University of The Free State Disability Unit
University of The Free State Disability Unit, We are an educational/research organisation. Our unit plays an emerging institutional role in valiant activism for and sustained effort to champion the cause of students with disabilities and the values of universal access at the University of the Free State. Our unit symbolises the process of change and institutional aspiration of a university community as a whole. We are open from 08:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.
CUADS will strive to facilitate, create opportunities for, and enhance students’ critical thought and ways of being that are consistent with human rights and the principles of social justice.
To develop and implement co-curricular programmes, activities, and services that provide truly humanising daily lived experiences which are essential for student academic success, social behaviour, student engagement, and an inclusive institutional culture.
The values of CUADS are:
- Commitment (including accountability, cohesion, and trust)
- Excellence (including innovation and inspiration)
- Integrity (including honesty, respect, and fairness)
- Compassion (including humanity)
- Critical diversity
Principles of Universal Design:
1. Equitable use – Useful and accessible to people with diverse abilities.
2. Flexibility in use – Accommodate a wide range of individual abilities and preferences.
3. Simple and intuitive use – Easy to understand in a straightforward and predictable manner, regardless of the person’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
4. Perceptible information – Information is communicated effectively, regardless of the ambient conditions or the person’s sensory abilities.
5. Tolerance for error – Minimise hazards and adverse consequences of unintended actions and anticipate variation in individual student learning pace and prerequisite skills.
6. Low physical effort – Ensure efficient and comfortable use with a minimum of fatigue and minimise nonessential physical effort in order to allow maximum attention to learning.
7. Size and space for approach and use – Provide appropriate size and space for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of a person’s body size, posture, or mobility.
8. A community of learners – Environment promotes interaction and communication among students, between students and lecturers, and within the greater UFS community.
9. Instructional climate – Develop teaching and learning methods that are welcoming and inclusive. High expectations are espoused for all students.
The institutional focus of support to SwD (Students with Disabilities) at the UFS is now changing from ‘special’ accommodations for individuals, to the creation of a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering to all students. Integrated learning and education methodologies and processes are being researched and developed to create more awareness among lecturing staff and incorporating universal design into faculty instruction and curricula.
The goal is to become a higher-education institution recognised for its efforts in human reconciliation by creating and providing opportunities for students with disabilities to ultimately achieve academically and to have an institutional culture of embracing and welcoming of persons with disabilities on all three campuses of the UFS.