone, touch devices and other portable hardware. These, along with in-built accessibility features included in software by developers such as Microsoft, Apple and Google are worth checking out and making use of. The version of software you are currently using will determine exactly which features are available to you.
Microsoft accessibility features
Microsoft's Ease of Access Centre enables adjustment to settings to make your PC easier to see, hear and use. On-board programs include: Magnifier, On-Screen Keyboard, Narrator Screen Reader, Speech recognitions, and keyboard control functions for mouse alternative navigation. View online at www.microsoft.com/enable/ or talk to Accessibility Services staff.
Apple's accessibility features
Apple's operating systems include in-built accessibility features and programs to allow user adjustment to suit individual needs with regard to vision, hearing, physical and motor skills and literacy and learning. Programs include: Zoom screen magnification, Voice Over screen reader, Text to Speech and assistive technologies that can help you navigate your computer even if you have difficulties using the keyboard, mouse, and trackpad. View online at www.apple.com/accessibility/ or talk Accessibility Services staff.
Google's accessibility features
Google has developed a range of tools to make using its software and products more accessible and user-friendly for people with disabilities. Products include ChromeVox with screen-reader, keyboard shortcuts and low vision features built into the Chrome web browser. View online at www.google.co.nz/accessibility/ or talk Accessibility Services staff.
Alongside assistance on campus, you may also need support in other everyday settings such as at home or as you go about living your daily life out and about in the community. Sometimes people already have this everyday assistance organised but will need to make sure the necessary adjustments are made to meet the demands of on-campus life and study. The following is a list of organisations that provide assistance towards your daily living, including your home, educational and vocational pursuits. Accessibility Services staff will be happy to link you to further impairment support groups and government organisations including:
Disability Support Link – DSL
Disability Support Link provides assessment and service coordination to assist in obtaining home support services for people with disability in the Waikato, King Country, Thames Valley and Coromandel Peninsula. Services include:
» Household assistance
» Personal care
» Carer support
» Residential care and support
» Referrals to other support services.
For more information freephone 0800 55 33 99 or visit Disability Support Link.
In the Bay of Plenty District Health Board area, people with an impairment can access support services through Support Net. It’s a needs assessment and service coordination service for people with an impairment. For more information Freephone 0800 262 477, email [email protected] or visit www.bopdhb.govt.nz/services/support-net/.
Training Support funds
Workbridge administers Training Support which can be used to cover study costs related to your impairment such as personal support, transport costs, equipment costs and New Zealand Sign Language interpreters. When other avenues of funding have been exhausted, Workbridge offers an additional maximum of $15,600 for each individual. Anyone with an impairment can submit an application and you don’t have to be registered with Workbridge to access the funds.
Application forms and information are available from the Workbridge website www.workbridge.co.nz.
For advice and information contact Support Funds Central Processing Unit phone 0508 967 527 or email [email protected].
Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health provides funding for a wide range of services and contract providers such as Disability Support Link and Enable New Zealand to support people with disability. Services include:
- Needs Assessment and Services Co-ordination service – NASC
- Equipment and Modification Services (includes housing and vehicle)
- Hearing and Vision Services
- Home and Community Support Services
- Supported Living.
To read about the full range of services and how to access them from your local area, go to www.health.govt.nz/yourhealth-topics/disability-services.
ACC Accident Compensation Corporation
ACC provides financial and other support to encourage people to return to work after acquiring an injury or an impairment through an accident. If you are an ACC customer, contact your case manager to discuss an educational plan well before you start at the University and find out whether you are eligible for equipment or support. Phone 0800 101 996 or visit www.acc.govt.nz.
Enable New Zealand (ENZ)
ENZ deliver a range of services for people with an impairment and their families, including contracted services for the Ministry of Health, District Health Boards and Accident Compensation Corporation. For more information phone 0800 362 253, email [email protected] or visit www.enable.co.nz.
Students with vision impairment may need to arrange for orientation and mobility training through the Blind Foundation before commencing their studies. Please contact the Blind Foundation on phone 0800 2433 33.
Total Mobility is a ‘door to door’ national transport scheme involving impairment support agencies, taxi companies and local government. The scheme is designed to increase the mobility of people with disability to allow equitable access to the community.
For information regarding the scheme and your eligibility for Total Mobility vouchers, please contact either your local branch of CCS Disability Action, Waikato Regional Council or Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
ACHIEVE is a national network established to ensure equal opportunity and access to tertiary education and training for people with an impairment. Its membership includes students with an impairment, family and friends, tertiary education providers and service providers in the community. The University of Waikato is a corporate member of ACHIEVE.
The ACHIEVE newsletter is a good way of keeping in touch with what is happening at a national level. For more information or to apply for individual membership check out their web-site www.achieve.org.nz