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What are Reasonable Accommodations?

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What are Reasonable Accommodations?

A Reasonable Accommodation is any action that helps to alleviate a substantial disadvantage due to a disability and/or a significant ongoing illness.

Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the individual's certified disability/specific learning difficulty.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

Further Information on types of Reasonable Accommodations in College

Allow additional time to develop practical skills

Where possible, students with reduced fine motor skills; processing speed difficulties; or disabilities which can cause pain, fatigue or reduced mobility, should be given additional time to develop alternative techniques or to practice specific practical skills.

Provide Accessible Teaching and Learning Locations

You can view the accessibility of College buildings within TCD by this link to the college map website.

Allow students to record lectures

Students who are unable to take accurate notes in a lecture due to their disability may request that they record the lecture on a Dictaphone. 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.

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.

Where possible, prioritise reading lists

Subject librarians should receive reading lists from lecturers well in advance of the beginning of the course/module. Annotated reading lists and texts that need to be provided in an alternative format for students with sensory/print disabilities should be provided in advance.

Provide enlarged handouts and 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. 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.

Encourage appropriate seating

It is important that lecturers encourage all students to find the most appropriate seating; for example, students with medical conditions or anxiety 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.

Provide feedback on continuous assessment

Provide feedback to the student on submitted work so they can understand why they got the mark they did and how they could have done better. Please be aware that 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.

Provide lecture notes in advance

This accommodation will only be requested from the Disability Service if 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; overhead slides; and handouts. 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 are for their own personal use and will not be shared in any format.

Flexibility on Deadlines

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

Flexibility on attendance as appropriate

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.

Repeat questions before answering

Repeating the question before giving your own answer will allow students time to reflect on what the question means and give them time to come up with their own answer.

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. 

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

Personal emergency evacuation plans are advisable for students with physical, medical, or sensory disabilities.

Management of risk for students with disabilities

Please consult these Guidelines for the Management of Risk for Students with Disabilities to facilitate the participation of students with disabilities within the practical elements of their chosen courses and college life.


Last updated 7 June 2017 andrew.costello@tcd.ie (Email).