Jemima MacDonald is the coordinator of the uni 2 beyond initiative, hosted by the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS). The initiative supports adults with an intellectual disability to experience university life at the University of Sydney. She has been involved in uni 2 beyond initiative since 2013, and currently supports 11 students, over 50 mentors, and 25 lecturing staff. Jemima also leads the internship aspect of uni 2 beyond, placing and supporting students to attend 6 week placements in corporate organisations. As part of her role, she works with these organisations to increase their awareness of how employing people with intellectual disability can be beneficial to organisations and the importance to have a diverse workforce.
At CDS, Jemima also coordinates social networking groups, where she brings people with and without disabilities together to attend local events and experience age appropriate social gatherings in a safe, inclusive and supported way. Jemima has a strong passion for inclusion, and sees the rights of people with disabilities to be involved in all aspects of the community as paramount to a better society for us all.
Jemima MacDonald holds a Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology, and a Master’s Degree in Developmental Disability. At the Centre for Disability Studies, she is involved in areas of research, evaluations, teaching, training and person centred planning.
Ms Sylvana Mahmic is the CEO of Plumtree and an advocate for early childhood intervention and self-management. She has served on over 15 reference and advisory groups in addition to five Ministerial appointments including membership of the Disability Council NSW. Ms Mahmic is treasurer of Early Childhood Intervention Australia NSW, Member of the Access Advisory Group NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, member of the NSW Family and Community Services Multicultural Advisory Group and Board member of Diversity Disability Alliance.
Ms Mahmic has worked for over twenty years in the early childhood intervention field, with a particular expertise in a whole of family and community approach to early childhood intervention. She has developed several initiatives which target the wider community, in particular, the culturally and linguistically diverse community.
Sylvania has a Bachelor of Education (Primary), Master of Education (Special Education Integration) and is a Doctoral Candidate
Currently, Ms Mahmic is undertaking post-graduate research with a focus on individualised support and self-directed funding. Ms Mahmic has a son who has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. He has been utilising self-managed funding since 2009. Ms Mahmic was a member of the first IAC from 2013-2017, and was reappointed for a second term in July 2017.
Karim has never let his disability get in the way of his love of learning and getting out and about in his community.
At 27 years old, Karim was accepted into an initiative at Sydney University that allows him to study subjects of his choice.
The initiative, uni 2 beyond, enables people with intellectual disability the chance to explore their passions at university, from music education to business studies, and make new friends in the process.
The NDIS means Karim can employ the right support to get to uni, so he can continue enjoying his studies.
Karim is also a driven business man, and loves running disability advocacy workshops for staff in the corporate sector.
“I’m looking forward to the NDIS helping me achieve all my goals, not only at uni, but also to expand my mico-business so that one day I can have my dream job.”
People with Intellectual Disabilities Included within a University Setting: A Framework for Success
Currently in Australia, the inclusion of people with intellectual disability into mainstream primary and secondary schooling is becoming a somewhat more common experience, however, the leap into tertiary level inclusion is a new frontier. Around the globe, universities are beginning to shift paradigms to include people with intellectual disabilities on their campuses. In Australia, uni 2 beyond is one of two inclusive education initiatives available for adults with intellectual disability who want to experience university life. The presentation focuses on the framework that uni 2 beyond has developed and successfully implemented within the University of Sydney. This framework has seen 33 adults with intellectual disability engage in university life through attending lecturers and tutorials of their choice, joining clubs and societies, and develop peer-to-peer relationships with university students.
There is gap in what currently exists for people with intellectual disability to experience inclusive tertiary education in Australia. This must be recognised so that more opportunities for true inclusion can become available across Australia.