DISABLED UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF A SUPPORT PROGRAM IN A SPANISH UNIVERSITY

Á. Iglesias

University Rey Juan Carlos (SPAIN)
Universities are traditional educational institutions whose main purposes are to transmit knowledge and to promote quality research, but they are currently required to carry out these core activities with the utmost respect for equal opportunities and non-discrimination, developing and enhancing the capabilities of students with disabilities. However, Spanish universities are still mostly designed to accommodate normal students who do not have any kind of disability. This is evident not only in the physical structures, but also in the curricular designs, in the methodologies used and in the absence of training for lectures and administrative staff. In this context, the purpose of this paper is to present the objectives and measures of the student support service policy of a Spanish university. To this end, we will firstly describe and examine the objectives and actions within the program, and then carry out a first qualitative evaluation and assessment of it, based on semi-structured interviews with both those responsible for and beneficiaries of the program. The results show satisfaction on the part of the beneficiary students and more favorable perceptions and attitudes on the part of administrative staff and lecturers concerning the need to take into account the educational requirements of students with disabilities.