Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre
Information for Staff
Provides information on disability reporting systems available to administrative and academic staff, FAQs, links to Guides for Unit Coordinators for a number of disabilities, and identifies those areas where ASDAC cannot assist staff in matters such as; assessment of disabled students and admissions.
Communication of specific support needs of individual students
There are two routes to reports detailing disclosed disability and support details for individual students:
Designed for use by academic staff and provides valuable planning information for unit co-ordinators and tutors regarding the overall disability support requirements associated with the units they will be delivering. All staff who have not yet taken steps to access the facility are recommended to do so at the earliest possible opportunity.
Assistive technology software, equipment, and loans
ASDAC maintains the presence of the most recent assistive technology software packages on University servers and ensures compatibility with network changes. ASDAC also maintains ten assistive technology workstations across campus and can provide loans of hardware and software to those disabled students not in receipt of DSA or other funding support (see "What other support is available?" in the FAQs section.
Premises adjustments to improve accessibility
We liaise closely with Estates and can investigate and report back to them on any accessibility issues raised by staff and students for their consideration and action as appropriate.
Advice and support on admissions issues with disabilities or relevant conditions
ASDAC can assist in identifying and provide advice on the reasonable adjustments and support implications for disabled applicants, and comment on such matters as the availability of suitable accommodation and any concerns regarding an individual's ability to meet core learning outcomes for reasons relating to their disability.
Staff development and training on support of disabled students
We can provide training sessions and materials for School, Department or section meetings and staff development events on request.
Support and advice on the assessment of disabled students
We liaise closely with Academic Registry in agreeing and recommending appropriate reasonable adjustments and/or appropriate responses to academic appeals for cases that fall outside the normal regulatory framework for reasons relating to disability.
Advice on 'reasonable adjustments' to learning and teaching
Advice is largely provided through the downloadable database reports (see the "Communication of specific support needs of individual students" section) and web based guidelines (see "staff" in the Resources section) but we are always available to deal with specific queries on a confidential and case-by-case basis.
Is there a deadline for examination adjustments?
No - provided the student has acceptable evidence (this should be confirmed with ASDAC).
If the evidence is acceptable the student would be entitled to deferral of the assessment if the adjustment(s) are not made. So it is normally in everyone’s interest for the necessary arrangements to be put in place, however short the notice. However, if this is simply impracticable for reasons such as unavailability of a suitable room, scribe, and/or invigilator etc, then the assessment should be deferred.
Should adjustment be made to the academic standard for reasons of disability?
No – the need to make reasonable adjustments to avoid placing a disabled student at a disadvantage for reasons relating their disability does not apply to the achievement of a required competency (or academic) standard. Consequently, examples of what will not be implemented as reasonable adjustments include waiving the requirement to undertake an assessment, the provision of a lesser academic challenge, ‘two tier” or ‘sympathetic” marking practices and the provision of proof reading services. Reasonable adjustments will, however, apply to the process by which they are enabled to demonstrate the achievement of that standard (e.g. provision of extra time, altering the method of assessment).
Why are so many students now receiving special examination adjustments?
Recommendations of this nature are normally made by external independent Needs Assessors and Chartered Educational Psychologists following formal Needs and/or Psychological assessments prior to, or during, study at HE level. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of such special arrangements being recommended by these external assessors. We do endeavour to minimise the load on Departments by discussing the evidence or arguments underpinning these recommendations with the students concerned, but rejection or amendment of such recommendations does need to be very carefully considered if students are unhappy or unwilling to agree to them.
Staff should contact ASDAC on a case by case basis if these arrangements raise particular logistical difficulties at a local level.
What are the agreed protocols for recording lectures?
Some, but not all, disabled students are provided with recording equipment where the particular nature of their disability (e.g. poor short term working memory, poor fine motor control) will place them at a relative disadvantage when taking notes during formal contact sessions. Jupiter and Discoverer Disability reports communicate this specific support need with the note “Student to be allowed to record formal academic contact”.
For these students, the University position on recording lectures has remained unchanged since 2005 when the joint NATFHE/Skill/Disability Rights Commission circular was accepted as expressing an acceptable and agreed University approach. All staff and eligible students are asked to continue to comply with the arrangements outlined therein.