A Needs Assessment is an informal structured meeting. It takes place between the student, a Disability Adviser, and a Technology Adviser. The purpose of this meeting is to explore any impact that the student's condition or impairment may have on their studies. And their ability to access the University and its services.
The Disability Adviser will consider the impact of the student’s condition or impairment on particular study-related tasks. They will determine whether reasonable adjustments should be made to how the course is delivered or how they are assessed. With the student’s signed consent, the Departmental Disability Coordinator (DDC) and Exam Coordinator will be informed of these adjustments. Any other teaching staff will be able to search for these via the Disabled Students' Information on Pegasus. Access to these adjustments is restricted to Academic teaching staff and nominated administrators.
Adjustment reports are released throughout the academic year. It's important to check the system regularly to ensure that updates and new reports are acted upon.
Academic teaching staff can search the system by Class Code. Or by Student Registration Number. There is a facility to limit results to changes since the last date viewed.
Email alerts are generated for Departmental Disability Contacts and those with responsibility for arranging exams for disabled students. Email alerts are only triggered where reports are New, Updated, or Deleted. Where students have existing reports and start new classes, no alerts are triggered. Staff who receive alerts and use these as a prompt to view the system must check the Disabled Students system regularly at the start of the term.
The assessment will usually involve a discussion and demonstration of Assistive Technology led by the Assistive Technology Adviser. Any effective support or technology the student has previously used and any preferred methods of study will be discussed and considered.
The Disability Service can arrange for one-to-one support to be put in place when appropriate. The nature of this support will depend on the student’s individual needs. This could be communication support, including notetakers, Study Support, Mentoring or a Personal Assistant. Assistants providing this individual support are known as Non-Medical Personal Helpers (NMPHs).
Information about the student’s needs and how these have previously been met is important along with a consideration of their current course requirements. While we cannot accept a letter from the student’s school confirming previous arrangements as diagnostic evidence it may be useful secondary evidence in our assessment of a student’s needs.
To enable students to obtain adjustments to teaching and assessment or to access additional resourced support, the Disability Service requires formal diagnostic evidence of a student’s disability. Different types of evidence are appropriate for different conditions or impairments, and for access to different services and facilities, but what we are trying to gather is evidence of how the student’s impairment or condition might impact on their study, or their ability to attend their classes, tutorials, labs, placements and other course and university activities.
If the student requires adjustments to how the course is assessed, or if they require access to equipment or services which carry additional expense, they must provide us with written evidence from an appropriately qualified person confirming their impairment or condition. This might consist of:
- a letter from a medical professional, such as a GP or Consultant
- a copy of a Certificate of Vision Impairment or a letter from an Audiologist
- for students with a specific learning difficulty, a diagnostic report, or a letter signed by an Educational Psychologist confirming the diagnosis
If a student has difficulty in sourcing evidence, please refer them to the Disability Service. The University can help students to obtain appropriate evidence.
We also gather evidence from the student about how they experience their impairment or condition. And how it impacts on their learning. This evidence is gathered through a questionnaire and in person.
The University is committed to meeting the needs of students with disabilities. In recognition of the cost associated with the implementation of support, provision, and some reasonable adjustments, there are two sources of funding available to meet the needs of disabled students. The first is the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). This can provide essential assistive technology and human support directly to the student. The second is the Disability Resource Development Fund (DRDF). This can be used to meet the additional costs incurred by the University.