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For the purpose of all College policies relating to students with disabilities, a Reasonable Accommodation can be any action that helps alleviate a substantial disadvantage. Seeking a Reasonable Accommodation can involve changing procedures, modifying the delivery of the course taken, providing additional services (e.g. examination arrangements, materials in large print), or altering the physical environment.

Reasonable and appropriate accommodations (adjustments and supports) and/or auxiliary aids are determined on a case-by-case basis and in accord with the individual's certified disability/specific learning difficulty. This document groups the accommodations provided and highlights their rationale and the Disability Service's strategic position on each.

Important: When you and your disability officer decide which Reasonable Accommodations are best for you it is important to remember that you will be leaving college and joining the workforce or other routes in a short time. It is important that the accommodations you have had during college are transferable and have had the effect of enabling you rather than inhibiting you.

For a list of Reasonable Accommodations available to students, please click here.

For a list of Reasonable Accommodations available to students on placement, please click here.

1. Additional time to develop practical skills

Rationale:

It is not reasonable to expect everyone to work at the same speed. For any student with reduced fine motor skills, processing speed difficulties or a disability which can cause pain, fatigue or reduced mobility, working at the average speed may be too fast.

DS Strategy:

Where ever possible students should be given additional time to develop alternative techniques or practice specific practical skills to reach an appropriate level of competence in the skill. Lecturers are encouraged to consider ways students could supplement these skills with simulated or improvised resources. Students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning and gain an understanding of how they can best work. This will be important for the workplace during and after college when they will be communicating what accommodations or adjustments would be appropriate.

2. Accessible locations:

Rationale:

All students are entitled to have full access to the buildings that they are learning within. The vast majority of buildings and rooms available for teaching in College are fully accessible. You can view the accessibility of College buildings within TCD by this link to the college map website.

DS Strategy:

DS will ensure that all students have access at all times. It will work with lecturers and the timetabling & exams departments to ensure accessibility. If there is an inaccessible venue in your timetable the first thing to do is talk to your Disability Officer. Together, we can propose a room swap with a group of similar size for the same time.

3. Recording lectures

Rationale:

If a student is unable to take accurate notes in a lecture on account of their disability, students may request that they record the lecture on a Dictaphone. This request only applies to lectures and may not be seen to apply to tutorials or classes of a practical nature (e.g. laboratory work).

DS Strategy:

DS supports this accommodation as it does all assistive technology that enables students. As in the case of provision of lecture notes, the student will sign a Code of Practice with the College Disability Service that states that the recordings made are for their own personal use and will not be shared.

4. Prioritization of reading lists

Rationale:

If reading lists are prioritized indicating core texts, or annotated, giving a brief outline of the text, this will assist students with disabilities to pace their workload and ensure that core material is covered. Individual lecture handouts that include suggested reading that differs from the course reading list can be provided in advance of the beginning of the module.

DS Strategy:

DS supports this accommodation as in cases where reading lists are not provided prior to the commencement of term, there is a great likelihood of delays in resource provision that can negatively impact the student's academic experience and ability to succeed. It is also essential to have texts in advance for students with sensory/print disabilities who require that the text be provided in alternative format.

5. Enlarged hand-outs & exam papers

Rationale:

The College Accessible information policy recommends that printed material be provided in a sans serif font, like Arial, and a font of size 12pt. Also, some students with significant visual impairments will be accommodated with a larger font size to make their texts readable. Usually, a request for enlarged handouts and/or exam papers will specify a size 14 font.
See details at: http://www.tcd.ie/about/policies/accessible-info-policy.php#appendix-1

DS Strategy:

DS supports the use of enlarged texts as it is a sustainable and transferable accommodation. The Accessible Information Policy will not only ensure that College is compliant with the Disability Act 2005, but it will also increase the readability of texts because larger and clearer text facilitates more efficient reading and eases comprehension.

6. Lecture notes provided in advance

Rationale:

Acquiring prior lecture notes has benefits for those who due to their disability wish to prepare for a lecture in advance; students who find lectures become exercises in speed writing rather an active cognitive engagements; students who find it hard to follow the structure of the lecture aurally and can gain structure from the handout and students who sometimes miss classes for medical reasons.

DS Strategy:

This accommodation will be requested from the Disability Service in the case that a student has a substantial difficulty in taking accurate notes in class on account of their disability. The notes to be provided may include lecture notes (which can be in abbreviated form), PowerPoint and overhead slides. Handouts given out in individual lectures can also be provided in advance. Guest lecturers on the course can be advised to supply their notes in advance of the course beginning. Notes will be provided in electronic format; this facilitates alternative format provision where it is necessary or use of text to speech software. The student will sign a Code of Practice with the College Disability Service that states that the course materials provided by a lecturer/ teaching assistant as a reasonable accommodation are for their own personal use and will not be shared in any format.

7. Flexible Deadlines

Rationale:

Sometimes students require flexibility with deadlines due to difficulties created by their specific disability.

DS Strategy:

There is no specific policy or guideline as to how much time is deemed "reasonable". This will depend on the individual student's circumstances and the lecturer involved. Deadlines are made for a reason, and sometimes it may not be possible to provide students with an extension, e.g. work must be submitted before the next exam board meeting. However, where possible, staff and students should agree a suitable submission date between themselves.

