Implementing Reasonable Accommodations for Students in Schools
This page contains guidance for School staff (specifically Disability Liaison Officers, Module owners and other staff) on the responsibilities and process of implementing reasonable accommodations.
What is a Reasonable Accommodation?
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”.
Trinity introduced a Reasonable Accommodation Policy in January 2018 to provide a framework for the provision of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities studying in Trinity. The policy defines the standard and non-standard reasonable accommodations available to students with disabilities, and explains how reasonable accommodations are granted and communicated to all relevant stakeholders.
More information on how Standard and Non-standard RA are decided can be found at the following link
The process of recommending reasonable accommodations is initiated by the Disability Service (DS) following a meeting between a Disability Officer and the student. The Disability Officer will prepare a needs assessment report known as a LENS report which is a list of the required support for that student. The LENS is published on SITS to be viewed by schools, Exams, and Tutors. The School and exam staff are responsible for ensuring that the reasonable accommodations are implemented.
Guidance on using the LENS functionality in SITS
Standard Reasonable Accommodations are decided by a Disability Officer at the Disability Service following the submission of relevant medical evidence (e.g. a letter from a medical professional or an Educational Psychologist report) and discussion with the student. This discussion will explore the student’s strengths and areas where s/he may need support. Students normally self-refer to the Disability Service, but maybe also encouraged to do so by their Personal Tutor, a lecturer, or another staff member.
The Disability Officer will always consider the requirement for students to demonstrate that they have achieved defined core competence standards when exploring support options and reasonable accommodations. Academics are encouraged to discuss the relevance of reasonable accommodations in particular courses and if they feel an RA will not work they can ask for this to be reviewed and an alternative RA can be suggested via the Non-standard RA route.
More information on the Reasonable Accommodation decision-making process linked here.
As per the Trinity Reasonable Accommodation Policy the academic teaching, learning, and assessment responsibilities within this policy lie primarily with the relevant School’s Director of Teaching and Learning (undergraduate or postgraduate as appropriate) or Programme/Course Director. All academic staff and organisers of departmental examinations are responsible for ensuring they reasonably accommodate students with disabilities as outlined in the LENS report disseminated to them in SITS. Staff can download a list of reasonable accommodations granted to students and see what they are required to do. Typically most students require minimal reasonable accommodations and these are good practices such as providing information in advance on Blackboard or allowing a student to ask for feedback. A list of all standard accommodations is listed here and is clearly outlined in the policy-linked Trinity Reasonable Accommodation Policy.
Disability Liaison Officer – DLO
The role of the School DLO is to oversee/monitor the School's process to ensure the effective dissemination and implementation of Reasonable Accommodations proposed by the DS. This staff has access to the LENS lists of reasonable accommodations in SITS which has a downloadable list (CSV) that shows all reasonable accommodations in that School.
The DLO's responsibilities include the following:
- To ensure that School staff who need to be aware of students' Reasonable Accommodations have access to the information in SITS.
- To raise with the relevant Director of Teaching & Learning and/or the Disability Service any concerns regarding accommodations that may impact the academic integrity or core competence standards of teaching and learn within the School.
- Liaising with Disability Service staff, their School's Directors of Teaching & Learning, and Programme/Course Directors, and assisting in making Reasonable Accommodations for students, and exchanging information as required.
More information on the role and responsibilities of the DLO can be found at the following web link
A full list of all current DLOs for each academic area can be found by clicking on this link.
A guide to the Disability Service for Academic Liaison Officers and Tutors can be downloaded by clicking on this link. The booklet contains useful information on supporting students with disabilities, reasonable accommodations, and registering with the Disability Service.
School Administrative staff have access to the LENS reasonable accommodation list in SITS which lists all their courses and provides information on reasonable accommodation required for those courses. They can also view the LENS (and print or PDF the summary to forward on to teaching staff)
Module owners/Teaching staff have access to the LENS reasonable accommodation list either sent to them by the DLO or viewed via SITS. (The latter requires DLO to attach the teaching staff to that course in the Course LENS view in SITS.)
Director of Teaching and Learning or Programme/Course Directors are responsible for ensuring oversight of all reasonable accommodations in their School and are responsible for all non-standard Reasonable Accommodation requests.
Personal Tutors, PG Supervisors, and Student Support Officers have access via the student’s SITS record for any student under their sphere of influence (e.g. Ph.D. Students, Tutees, etc.)
Student with disabilities: have access to their LENS in their student portal. If a student registers with the Disability Service and is given reasonable accommodations this will be reported in their LENS. Students are encouraged to discuss their disability reasonable accommodations with the relevant DLO of their course and other School/Course staff to ensure RAs are understood. Typically, students may contact a School to ensure departmental exam accommodations are provided when these exams are taking place.
More information on departmental examinations and responsibilities can be found at this link.
The Equal Status Acts 2000 (as amended) makes discrimination against disabled people with disabilities unlawful. Implementing support in the form of “reasonable accommodations” is intended to ensure that students with disabilities, including those with mental health problems and specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia, have an equal opportunity to fully access their course of study.
When a student discloses to a member of staff in Trinity College Dublin that s/he has a disability, the University is deemed to know about the disability and has obligations under the Equal Status Act, and the Data Protection Act (1998). This has implications for the University in relation to how it records such disclosures, how information is passed on and what happens in the event a student asks for a disclosure to be kept confidential. Further information on the Equal Status Act can be found at the following link.
Information about disability is classed as sensitive personal data and will be processed by the University in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended) and the University's Data Protection Policy.
The University cannot pass on personal or sensitive information without the student's written permission. When the student registers with the Disability Service (DS), they are asked to sign a 'Consent to disclose and share disability information form' allowing the DS to forward any relevant information regarding their disability and/or support needs. This allows the DS to forward the LENS report via the student record in SITS. General background details of the student's specific disability may be included in the LENS if the student wants to share this information and confirms consent to disclose this information. A student is not obliged to reveal detailed information to the School about their disability. In some instances, it may be useful for the School to know, but in many cases, it may not be relevant to the Reasonable Accommodation support. A discussion about disability disclosure usually takes place between the DS Disability Officer and the student with the student deciding what information may be passed on when the LENS is approved by the student. Further information on disability disclosure is linked here.