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.
National College of Ireland is committed to providing equal access to education and equal opportunities for all students. It is very important that students disclose a disability early in the academic year to ensure that necessary supports are provided. By delaying disclosure of a disability, students may be missing out on essential supports which can help with everything from participation in lectures right through to sitting exams.
If you talk to the NCI Learning Disability Support Service, they can carry out an Educational Needs Assessment. This will be a conversation to see what supports you might require. The LDSS can then work with other areas of the college such as library, exams office and the academic schools to ensure the right supports are in place for you.
Get in touch with our Disability Officer Karen Mooney who will be able to advise you on the supports available for students at NCI:
Phone: (01) 6599 269
Reasonable accommodations allow you to fully participate in learning, assessment, college 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 presenting your work to the lecturer in private, rather than in front of a group.
A “reasonable accommodation” (as it is referred to in the Equal Status Act) is an amendment to the student’s course of study which enables her/him to participate fully in their education. An adjustment is intended to help ensure disabled students are not disadvantaged available to students with specific learning difficulties and other disabilities intended to address a disability related issue not an ability “gap”.
How could this affect me?
To discuss and arrange any accommodations you will have to have disclosed your autism to the college and so you may need to consider some of the issues around disclosure at this stage.
Disclosure means informing someone or making the information known, in this case to the college, about your autism diagnosis or any additional difficulty. But disclosing can just as easily apply to your friends and classmates.
If you do not know if disclosing your disability is something you want to do, try asking yourself a few questions to find out.
- Why do you want to disclose your disability?
- What are you disclosing and why is it important to do so?
- Who will you be disclosing to?
- When will you disclose?
- How are you going to disclose to them?
After answering these questions, you may feel more ready to make a choice. The reasoning behind disclosure varies from person to person. Asking for supports or reasonable accommodations in college are only some possible reasons for disclosing.
What to do next?
Arrange a meeting with disability support AND your course leader
- Get disability support people AND academics together
- Negotiate your reasonable adjustments, rather than taking them as they come – what works for you individually?
- Focus on learning outcomes rather than assessment procedures – what are alternative ways for you to evidence your knowledge and understanding?
- Ask academics to be creative, and potentially move away from tradition. Acknowledge that this can be uncomfortable for them.
- Remember that the disability team is always there to support you, but they won’t necessarily know the academic requirements.
- Use the Autism&Uni Best Practice Guides as support (see page on UDL)
- Reply promptly to all communications regarding your support and reasonable adjustments, to ensure support is put in place when it’s needed.
Questions to think about
Moving from secondary school to third level education involves many changes, and these changes are even more challenging for a student with Autism. You are moving from the smaller and more familiar environment of school, to an unfamiliar campus in the middle of the city, and this can be very daunting. Your transition will almost certainly involve adventures and challenges that you have not faced before, and you have to adjust to new activities such as taking the bus on your own, moving away from home, managing your timetable, making dinner, etc. This is a whole new experience, and thus it can be really useful to start thinking about it while you are still in school so that you can prepare yourself early for this change.
Additional information and links
The Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) has published guidance on reasonable accommodations to assist colleges and universities in Ireland with planning and implementing them.