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Reasonable Accommodations in Trinity

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Code of Practice -College Calendar Part I General Regulations

Students with disabilities - College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity in education and to ensuring that students with a disability have as complete and equitable access to all facets of College life as can reasonably be provided. College has adopted a code of practice which is applicable to all students with disabilities studying in College. This is in accordance with the Disability Act 2005, the Equal Status Acts 2000 (as amended) and the University Act 1997. Students with a disability are encouraged to register with the Disability Service to seek supports where the disability could affect their ability to participate fully in all aspects of the course.

Maintain Confidentiality

It is important that lecturing staff are aware of an individual's disability, but highlighting it during class time may be very upsetting for a student or at the very least may cause embarrassment and so should be avoided.  In addition, students have been assured in disclosing their disability that such information is provided only to staff in College on a need to know basis.  Further disability-specific information is available on the Disability Service website

Provide accessible teaching and learning locations

The vast majority of rooms available for teaching in College are fully accessible. However, there are still a few rooms and buildings which are inaccessible and these should be avoided if at all possible. You can view the accessibility of College buildings at the following link.

If you do have an inaccessible venue unavoidably in your timetable the first thing to do is check the Lens reports to see if this venue will be a problem.  If it is, you can propose a room swap with a group of similar size for the same time. The examinations and timetabling office and the Disability Service may be able to assist you with this situation should it arise. Provide full details of field trips in advance so that students can make travel arrangements.  Consider the accessibility of field trip locations.

When scheduling your timetable be mindful of the fact that some students may need twice as long as their peers to walk from one venue to another.  If the venues are too far apart these students may not only be late to the lecture and too fatigued to concentrate when they get there, they may not be able to attend at all because the distance is too great for them to even attempt.

Allow an assistant to attend lectures or labs

Some students may require an Education Support Worker (ESW) to attend their lectures or labs to assist them with a physical task such as note taking or carrying equipment or materials.

Encourage appropriate seating

Where students sit is not just a sign of how interested they are.  Students with medical conditions may only feel comfortable sitting close to the door so that if they need to leave they can do so with the minimum of disruption.  Similarly, students with anxiety or social phobia may feel too uncomfortable sitting away from a door or among other students. Students with sensory impairments may need to sit closer or further away in comparison to other students depending on their need. The majority of students, particularly in their first year of university, will not be used to attending large lecture theatres and may feel intimidated about moving seats.  Deaf and hard of hearing students may not be aware that their hearing aids will not be as beneficial in large groups where there is a lot of additional background noise. The front row seats in some lecture theatres may not provide a good position for students to lip read from.  Therefore, it is important that lecturers encourage all students to find the most appropriate seating, even if that means moving seats several times and perceiving things from different points of view.

Provide lecture notes in advance

This accommodation will only 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 should also be provided in advance. Guest lecturers on the course should be advised to supply their notes in advance of the course beginning. The notes should 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.

Moving beyond the rationale above it is worth considering that providing lecture notes in advance for everyone has benefits for those who wish to prepare for a lecture in advance;  students who find lectures become exercises in speed writing rather an active cognitive engagement; mature students with lower stamina who find it difficult to write continuously for an hour and could use a handout;  students who find it hard to follow the structure of the lecture aurally and can gain structure from the handout; international students who find it difficult to write and listen simultaneously in a second language and students who sometimes miss classes for medical reasons

Allow student to record lectures

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). 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.

Recording of lectures – College Calendar Part I General Regulations

Students may not make audio or visual recordings of lectures without the express consent of the individual lecturer. Students with disabilities may be permitted to record lectures if it is deemed a reasonable accommodation by the Disability Service. Students will be advised that all recordings remain the property of College and are for personal use only. See also DATA PROTECTION (section VIII) and COPYRIGHT (section IX).

Allow additional time to develop practical skills 

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, even the average speed may be too fast. 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.

Provide enlarged hand-outs & exam papers

The College Accessible information policy recommends that printed material be provided in a sans serif font, like Arial, and a font of size 12pt. See details at: http://www.tcd.ie/about/policies/accessible-info-policy.php#appendix-1

Following this policy will not only ensure that College is compliant with the Disability Act 2005, it will also increase the readability of texts because larger and clearer text facilitates more efficient reading and eases comprehension. However, some students with significant visual impairments require a larger font size to make their texts readable. Usually, a request for enlarged handouts will specify a size 14 font. It is important that these students are also provided with their exam papers in enlarged font.

