UCT is committed to working towards the creation of a discrimination free and inclusive environment, which encourages disabled students’ full, independent and effective participation in the mainstream of university life. The Disability Service works together with students and staff to facilitate the removal of barriers facing disabled students and staff.
We strive to remove all physical, policy, information and attitudinal barriers that might prevent disabled members of the UCT community from fulfilling their potential. Whether this means improving building access, arranging for extra time during exams or employing sign-language interpreters, the Disability Service is there to help. We are also responsible for developing and implementing disability policy and procedures. UCT’s Policy on Disability was adopted by the Council in 2011.
Our services include:
Real time text transcription
To assist Deaf students with lecture content peer transcribers are sourced from the student’s class and selected after passing a text transcribing test for speed and accuracy. They transcribe the lecture in real time as the lecture is in progress. Google drive and Google docs are used for captioning and reading.
South African Sign Language interpreters
South African Sign Language interpreters are available for Deaf students during lectures and at key UCT events.
Material for visually impaired students
Scanning and proofreading material for visually impaired students is done by Disability Service volunteers and electronic documents are text converted to accessible formats if needed. Duxbury translating software and an embosser are available for braille printing if requested and documents can also be placed in an accessible format for reading using screen reading software.
Audio transcripts of YouTube lectures for Deaf students are done by Disability Service volunteers.
Speech-to-text, text-to-audio and voice over services
Read and Write Literacy Software is used in combination with Dragon Naturally Speaking Software to provide text-to-audio and speech-to-text facilities for students with dyslexia and hand mobility difficulties. An Apple iPad voice over facility has also been used by a student with a stutter to do presentations.
Notetakers, scribes and practical lab assistants
Assistants are sourced to support students with a variety of handwriting difficulties and for Deaf students. Notetakers are sourced from the individual classes, while scribes and practical assistants are postgraduates.
Podiums and kneeling chairs
Assistive furniture is provided to support students with back injuries.
Zoomtext, large screen monitor and Merlin Magnifier
Zoomtext, a large screen monitor and a Merlin Magnifier are available in the 24-hour Hlanganani Study Space. There is also a Merlin Magnifer in the Law Library.
Disability Service study space
The Disability Service study space includes 13 computers with large screen monitors, Zoomtext, Jaws software and Merlin Magnifiers for visually impaired students.
Exam and test writing support
Support for students with a wide variety of disabilities has continued to increase. Test and exam specialised accommodations include:
Wheelchair users are provided with accessible exam and test writing spaces
Computers with special software (JAWS, Zoomtext, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Texthelp Read and Write Literacy software) are provided for students who need this support
Scribing assistance is available for students with handwriting difficulties
Assistive furniture including podiums, beds and kneeling chairs for students recovering from back surgery
A secluded writing space for students with epilepsy or Tourette’s (where verbalisation has to occur in a space away from the other students)
Comfortable furniture and an accessible writing venue for students with broken legs
Secluded writing venues for students with mental health conditions referred by Mental Health professionals.
Advocacy and advice
We provide advocacy and advice on disability issues, educational learning disabilities and attitudinal barriers.
Accessible venues and parking
We work with a range of campus stakeholders to improve access to inaccessible venues and provide designated disabled parking.
We ensure fully accessible transport between residences and lectures.
Disability studies and research
The Disability Service makes available literature and material related to disability studies and disability research.
Become a Disability Service volunteer
The Disability Service is supported by a team of dedicated volunteers. For more information about volunteering contact 021 650 2427.