The Jagiellonian University supports its undergraduate/doctoral students with disabilities in the process of their education and research work following the adopted catalogue of services stemming from the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the Higher Education Act. This means that the JU undertakes to provide its students with disabilities with equal opportunities as regards the implementation of the educational process only. Because of such a scope of competences the JU does not replace other state institutions in the fulfilment of their tasks concerning persons with disabilities. As a consequence, the following specialist services are not included in the JU catalogue.
- Personal assistance – Care-related activities which consist in providing assistance for a disabled person by an accompanying assistant/assistants in the performance of his/her daily activities, such as those related to self-management (like eating, using the toilet, dressing, and moving around). Such assistance is needed because of the person's specific disability rather than his/her status of a university student, regardless of the place they are in, so for instance at home, a doctor's surgery or the theatre.
Students who need assistance of someone supporting them in daily life and do not use such services yet could finance such expenses by applying for additional material assistance offered under the Aktywny Samorząd scheme delivered by the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PFRON).
- Lessons in spatial orientation – learning to move around independently by a blind person assisted by an instructor after having learnt the principles of spatial orientation (such as orienting oneself in one's own body, spatial relations between objects). This is one of the key skills for blind persons on the path towards independence in daily life, indispensible during university studies. Insufficient competences in that regard are a serious and sometimes an effective barrier to the independent performance of such basic activities as moving around the house or outside of it, e.g. doing shopping, going to the doctor, or getting to school. Blind persons should begin a course in spatial orientation after sustaining a sight loss, as soon as possible. Such skills, like personal assistance, are not related to one's status of a student and are required for independent functioning not just at university. Consequently, at university persons can function successfully, if already prepared by an instructor in spatial orientation which is a form of rehabilitation and as such lies outside the responsibility of a university. Spatial orientation courses are offered by various institutions, in particular the Polish Association of the Blind.
For its part, the Jagiellonian University offers to its blind students simple instructions concerning the buildings where their course meetings and lectures will take place, which should not however be confused with spatial orientation training. In other words, for safety reasons without prior professional spatial orientation instruction it will not be possible to benefit from the briefing regarding university buildings as if a person has not become familiar with the spatial orientation principles they will be unable to learn how to move around independently during a short instructive presentation.
- Psychotherapy which is a long-term, systematic process based on the relation between the therapist and the patient, delivered in relevant healthcare units. A list of such units in Krakow, suggestions on the choice of a psychotherapist as well as a comprehensive text on why the JU DSS does not offer psychotherapy are available here.
- Rental of rehabilitation equipment as it belongs to the operational domain of relevant medical centres and is aimed at improving the physical fitness of a person with a specific disability.
- Rental of computer hardware and specialist software The JU DSS does not offer any rental of specialist equipment for students. The modern technological equipment it has is used for student training session taking place in the Service's IT workroom for blind and partially sighted students, for English language courses and for the adaptation of educational materials. The specialist equipment is also used at University institutes to support students and teachers in the delivery of academic courses/lectures as well as during examinations/course completion tests. In extraordinary and specially justified cases, such as when the student's equipment is out of order or when the student must wait long for his/her own equipment provided by the scheme of the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PFRON), such equipment may be lent temporarily under conditions agreed at the JU DSS.
Playing the role of the University's adviser as regards access to education taking into account the needs of persons with disabilities, the Disability Support Service strives to provide support to all the University units in that field. That does not mean, however, that the JU DSS takes over their obligations related to the performance of their tasks under the competences assigned to them, for example:
The JU DSS:
- is not a unit dealing with job agency; career guidance, training in effective job search and current job offers are available at the website of the JU Careers Service;
- does not conduct separate university recruitment for candidates with disabilities; all the recruitment issues at the JU, including those related to candidates with disabilities, are the domain of the Department of Admissions; detailed information on the role of the JU DSS in the recruitment process can be found here.
- is not responsible for modernising university buildings which are not adapted in architectonic terms; these matters are a domain of university decision-making bodies within a given JU faculty or institute. The JU DSS supports students in their requests to have course meetings and lectures organised in accessible places.