Original Research - Special Collection: The role of Assistive Technology

Assistive technology enables inclusion in higher education: The role of Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association

Marcia Lyner-Cleophas
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a558 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.558 | © 2019 Marcia Lyner-Cleophas | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2018 | Published: 22 August 2019

About the author(s)

Marcia Lyner-Cleophas, Disability Unit, Centre for Student Counselling and Development, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


Background: Using assistive technology is one way to foster inclusion of students in the post-school education and training (PSET) sector.

Objectives: Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association (HEDSA) enables the sharing of new knowledge about assistive technologies through its symposia, and making information available on its website. Additionally, it facilitates dialogue and collaboration amongst institutions in the PSET network using a listserv and newsletters, given that PSET institutions are spread countrywide.

Method: This is an article based on a presentation at the 5th African Network of Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference in Ghana in 2017 that focused on the value of assistive technology for students pursuing studies in the PSET sector and the role played by HEDSA in South Africa.

Results: The positive gains and existing gaps in disability inclusion in the higher education sector in South Africa are highlighted, with reference to access to technology. All higher education institutions have internet access and can thereby make use of listservs to communicate information. MapAbility is a way that prospective students can gain a snapshot view of available resources at institutions of learning, using the internet.

Conclusion: An association such as HEDSA plays a critical role in the PSET sector to enhance disability inclusion using online tools to disseminate information.


disability inclusion; assistive technology; post-school education and training sector (PSET); Disability Units; HEDSA; listserv; MapAbility


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