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Natalie Wade

Natalie Wade

I recently completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (double degree) at the University of Adelaide.  One of the iconic features of The University of Adelaide’s main campus is that it is filled with grand, historic sand stone buildings.  These buildings make for a beautiful backdrop to graduation photos and complement the spectacular purple jacaranda trees in the Spring. However, they are not the ideal for students in wheelchairs. 

When I began my studies at the University of Adelaide, access was a large hurdle.  There had not been many predecessors in wheelchairs in the Law and Business disciplines so many of the tutorial rooms, lecture theatres and other facilities were not wheelchair-ready. 

Fortunately, my arrival at University came at time when the DDA had been in full force for nearly 15 years and so education institutions were up to speed on what was required of them when faced with a student with a disability.  Upon my enrolment the University clearly demonstrated their understanding of the obligations placed on tertiary institutions under the DDA.  In turn, the lifts became more accessible, desks at lower heights and lecture theatres with clear access points. Over my five years at University I have seen one of the oldest Australian Universities undertake to make their campus more accessible and re-focus on true equality for students with disabilities.

Having now finished my degrees at the University of Adelaide I am set to head into legal practice in early 2013 and look forward to a prosperous career that has been built on a foundation of equality through proper access and opportunity to education.