Part of a community

When Beth Noble was planning her undergraduate degree, her first priority was a visit to Disability Services at Victoria University.

Beth Noble sits at a desk working on a laptop.

Beth, who has just completed the first year of a Master’s in Building Science, has been engaging with Victoria’s Disability Services throughout her time at the University. The greatest strength of the service, she says, is its emphasis on supporting people to develop the skills they need to thrive at university.

"One of the things I really appreciate about Disability Services is that they're always happy to help you—from organising exam arrangements to facilitating communication and understanding with teaching staff. I think one of their strengths is encouraging students to start taking ownership of their individual needs where possible, and actively assisting them to build the confidence and skills to achieve this.

“Being encouraged to grow and become more confident has been really valuable to me, and I think will be very helpful once I leave university.”

Beth, who is on the autism spectrum and has Type 1 Diabetes, is the outgoing President of student-run disability advocacy group CanDo. The group works closely with Disability Services to promote disability awareness and inclusion at Victoria.

“Both Disability Services and CanDo have a strength-based approach—what are you good at? How can we help you to be the best you can be? How can we remove some of those barriers that society has placed on you?”

The two organisations have also helped Beth to find her place in the disability community, she says.

“It has been really good finding other people out there who are facing the same challenges. Becoming part of a community has been a huge part of becoming who I am today.

“I’ve made some amazing friends through CanDo and Disability Services.”

Beth is preparing to begin her thesis next year, and is planning to write about how the indoor environment affects people on the autism spectrum. She says Disability Services has been a big part of her success, and she encourages any student who may benefit from the service to get in touch.

“It does seem like quite a big, scary step to ask for help, but I would encourage students not to be afraid to go and talk to them.

“There is absolutely no way I would be where I am today without the help of Disability Services.”