Accessibility and neurodiversity

Accessibility and neurodiversity is one of the six focus areas in our Workplace Diversity Plan and one of six Employee Networks at Charles Sturt. Accessibility and neurodiversity includes people who have physical, mental, intellectual, developmental, or sensory impairments that may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

While many neurodivergent people do not consider themselves to have a disability, neurodiversity is included here in recognition of the fact that some neurodivergent individuals may need additional support or reasonable adjustments to be able to participate fully and effectively at work.

Accessibility and Neurodiversity Champions

Our Accessibility and Neurodiversity Champions advocate and promote matters related to accessibility and inclusion for employees who identify as or care for someone who is neurodiverse or with disability, with university stakeholders.

Professional Staff Champion

Profile photo of Carlo Iacono

Carlo Iacono, University Librarian, Division of Library Services

"I have worked with and managed colleagues with varying neurodiversity. I would be proud to be an ally and support as I can."

Academic Staff Champion

Profile photo of Lewis Bizo

Lewis Bizo, Executive Dean, Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences

"In my role as Executive Dean I can actively work towards creating a more inclusive and diverse academic community, ensuring that individuals have equal access to opportunities and resources, both as students and staff."

Accessibility and Neurodiversity Employee Network

The Accessibility and Neurodiversity Employee Network aims to provide a safe place for people to connect with one another and create dialogue around diversity, workplace inclusion and belonging at Charles Sturt.

The network unites people who share an identity or lived experience, and those who support them or those who would like to learn more about their perspectives and experiences. It's also a forum to raise issues of importance, provide feedback and guide decisions around University priorities and initiatives that impact you.

The inaugural Accessibility and Neurodiversity Network meeting was held on 5 October 2023 and was attended by staff from a range of areas across the university.

2024 meeting dates

Wednesday 26 June, 11am - 12pm, Download meeting invitation

Wednesday 21 August, 1pm - 2pm, Download meeting invitation

Tuesday 8 October, 1pm - 2pm, Download meeting invitation

Tuesday 10 December, 10am - 11am, Download meeting invitation

Information, resources and support

We are committed to providing a safe and accessible working environment for neurodiverse staff and staff with disability to reduce barriers and ensure they can participate fully and effectively at work.

  • Workplace adjustments

    Charles Sturt's Disability and Work or Study Adjustment Policy

    • Applies to current and prospective staff and students who have temporary or permanent disability or who have carer responsibilities for a person with disability.
    • Outlines the University's commitment to providing an accessible and inclusive work and study environment that enables staff and students with disability or caring responsibility for a person with disability to participate in university life on an equitable basis with other members of the University community.

    Charles Sturt's Workplace Adjustment Procedure

    • Applies to current and prospective staff and students who have temporary or permanent disability that impacts their ability to perform their role.
    • Does not apply to compensable work-related injury or illness managed under the University's injury management program (see Workers compensation - Division of Safety, Security and Wellbeing if you are injured at work).
    • The procedure describes how to request and implement workplace adjustments to accommodate a non-work related injury, medical condition or disability.

    What are workplace adjustments?

    Workplace adjustments may also be referred to as 'reasonable adjustments'. They are changes to work environments, work processes or procedures that allow staff with medical conditions, injuries or disability to perform their role to the best of their ability in a way that reduces the impact of barriers they may face at work.

    Adjustments should be responsive to the individual needs of the employee but can include things like

    • changes to job design, work schedules or practices in ways that do not compromise performance of the inherent requirements of the role
    • modifying or providing equipment
    • use of inclusive technology (e.g. screen readers, dictation programs)
    • providing a gradual return to full duties after a significant absence or illness
    • providing training or other assistance
    • modifying the work premises.

    Reasonable adjustment, unjustifiable hardship and inherit role requirements

    By law, the University must make reasonable adjustments where required to enable a person with a temporary or permanent disability to perform the inherent requirements of their position unless it would result in unjustifiable hardship

    Workplace adjustments aren't intended to change the inherent requirements of a position, but to support a person with a disability to fulfill them.

    Apart from providing reasonable adjustment, if you're unable to undertake the inherent requirements of the position, the University has no legal obligation to ensure your ongoing employment.

    Funding workplace adjustments

    In many cases, there will be no direct cost or only a modest cost involved in introducing a workplace adjustment. How a workplace adjustment is funded depends on the nature of the adjustment and the cost.

    The University will not fund the cost of personal aids that are required for private purposes nor will it pay the cost of treatment, except in the case of a workplace injury.

    The Workplace Adjustment Procedure (clauses 26 and 27) outlines the options available to staff and managers where funding is required to implement workplace adjustments.

    Where possible, funding for workplace adjustments will be sought through available external funding sources such as the Australian Government Employment Assistance Fund.

    Requesting workplace adjustments and options for disclosure

    The Workplace Adjustment Procedure describes the process of requesting workplace adjustments (clauses 11-14) and the options for staff regarding disclosure (clause 15).

    Staff who have a condition, injury or disability that impacts their ability to perform their role can request an adjustment at any stage of their employment. With the consent of the staff member, their supervisor may also make a request.

    Staff have no obligation to disclose disability unless it's likely to affect their ability to fulfil the inherent requirements of their role. However, disclosure about the nature of the injury, medical condition or disability to their supervisor and/or a representative from the Division of People and Culture is required if a workplace adjustment is requested or required.

