2001 Clinical and Scientific Meeting

D. I. W. Morris, TSTC, HDT(Sec)., B.Voc.Ed.&Train., Dip.RBM.

Faculty of Education,
Deakin University
Victoria, Australia

Postal Address:
Mrs. D.I.W. Morris
"Benwerrin",
Fish Point RSD,
Lake Boga, 3584
Victoria.

Education, Equity and Cognitive Dysfunction Dilemmas

This paper addresses the issue of the Cognitive Dysfunction of ME/CFS affecting education and educational outcomes for students and also how the present system leaves vulnerable medical practitioners, disability officers, academics and teachers under the Federal Disability Discrimination Act, 1992.

My doctoral research is into 'The lived experience of ME/CFS: a study in human rights and equity in tertiary education'. It has forty participants from twenty-four of the thirty nine Australian universities and eight TAFE/OTEN institutions. All states and territories of Australia are represented. All participants, without being asked, drew attention to the adverse impact of the cognitive dysfunction of ME/CFS on their academic experiences. The research reveals that no attention has been given to making appropriate accommodations for this symptom. The present situation is that the only symptom of ME/CFS which is being accommodated in tertiary education is fatigue.

The FDDA (1992), especially Section 6, Indirect Discrimination, allows for all persons to have equity accommodations commensurate with their disability. Further it is not a legal defence to say that a person did not know of their responsibilities under this act. Currently, medical practitioners and disability liaison officers (often social workers), who are not trained educators, are forced to make assessments outside their areas of expertise on educational outcomes. Trained educators, capable of assessing the impact are not involved in the making of recommendations for accommodation. This is the equity and cognitive dysfunction dilemma in education.

 

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