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Educating special needs requirements

  • Kelvin Grimes

Disabled students now account for almost 10% of further/higher education learners, so educational institutions need to adjust to accommodate their needs.

Under current legislation, the duty of responsibility is to disabled people in general, not to individual students who may enrol on a course; institutions therefore have a duty to make ‘anticipatory’ adjustments.

But adjustments need to extend beyond the obvious assistive technology of special computers, hearing loops etc. It applies to the physical environment, and not just access and egress of buildings.

Remember, we all go to the toilet. It’s something we do several times a day. Careful consideration of options whether as part of a new build or a refurbishment can achieve optimum value engineering, making best use of available space, and creating an appropriate environment.

Bear in mind that according to many disabled people- and that includes students- conventional supposedly accessible/ compliant facilities fall short: support rails in the wrong place, WC too close to the wall to facilitate transfer…

Ideally, use an access consultant, or a specialist such as ourselves, who design these rooms on an almost daily basis. Get it right, and open the doors to see our children realise their potential.

Closomat Limited, Building 1, Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale Cheshire, M33 3SD