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This paper reports on a small-scale project undertaken with tertiary students who identified as having an impairment either at enrolment or by registering with the university's Disability Support Unit (DSU). The aim of the study was to explore with these students ways in which the university was currently meeting their academic support needs and the ways in which these needs might be better met. Consistent with the definition of disability within the Australian Disability Discrimination Act, it became apparent that a significant number of students who identified with that definition, or sought help from disability services, also presented with needs arising from chronic illness. The majority of participants cited an emotional or psychological illness, rather than a physical, intellectual or sensory one, as a possible precursor to difficulties in engagement with the university. We conclude by considering whether commonly used institutional categories are apposite to an understanding of the ways in which students perceive themselves and, importantly, their engagement with the university and success within it.

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Journal Article

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