Students with various types of disability may experience difficulty undertaking some tasks associated with academic requirements. The disability may be temporary, as in the case of a fractured wrist, or permanent, as in the case of cerebral palsy.

Eligibility for Participation Assistance

See a Disability Adviser to determine your eligibility for Participation Assistance.

Registration for the Program

Once a Disability Adviser has confirmed your eligibility, s/he will register you for the Program. The Disability Adviser will discuss finding and employing a Participation Assistant for you. You will be given a booklet: Participation Assistance Program Guidelines which explains your responsibilities as well as the role and responsibilities of your Participation Assistant. It also includes additional information helpful to you and your Participation Assistant. Responsibility of Students Accessing the Participation Assistance Program.

You must register with the Disability Adviser each and every semester.

If you withdraw from a course in which you are receiving Participation Assistance you must immediately notify:

  • Your Participation Assistant
  • Your Disability Adviser

You should also contact the Disability Adviser if you are having difficulty with resolving any problems that arise.

You must sign each Casual Salary Claim Form to be submitted by your assistant.

Hints for Students Accessing the Participation Assistance Program

As a student using a Participation Assistant, it is important that you use your allocated hours to their maximum effect. Remember that all the assistance in the world cannot ensure that you will pass a course. To be successful at a university, it is vital that you are self-motivated and know how to organise your time and manage your workload.

To make the most effective use of your Participation Assistant hours, it is recommended that the following guidelines be considered:

  • Always have work planned to do with your Participation Assistant. Do not make up activities to do on the spot; you will end up wasting your time and your assistant's time.
  • Remember that you do not necessarily have to be with the assistant at all times. If you can instruct your assistant exactly what you want done, you can be using your time completing other things.
  • Be aware that your total time can be used as you need it, that is, you may use:
    • more time for one course and less for another
    • more time in one week and less in another.
  • Do not forget to ration your time. Remember that your allocated hours have to last for the whole semester or whole year. You may need to use more hours in the weeks leading up to exams or before major assignments.
  • Try and arrange to use your time in longer blocks rather than lots of short periods. This may take a little more planning but it will be more efficient in the long term and will be better for your Participation Assistant.
  • Take advantage of any specialist skills your Participation Assistant may have. For example if your assistant has a good knowledge of computers, you may be able to pick up a few computer pointers from them.
  • Do not be afraid to tell your Participation Assistant if you would like them to carry out tasks differently. Your assistant is not a mind reader; if you want something done, you must communicate effectively with them. Giving feedback to your Participation Assistant about how things are going is a very good way of improving the quality of assistance you receive.
  • In the event that there is a major personality clash between you and your Participation Assistant, contact your Disability Adviser immediately. Do not let the problem affect your study by doing nothing about it.
  • Always use your time effectively do not expect your Participation Assistant to do the work for you. It's your academic career, not his/hers and he/she cannot sit exams for you.

What is a Participation Assistant?

Participation Assistants are casual staff employed by the University of Queensland to carry out tasks required by a student with a disability. Assistance can include Library work, Laboratory/Field Work, Mobility Assistance and/or Typing/Writing Assistance.

What is Involved?

A Participation Assistant may be engaged to assist a student with a disability to perform a variety of academic (or related) tasks. The nature of these tasks will depend largely on the nature of the student's disability but may include:

Library Assistance

  • Identifying required information: through the use of computer catalogues, microfiche, CD-ROM and reference collections
  • Locating, borrowing and photocopying Material.
  • Reading material such as abstracts, indices and content pages for students with a vision impairment

Laboratory/Field Work Assistance

  • Assisting with performing experimental work that requires fine motor skills
  • Taking notes during field work or site visits
  • Reading OHTs or handouts to students during tutorials or laboratory sessions
  • Explaining to students with a vision impairment the progress of experimental work

Mobility Assistance

  • Assisting students in carrying books and equipment to and from lectures, tutorials, laboratories and the library.
  • Carrying books, assignments etc to and from the student's vehicle.

Typing/Writing Assistance

  • Transcribing and typing assignments from audiotape or collected data.
  • Proofreading of typed or handwritten assignment


All Participation Assistants are employed at HEW Level 1, increment 1, under a Casual Staff Employment Contract and are paid on an hourly basis for work done. Participation Assistants using specialist skills may be entitled to a different rate of pay – this will be discussed before you start working and should not be assumed. The terms and conditions of employment are in accord with the applicable Awards and Enterprise Agreements.


If you are interested in becoming a Participation Assistant for future semesters, please login to the Disability Management System (DMS). If your assistance is required, Student Services will contact you with further information.

* For general enquiries relating to Participation Assistance, please contact the Disability Administrative Officer at