Flexibility of attendance as appropriate

Due to the nature of a student's disability, it is possible that some lectures / seminars may be missed due to ill-health or medical appointments. Students who have a Lens report have submitted medical evidence from a consultant or specialist of a disability or significant ongoing illness. While a Lens report cannot act as an open ended medical certificate it should alert staff to the fact that regular absences may be necessary and that agreement should be sought as to what level of absence can be reasonably be accommodated. This should be done on a case by case basis taking into account the course requirements, the principle of reasonable accommodation and the nature of the student’s disability. 

Attendance flexibility – College Calendar Part I General Regulations

Students who are unable to attend lectures (or other forms of teaching) due to their disability should immediately contact the Disability Service to discuss the matter of a reasonable accommodation. Exceptions to attendance requirements for a student, on disability grounds, may be granted by the Senior Lecturer following consultation with the student’s school, department or course office, and the Disability Service.

Flexibility on deadlines as appropriate

Provide details of assignment deadlines well in advance.  Many students may have difficulty prioritising and focusing on the required elements of the assessment.  Providing clear specific details makes it easier for a student to complete an assignment.  Providing deadlines well in advance enables a student to structure their study time so that they divide their time appropriately between subjects.

A student with dyslexia may find that completion of assignments takes longer, so provision of deadlines well in advance enables students to pace their workload. Providing deadlines in advance ensures that blind students can effectively manage the conversion of information to alternative formats.

Provide feedback on continuous assessments

The majority of students welcome and benefit from feedback on their continuous assessments. Students have a heightened interest in finding out specifically why they got the mark they got and how they could have done better.  Students may be unaware of the standard required in university in areas such as grammar, spelling, referencing, structure, argument and conclusions. Please note, special accommodations for marking grammar and spelling in the work of students with dyslexia do not apply to essays and other forms of continuous assessment. Some students, particularly those who are blind and vision impaired may have difficulty formatting submitted work (e.g. setting margins).  Provide feedback to the student on submitted work in an appropriate form, e.g. face-to-face, e-mail or large print, as appropriate.

Repeat questions asked before answering

When a student asks an insightful question it is important to pause before launching into your equally insightful response. Has everyone heard and understood the question? Repeating the question will not only widen the audience to your response but will also allow other students time to reflect on what the question means and give them time to come up with their own answer. Repeating questions asked before answering is a useful inclusive teaching strategy that will assist all students, not just those who may have a hearing impairment.

Where possible, prioritise reading lists. 

If reading lists are prioritised 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, should be provided in advance of the beginning of the module.

It is also very important that subject librarians receive reading lists from lecturers well in advance of the beginning of the course/module. Where readings 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.

Pre Placement planning meeting required

Students on professional courses who are registered with the Disability Service will benefit from a planning meeting prior to their first placement starting. The Disability Service will arrange this meeting with the student and the placement co-ordinator at a suitable time in advance of placements beginning. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss any support needs that may arise on the placement and to arrange reasonable accommodations in advance.  The meeting will also provide an opportunity for the student and placement co-ordinator to discuss issues such as disclosure, course core competencies and fitness to practice.  

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

Personal emergency evacuation plan are advisable for students with a physical, medical or sensory disability were mobility is affected in navigating the many buildings students have to navigate in a College environment such as Trinity. This is will be identified in the needs assessment process carried out by the Disability Service. In conjunction with the College Safety Officer and the building owners in which the student is studying a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan will be put in place.

Further details can be found at: http://www.tcd.ie/disability/physical-access/evacuation-plans.php

Guidelines for the Management of Risk for Students with Disabilities

These guidelines have been developed by the Disability Service within Trinity College Dublin, to propose a format for the interaction between the students registered with the Disability Service, Disability Service staff, college services and academic departments, with the aim of facilitating the participation of students with disabilities within the practical elements of their chosen courses and college life.

The process outlined within these guidelines is proposed to be part of the overall needs assessment process, which is carried out with students when they register with the Disability Service within TCD (http://www.tcd.ie/disability/current/registration.php).

For students on professional courses, the process outlined within these guidelines is proposed to take place as part of the placement planning process with students registered with the Disability Service (http://www.tcd.ie/disability/services/placement-planning.php).

Further details can be found at: Guidelines for the Management of Risk for Students with Disabilities

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Last updated 19 May 2017 andrew.costello@tcd.ie (Email).