Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement

Personal Tutor Handbook - Inclusivity

Students with disabilities

disscussion around table.jpgOver 8% of all students and nearly 10% of full time undergraduate students (over 1850 students in June 2009) had disclosed a disability (or disabilities) – this figure is above the national average for similar institutions.  Around 45% of these students have been identified as being dyslexic with the remainder made up of a variety of disabilities: unseen (diabetes, epilepsy, asthma); multiple disabilities; mental health; impaired hearing; impaired mobility; impaired sight; Asperger syndrome and ‘other’.

The gender balance has remained broadly equal over the last three years.  The distribution of disabled students varies markedly within faculties with the proportion of disabled students as a percentage of the total being as follows: Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) (13.8%); Science (10.9%); Technology (10.8%); Humanities and Social Sciences (8.4%), Portsmouth Business School (6.8%).  The high percentage in CCI is attributed to the number of dyslexic students who opt to study the creative arts.  What this means is that in some classes around 1 in 7 students will have a disability.

The role of the Personal Tutor for students with a disability

The Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC) tries to make contact with all students who declare a disability, either through their application form, registration form or ILP.  When students disclose information about their disabilities to staff in other ways, you are asked to check with the student whether they wish to formally disclose their disability and, if so, you should pass this information on to ASDAC.  If you think that a student may have a disability or specific learning difficulty that is not on their student record, please raise this with them and encourage them to discuss this with ASDAC.

The ASDAC website provides a range of guidance notes for both you and your tutees.  These include advice for students on topics such as how to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance and for staff on the reasonable adjustments necessary for a range of disabilities such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, hearing impairment, visual impairment, Asperger syndrome, unseen conditions and mental health. 

If you are concerned about a student's mental wellbeing you can contact the Student Wellbeing Service on 02392843157 for advice on what courses of action are open to you.  Other advice can be sought from the student's GP (with their permission), or the NHS Home Treatment Team (on 023 9273 6999), who again will be able to offer advice on what action you can take. 

Guidelines for Staff – Student Mental Health  on the ASDAC website provides advice on a whole range of matters relating to student mental health issues.  Of particular relevance to Personal Tutors is Section 5, which provides guidance on general procedures and protocols to be observed when: determining when there may be a mental health difficulty; approaching the student; responding to the student; and dealing with confidentiality.  Section 6 covers appropriate actions and behaviours when handling crisis situations.

See more about the services available for students with disabilities on the ASDAC pages of this website.

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