Disability and higher education what are the barriers

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Disability and higher education – what are the barriers to participation? Eva Magnus Research

Disability and higher education – what are the barriers to participation? Eva Magnus Research fellow NTNU Social Research Ltd. /Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Introduction Since 1981 political goals of equality and participation p Universal design as a

Introduction Since 1981 political goals of equality and participation p Universal design as a strategy in key areas in society p Higher education as a strategy to increase participation at the labour market p New reforms in higher education p

The known barriers Lacking practical adjustments p Missing literature for visually impaired p Learning

The known barriers Lacking practical adjustments p Missing literature for visually impaired p Learning management systems not available for all p Lacking knowledge of how to meet theese students need p

Intention To explore and describe the eyeryday life of disabled students in Norway. What

Intention To explore and describe the eyeryday life of disabled students in Norway. What obstacles are found? What are the concequences for participation? What strategies do they use to minimise the impact of existing barriers?

Method p Participants – 12 students’ in higher education, 9 women and 3 men,

Method p Participants – 12 students’ in higher education, 9 women and 3 men, aged 2243. Data collection – time-geographic diary, in -depth interview, focus groups. p Data collection and analysing inspired by grounded theory and method (Charmaz 1995, 2000). p

Three preliminary categories ’Organising must be in place’ p ’When support is experienced as

Three preliminary categories ’Organising must be in place’ p ’When support is experienced as a threat or as suspiciouness’ p ’To be met gives energy’ p

’Organising must be in place’ All the work that has to be done to

’Organising must be in place’ All the work that has to be done to make the everyday life function. p Learn what your possibilities for support are. p Collaborate, communicate, make changes. p

Heidi said: I would like to be a part of the social life and

Heidi said: I would like to be a part of the social life and make myself a network. But organising the everyday life takes all my time and energy.

Heidi add: I have a feeling of having to make the road I’m on

Heidi add: I have a feeling of having to make the road I’m on by myself. I have spent my time trying to survive.

Helga said: Nobody told me about the support service at the university. I thought

Helga said: Nobody told me about the support service at the university. I thought it was meant only for students that could not walk. One day I read about it in the university newspaper, and contacted them. They helped me getting extended time during exams and I got an office for myself where I can read and take the rest I need during the day.

When support is experienced as a threat or as suspiciousness The intention of the

When support is experienced as a threat or as suspiciousness The intention of the Scandinavian welfare system is to enable people to participate and taking care of themselves on equal terms. p The other side of support. p

Helen, on vocational rehabilitation: I do not look sick, instead I look quite well.

Helen, on vocational rehabilitation: I do not look sick, instead I look quite well. If I had come there with crutches, it would have been different. I understood when I talked to him (the councellor) that he did not trust me being sick. I think he believes I have fooled them. He asked me a lot of questions on why I was on rehabilitation, why I needed it.

And she continued: It seems like he had not bothered to look into my

And she continued: It seems like he had not bothered to look into my papers, really sat down and read them, and then he gave more trust in his own observartions than in what the papers could have told him.

Kamilla needed adjustments during exams: I can understand why they have to be suspicious,

Kamilla needed adjustments during exams: I can understand why they have to be suspicious, because there is some cheating. But for me it all gave this negative impression. You are new in town and have to find your way around and fix it all by yourself. And she was so negative … I found it really stressing.

’To be met gives energy’ Good and bad experiences meeting people that are of

’To be met gives energy’ Good and bad experiences meeting people that are of importance to you in handling the study situation p Staff members; administrative and professional p

Helen told me: A resource person is good at seeing. I talked to one

Helen told me: A resource person is good at seeing. I talked to one of them about the last paper that I failed, and she said, ’that is not a problem. You have to do what is the right thing for yourself, and tell me if you need me’. That was great for me. Meeting a person like that makes things a little bit easier, and that is one of the main reason why I still am a student at that institute.

And she added: Meeting kindness is central in how much energy you put into

And she added: Meeting kindness is central in how much energy you put into it. It gives you vitality, and makes you want to pass. When people try to understand make adjustments, it gives you a push and a help to put up with the challenges … you can’t continue at an institute, and you can’t bear it if you know you are met by a face telling you: ’oh, is it you again. Are you coming to make it even more complicated for us!’

Helga, about the social advisor: I could talk to her, she had experience, and

Helga, about the social advisor: I could talk to her, she had experience, and she understood more than I did. She helped me finding ways to handle the situation.

Participation (Martin Molin 2004) p Interaction is dependent on both internal conditions (willingness and

Participation (Martin Molin 2004) p Interaction is dependent on both internal conditions (willingness and capacity to participate) and external conditions (the social and physical environment, rules, norms and opportunity given to the person).

Strategies to participation To study at the faculty were they are met with an

Strategies to participation To study at the faculty were they are met with an understanding attitude. p ’Call my mother’. p Physical training or outdoor life. p Regular talks with the councellor for disabled students. p Being as kind as possible. p Competence, knowing the legislation and support systems. p

Consequences Extra time spent in communication with official services and university staff members p

Consequences Extra time spent in communication with official services and university staff members p Less time and energy for studies and leisure activities p Studies came first and friendship were suffering p

References p p p p p Bliksvær, Trond og Hansse, Jan-Inge (2006). Funksjonshemming, utdanning

References p p p p p Bliksvær, Trond og Hansse, Jan-Inge (2006). Funksjonshemming, utdanning og arbeidsmarkedsdeltakelse. Bodø: Respekt, Vol. 2, pp. 52 -55. Brandt, Synnøve (2005). Høyere utdanning – tilgjengelig for alle? Studenter med funksjonsnedsettelse og funksjonshemming i høyere utdanning – Kvalitetsreformens betydning og lærestedenes strategier for inkludering. Oslo: NIFU STEP Brattstrøm, Malin (1998). Likestilling for funksjonshemmede. Sammenlikning av ulike strategier i Danmark, Norge, Sverige og USA. Oslo: Rådet for funksjonshemmede. Charmaz, Kathy (1995). Grounded Theory. In A. Smith, R. Harre and L. van langenhove. Rethinking methods in psychology. Pp. 27 -49. London: Sage. Charmaz, Kathy (2000). Grounded theory. Objectivist and constructivist methods. In n. k. Denzin and Y. S. Lincoln (eds. ) Handbook of qualitative research (2 nd ed. ). pp. 509 -535. Ellegård, K. og Nordell, K. (1997). At byta vanmakt mot egenmakt. Metodbok. Stockholm: Johansson & Skyttmo förlag. Molin, Martin (2004). Delaktighet innom handikapområdet – en begrepsanalys. In A. Gustavsson. Delaktighetens språk. Lund Studentlitteratur, pp. 61 -81. Norges Handikapforbund (2000). Fakta og erfaringer. Oslo: Norges Handikapforbund. Sørheim, Torun Arntsen (1998). Vanlige kvinner – Uvanlige utfordringer. En studie av kvinner med funksjonshemning. Oslo: Institutt for allmennmedisin og samfunnsmedisinske fag, Universitetet i Oslo.