What is a Disability Adviser?
A disability adviser is a specialist member of staff at your university who is there to ensure the university takes appropriate actions, puts in place adjustments and provides the support you need to access your studies.
How can they support you?
Disability advisers have up-to-date knowledge of the support offered by the university. This support can take the form of ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act, or as part of the university’s support offered to disabled students. They can discuss the reasonable adjustments and types of support the university can provide and ensure that these are communicated to the relevant staff at the university, such as tutors, digital accessibility and IT staff, library services and exam staff.
Your disability adviser can advise and support you to:
- Identify study related adjustments.
E.g., establish what formats are accessible for you in terms of your course materials (lecture notes, handouts, reading material, etc). This could include the format of the documents (Word, PDF, EPUB) and formatting of its content (font type, size and colour).
- Identify exam adjustments.
E.g., establish how much extra time you will need, what format the exam paper will take (with respect to your access requirements), how visual content such as diagrams and charts will be made accessible, etc.
- Create a document which sets out how your vision impairment impacts on your learning, what adjustments and support you need to access your learning and what will the university put in place to achieve this. This document is often known as a Learning Support Plan (LSP) or Student Support Plan (SSP).
- Communicate your requirements to your tutors, often using your LSP/SSP with your consent.
- Create a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) for you.
- Signpost to and liaise with specialist support services and academic departments to help facilitate access to your learning.
- Apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if appropriate and advise you through the process.
- Advise regarding equipment that may be available to loan.
How do you access their support?
You can usually find information and contact details for a university’s disability support team/service on their website. You can try googling ‘disability support’ and the name of your university to find the relevant page.
It is always a good idea to get in touch with a university’s disability support service prior to choosing to study at a particular university. If you have already enrolled, it is really important to contact your disability support service.