    We recognise that staff may not wish to disclose details about their condition or disability to their supervisor. If this is the case, they can contact the Division of People and Culture (DPC) or the DPC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team The DPC representative will work with the employee to develop a Workplace Adjustment Plan that can be negotiated with their supervisor.

    At all times, the Division of People and Culture representative responsible for assessing a request for workplace adjustment will respect the privacy of the staff member.

    Assessing a request for workplace adjustment

    Clauses 16-19 of the Workplace Adjustment Procedure detail the actions that the Division of People and Culture (DPC) representative will take upon receiving a request for workplace adjustment.

    The DPC representative will consult the staff member to determine the nature and duration of the condition, the impact on their work, if the condition is likely to change and any adjustments the employee has suggested. Additional documentation of assessment by a medical practitioner, psychologist or other recognised professional specialist may be requested.

    If further specialist evaluation is required to identify and implement appropriate adjustments, the DPC representative may source additional information from a medical practitioner, occupational therapist, allied health provider, Government support agency, or disability service provider (as appropriate, and with the consent of the staff member).

    While consideration will be given to the preferences of the individual, the assessment of a request will also take into account:

    • the reasonableness of the request
    • any health practitioner recommendations
    • the options available
    • the operational requirements of the University
    • whether the adjustment will help the person meet the inherent requirements of their position.

    Administering and implementing workplace adjustments

    The Workplace Adjustment Procedure (clauses 20-25) outline how workplace adjustments are administered at Charles Sturt. After an assessment has been made, the DPC representative will discuss recommended adjustment(s) with the employee and their supervisor and complete a Workplace Adjustment Plan.

    What is a Workplace Adjustment Plan?    

    A confidential document that records workplace adjustments, how they will be implemented, the functional limitations they intend to address and when they will be reviewed. Plans can also include communication strategies and details about any support or training they may be required for colleagues.

    While a Workplace Adjustment plan is negotiated and agreed to by the employee and their supervisor, the level of detail and information included in a Plan is up to the employee.

    Having a plan in place helps ensure continuity of arrangements. It means that if something changes, there's documentation that can be referred to or built upon instead of starting the process anew.

    Workplace Adjustment Plans are confidential. Besides the employee, their supervisor/manager, the DPC representative and any communication requirements agreed in the Plan, it's up to the staff member to decide what information is provided to anyone else and who has access to their Plan.

    Implementing, monitoring and updating a Workplace Adjustment Plan

    Clauses 28-31 of the Workplace Adjustment Procedure detail the review and monitoring cycle for Workplace Adjustment Plans.

    Implementation is a joint responsibility between the employee and their supervisor. If the supervisor changes, it’s up to the employee to ensure that their new supervisor is aware of their Plan.

    Apart from the review dates included in the Plan, ongoing adjustments should be reviewed annually as part of the Employee Development and Review process. This helps to make sure that adjustments are still relevant and effective. If the condition/disability is temporary, the Workplace Adjustment Plan is closed once the employee no longer requires any form of workplace adjustment.

    Employees may also request a review and amendment of their Workplace Adjustment Plan because of any changes related to their disability or work situation.

    If an employee believes that a Change Management process (as outlined in the Enterprise Agreement) will impact the adjustments agreed to in their Plan, they should raise this with the Division of People and Culture.

    Appeals and complaints

    Please refer to clauses 32-33 of the Workplace Adjustment Procedure which detail staff options for appeals and complaints related to the Workplace Adjustment Procedure.

    External links and resources

    Please see 'Resources, guides and tools' below for links to a range of external guides and resources on workplace adjustments.

  • Flexible work

    Charles Sturt strives to create a fair and inclusive workplace including offering flexible work arrangements that help staff to balance their work and life commitments while meeting the operational needs of the University.

    Flexible, hybrid, or remote work arrangements may be suitable for staff for a range of reasons, including attending medical appointments, attending treatment or having rest periods. Flexibility that responds to an individual’s needs also helps to ensure that employees can fulfil their roles while meeting their unique scheduling needs due to differences in thinking, learning, and behaving.

    See Workplace flexibility to learn about our guiding principles around staff flexibility and explore what options may be available to you.

  • Leave

    Charles Sturt staff may be entitled to various types of leave including:

    • Annual leave - paid time off that allows you to relax and recharge
    • Long service leave - recognises your continuous service at the University and provides a chance for you to rest and relax
    • Personal leave - if you or a member of your immediate family or household requires care due to illness
    • Fleixble working hours - if you're eligible and have your supervisor's approval, you may accumulate time off for extra hours you work. This is known as 'flexi-time'. You may also be able to work flexible hours, depending on the needs of your work area.
    • Special leave - if you have leave available, you can use special leave for a limited range of emergency situations.
    • Leave without pay - you may apply for leave without pay for a range of reasons, including family responsibilities or illness.

    See Leave - People and Culture for further information.

  • External resources, guides and tools

    Conversations and disclosure

    Workplace adjustments and support

    Neurodivergence in the workplace

    Legislation and government support agencies

  • Support and contact

    We support and work with staff who have a temporary or permanent medical condition, injury or disability that impacts on their ability to do their job by:

    • taking steps to ensure that their workplace is accessible
    • providing information, advice and about regarding workplace adjustments including exploring external funding options
    • introducing reasonable workplace adjustments to reduce barriers and allow them to meet the inherent requirements of their role
    • working with managers and supervisors to implement workplace adjustments
    • providing training and information on inclusive workplace practices

    Contact the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team if you have questions or would like to learn more.

    If you have been injured at work, please make a report or contact the Division of Safety, Security and Wellbeing.