Special Needs Contact Network

Academic Schools and some Directorates have a designated staff member, who assists students and staff members at their school with the provision of school-based reasonable adjustments for students registered with the Special Needs Office.

The Special Needs Contact provides a link between the Special Needs Office and the Academic School. It is a voluntary role, which is appointed by the Head of School.

The role of the Special Needs Contact is broad and may include the following:

  • Be a contact person in the school for students with a disability.
  • Keep a copy of all Study Access Plans (SAPs) of students studying in the school and liaise with lecturers and students regarding school-based reasonable adjustments.
  • Provide advice to students about relevant processes specific to the school.
  • Provide advice to staff about reasonable adjustments and inclusive teaching practices for individual students and generally.
  • Assist the Special Needs Office in advising other staff on their rights and responsibilities under the Disability Standards for Education 2005.
  • Refer students to the Special Needs Office, where appropriate.
  • Assist the Special Needs Office to generate and develop disability awareness in the school.
  • Advise the Special Needs Office on any relevant changes to processes or policies within the school.
  • Liaise with students and the Special Needs Office about any concerns raised in the school regarding the provision of support for students with a disability.

For more information for staff about UNE's obligations to provide reasonable adjustments to students with special needs, please see the Special Needs Office's staff-specific sites.

The Special Needs Office and the National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) have developed a manual on working with students with a disability for UNE staff.

What is NOT the role of the Special Needs Contact

Staff members in the Special Needs Contact Network are not required to:

  • Assess medical documentation and develop Study Access Plans (SAPs) for students.
    • Study Access Plans (SAPs) are only developed in the Special Needs Office. Students, who are not registered with the Special Needs Office, may still request reasonable adjustments to be put in place from unit coordinators or other staff members; however it is at the discretion of each school to determine, how they manage these requests. For example, a school may ask for medical documentation to verify a student's request or may ask the student to register with the Special Needs Office.
  • Manage final examination adjustments.
    • To receive reasonable adjustments for final, invigilated examinations, students need to be registered with the Special Needs Office. The Special Needs Office then directly liaises with the Examinations Office to put these adjustments in place.
  • Approve academic adjustments.
    • The approval of academic adjustments, such as extensions of time for assignments and extra time for in-class tests, is at the discretion of unit coordinators or other designated staff members at the school. Students need to request these adjustments for each assessment directly from unit coordinators. Special Needs Contacts can assist with these requests.
  • Arrange Alternative Assessments to replace final, invigilated examinations.
    • A small number of students may need to complete alternative assessments, if they are unable to attend an examination centre. These assessments are negotiated between the Special Needs Office and unit coordinators; however a Special Needs Contact may act as a liaison person to oversee or manage alternative assessments.

List of Special Needs Contact Network

SchoolContact NamePhone (02 6773 +)Email
LawMichelle Edgeley & Lyn Gollanx2580




Rural MedicineIlona Mairx4084bmedyearmanagers@une.edu.au
HumanitiesDr Karin von Strokirchx3132kvonstro@une.edu.au
ArtsPeter O'Donohue & Elizabeth McLellandx3061




Behavioural, Cognitive
and Social Sciences
Susan Birchellx3820sbircha@une.edu.au
Business SchoolSujana Adapax2915sadapa2@une.edu.au
EducationDr Anne-Marie Morganx3869amorga23@une.edu.au
Environmental & Rural SciencePlease contact your
unit coordinator/s for
school-specific requests
HealthLiz Ryanx3934eryan26@une.edu.au
Science & TechnologyMelody Parkesx2298mrummer3@une.edu.au
OoralaDarin Gorryx3474dgorry@une.edu.au
Pathways Enabling CourseAlex Dunn & Ingrid Wijeyewardenex3480




If you have any questions, please contact the Special Needs Office on 02 6773 2897 or disabilities@une.edu.au.