At universities around the country, there is an effort being made to make campuses more inclusive and accessible for students of all backgrounds. Therefore, it is important that we are always looking out for ways in which we can improve the experience of disabled students at the University of Edinburgh.
Whilst information for disabled students is readily available on the disability services section of the university’s website, there is always more that must be considered when applying to and studying at a university such as Edinburgh. Helaina Cressy, a former Veterinary Medicine applicant to the university with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bone Disease, provided ample information on the unique challenges disabled students face when getting around the campus.
Being a university with multiple campuses spread across the city, Edinburgh generally tends to be less accessible for those with physical disabilities than universities with a single campus. The great distances required to travel for students, especially for those with classes split between Kings and George Square, make the commute to class more difficult for disabled students.
An invaluable tool that ensures all students are getting the education they deserve is lecture recordings. Although there are many lectures at the university that are recorded, there remain courses, for example French, that still fail to provide lecture recordings. This piece of technology makes a university education more accessible for all and is a vital aspect of a disabled student’s university experience. Recordings ensure that those with physical disabilities do not miss out on course content and are also a highly useful tool for students with auditory processing disorders who would benefit from listening to lectures multiple times.
It is also important to remember that for those with a disability, it may be vital for them to refrain from drinking due to safety and/ or medication they may be taking. Although there are many non-drinking events on throughout the year, there should always be a conscious effort in creating a no-pressure environment when it comes to drinking alcohol.
It is important to keep in mind that social events such as pub crawls may be difficult for those with a disability as Edinburgh’s historic architecture means that many bars, pubs and clubs require stairs to access and long distances to cover.
It should always be ensured that there are plenty of seats available for students with physical disabilities who do not use a wheelchair, as they may still find it more difficult to move from place to place. Even Teviot Row House proves to be problematic for disabled students as despite the wheelchair access door, those who require a wheelchair are still advised to only move around the building with assistance. This makes it difficult for people to be independent when attending events in the building.
Although there still remains many improvements that have to be made in order to make the campuses at the University of Edinburgh more accessible for all students, the disability services located in the Main Library are an excellent resource for disabled students applying to and studying at the university.
By taking into account each individual student’s needs, the university can then play a pivotal role in making the campus a more accessible place. This also creates an environment welcome to all who wish to join and become part of the community.
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