Reasonable adjustments enable you to participate in the academic assessment process on a fair basis, and according to your preferences. Find out how to arrange reasonable adjustments that work for you.
Reasonable adjustments allow you to fully participate in learning, assessment, university facilities and services. When it comes to assessments, for example, a reasonable adjustment could be making a video presentation instead of presenting in person, or having extra time in an exam, or showing your work to the tutor in private, rather than in front of a group.
Under the UK Equality Act 2010, reasonable adjustments are required where disabled students experience substantial disadvantage in comparison with non-disabled people. Universities have an anticipatory duty to provide reasonable adjustments for students. This means your university needs to plan ahead and address any barriers that may potentially affect your studies and well-being.
Some universities and some courses have risen to this challenge by putting in place systems that are on offer to all students, whether registered disabled or not. Examples are audio-recording every single lecture, or providing not just one route of assessment but several different ones for a particular assignment. However, currently this is the exception rather than the norm, and the more established route is to offer individual reasonable adjustments for specific requirements.
How does it work?
To be eligible for individual reasonable adjustments you need to have had an autism diagnosis and have told your university about your autism. The university’s disability support team then meets with you and discusses your needs. Ideally, this also involves an academic from the course you are studying. It is important that you are actively involved in this process, and also in making decisions regarding reasonable adjustments that work for you.
How could this affect me?
Some students worry that if they have reasonable adjustments that they will be treated differently to other students. There may also be concerns about confidentiality and whether other students will be aware of their disability. On the other hand students are aware that if they have access to reasonable adjustments then they will be better supported to thrive academically.
At UCL your Summary of Reasonable Adjustments will only be shared within your department on a need to know basis. This means that only teaching staff who you are in direct contact with will be aware of any adjustments you may require.
What to do next?
Arrange a meeting with disability support and your course leader
It is important to think about your disability support in tandem with the support from your academic department. Both should collaborate and work symbiotically.
Deciding your reasonable adjustments is a process of negotiation so have a think in advance about what works for you individually
Focus on your learning outcomes – what are alternative ways for you to evidence your knowledge and understanding?
The disability support team is there to support you, but they won’t know the academic requirements
Use the Autism&Uni Best Practice Guides as support (see page on UDL)
Reply promptly to all communications regarding your reasonable adjustments, to ensure support is put in place when it’s needed.
Additional information and links
The Equality Challenge Unit has published guidance on reasonable adjustments to assist universities in planning and implementing them: http://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/managing-reasonable-adjustments-in-higher-education/