Developing an Autonomous-Support Culture in Higher Education for Disabled Students

Arinola Adefila*, Christine Broughan, Diane Phimister, Joanne Opie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Inclusive practices have enhanced opportunities for many disabled people to engage in Higher Education; however, although support services that are central to success are increasing they are still intermittent and atomistic. Poor continuity of support is a systemic problem, particularly for students who engage in offsite placements where organisational structures do not adopt a student-centred approach. UK Universities require students to opt-into programmes of support that may necessitate rigorous paper work and labelling processes that may disempower students. Such models of support deter students from disclosing a disability and accessing relevant resources and support in a timely manner. This paper argues that using Self Determination Theory, HE Institutions can develop bespoke models of support, which will enable disabled students to utilize their autonomy agency and capabilities. This approach provides students with the requisite tools needed to take responsibility for their own learning and seek appropriate and timely support when needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100890
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number3
Early online date3 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


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