Students are informed by the Disability Service that if they require any extensions they need to contact either their School Academic Liaison Officer or an appropriate member of staff prior to the existing deadline. Students are made aware that they are not in receipt of a blanket extension for the academic year and that this is a form of support not to be abused.

8. Personal Assistant/Lab Assistant/Academic Assistant

General Rationale:

In certain cases, the physical presence of another person is necessary for assistance in physical tasks, e.g. lab/library situations and academic tasks e.g. notetaking/alternative formatting

DS Strategy:

As mentioned above, this form of accommodation is key and unavoidable for some students due to the nature and extent of their disability. However, it would be the aim of the Disability Service to minimise this kind of support and/or to reduce this kind of support as the student progresses through college in order to upskill and enable the student for the world beyond college, e.g. Work and further study. In cases where the student will continuously need this level of support regardless of up skilling and enabling, the Disability Service will focus on supporting the student as they learn to negotiate and advocate for themselves in the working world and beyond.

9. Use of a Notetaker:

General Rationale:

In certain cases having a notetaker in lectures allows the student to absorb the lecture as it occurs, listening to the lecturer, reading the slides and understanding the lesson without having to engage in the process of notetaking at the same time. Can result in better understanding and better quality of notes after the lecturer.

DS Strategy:

Although the Disability Service agrees that not having to take notes can be beneficial initially, it also argues that a notetaker can also be debilitating as the student's skill of notetaking/multitasking/transcribing is under developed as they progress through college. The Disability Service believes that understanding, learning and writing at the same time is an invaluable skill in the workplace and after college. The DS also believes that with Assistive Technology (AT) taking one's own notes in lectures can become more accessible for many students.  Therefore, the Disability Service will provide AT support rather than personal notetakers wherever possible in order to reduce the risk of creating a reliance on an unsustainable support.

10. Assistive Technology & Equipment (e.g. Text help, Dragon, Jaws, Live scribe, Scooter, Radio Aids etc)

Rationale:

To provide the student with a piece of software or equipment that will allow the student to overcome the disadvantage that the disability imposes.

DS Strategy:

The Disability Service is very supportive of the sourcing and utilization of assistive technology and equipment. This is because these supports can be easily transferred into different environments, including the workplace and therefore are not further disabling a student if they make changes in their life. Furthermore, they are upskilling the student as they learn how to use the technology/equipment and therefore empowering them.

11. Equipment

Rationale:

To provide the student with equipment (scooter, ergonomic equipment, audiovisual etc.) that will allow them to work appropriately.

DS Strategy:

DS supports this accommodation where it enables the student to work and learn effectively. Managing this accommodation going forward and the feasibility and sustainability is an important factor as with all Reasonable Accommodations.

12. Use of a Scribe

Rationale:

To provide the student with a person/scribe who will transcribe on their behalf during exams due to the inability of the student to write their own transcripts

DS Strategy:

The Disability Service supports the use of scribes where necessary but if at all possible encourages the student to use assistive technology/software in its place as this is a more strategically feasible support for the future.

13.Print & Photocopy Credit

Rationale:

To provide, in very specific cases, the student with credit for the printer.

DS Strategy:

The Disability Service supports the use of Photocopy Cards and Print credit in specific situtations: the Disability Service Officer determines if this support is required.

14.ISL Interpreter

Rationale:

To provide deaf students who use ISL interpretation as their means of communication with the appropriate tools to function in College.

DS Strategy:

Although an expensive support, the Disability Service supports the use of ISL interpreters when necessary as it is key to success for some deaf students.

15. Occupational Therapy - Mental Health Support

Rationale:

To provide students with Mental Health difficulties an interactive and safe environment to develop coping strategies with a qualified occupational therapist

DS Strategy:

The Disability Service is supportive of mental health supports. Through Occupational Therapy support it ensures that this often ‘hidden’ disability receives the attention it requires and also that students receive qualified and appropriate support when needed.  The DS is also supportive of this support because it enables the students to plan and manage their difficulties throughout their College life and into the future, it is a service that can teach the student a skill that they will then rely on to manage their disability in the future.

16. Academic Support & Subject Specific Tuition

Rationale:

To provide students with support in their academic writing/construction in the case of academic support and specific subject tuition in some cases if the student has fallen behind.

DS Strategy:

The Disability Service provides these supports in extreme situations rather than in most situations, for example academic support is provided for some deaf students where English is a second language. Or, Subject Specific Tuition can be provided for a student who has missed class due to their disability and requires tuition to catch up. The Disability Service encourages the use of assistive programmes and software to build the student’s skills in the area of academic writing and construction and also where possible for tuition purposes. Like with the other supports, this is in order to enable the student to learn for themselves and obtain skills that they can use in the workplace and beyond.

17. Extra time in Exams

Rationale:

If students will be disadvantaged in exams due to their disability they will be allotted extra time

DS Strategy:

The Disability Service organises this support with the exams office in order to allow some students to manage their disability and the manifestations it may bring about in an exam setting. As with all Reasonable Accommodations, DS encourages the student to learn and function within college to the best of their ability, therefore enabling them for a life of work and/or further study after College.