Opinion Paper

Inclusion, universal design and universal design for learning in higher education: South Africa and the United States

Elizabeth M. Dalton, Marcia Lyner-Cleophas, Britt T. Ferguson, Judith McKenzie
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a519 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.519 | © 2019 Elizabeth M. Dalton, Marcia Lyner-Cleophas, Britt T. Ferguson, Judith McKenzie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 March 2018 | Published: 29 July 2019

About the author(s)

Elizabeth M. Dalton, Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, United States; and, Dalton Education Services International, Hope Valley, Rhode Island, United States
Marcia Lyner-Cleophas, Disability Unit, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Britt T. Ferguson, Special Education, National University, San Diego, United States
Judith McKenzie, Disability Studies Division, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

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Around the world, institutions of higher education are recognising their responsibilities to achieve the full inclusion of individuals with differing needs and/or disabilities. The frameworks of universal design (UD) and universal design for learning (UDL) offer unique ways to build inclusiveness in our systems. The role of UD and UDL to strengthen successful inclusion of persons with differing needs in higher education programmes is presented from literature, inclusive of national and international policies and resources. Examples from South African and US institutions of higher learning are shared. Discussions of online accessibility, environmental issues, professional development, barriers to inclusion and recommendations for future development in an international context provide a vision for developing inclusive learning environments in higher education.


Universal Design; Universal Design for Learning; Universal Access; Inclusion; Inclusive Education


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