Guide to - support and adjustments







Who we are

The Disability Advisory Service at the University of

Reading provides confidential information and advice

to disabled students studying or intending to study


We work with students to meet their individual needs

and make reasonable adjustments to enable them to

participate fully in academic life.

To give some context, there are currently about 1800

students registered with the Disability Advisory Service

who may have a disability or long-term health

condition that has a significant impact on their ability

to study.

However, there are also many more students who

would be eligible for support who haven’t contacted

the service. This may be because they didn’t require

support but will also be because they didn’t know they

were eligible or didn’t want to disclose that they were


We offer a confidential advice service to students and

encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible for

support to get in touch. You will always be in control of

the support and adjustments, and no information

about you is passed on without your consent.


A breakdown of students registered with

the Disability Advisory Service in 2016/17

401 36

Mental health


Including anxiety,

depression, eating

disorders, bipolar disorder

and personality disorders



Including wheelchair users and

other physical impairments


63 Sensory


Deaf students and those

who are hard of hearing,

and students who are

visually impaired


Specific learning


Such as dyslexia and

dyspraxia, but also including

attention deficit disorders,

dyscalculia and dyspgraphia

Chronic health


For example; diabetes,

cancer, epilepsy, chronic

fatigue syndrome, HIV,

Crohn's disease and arthritis


Autistic Spectrum


Who is eligible for support?

Students we work with include those with:

an autistic spectrum condition

a visual impairment

a hearing impairment

a long standing illness or health condition such as diabetes,

epilepsy and chronic fatigue

a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or an

eating disorder

a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and

including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

physical or mobility difficulties

Accessing your support

The first step is to get in contact with us so that we can arrange for

you to speak with an adviser. This can be face-to-face within the

Disability Advisory Service, or can be over the phone or via Skype if

more convenient.

In order to make certain arrangements, such as adjustments in

exams, we would usually need to see evidence of your disability,

health condition, mental health condition or specific learning

difficulty. This can emailed to the service or brought along to your

appointment. If you don’t have suitable evidence, you can still

arrange to see an adviser and we can help with getting the necessary


Our service is confidential and the information we ask for is only

passed on to other people in the university with your agreement, and

then only to make sure you get the support you need.

The Disability Advisory Service is open all year, from 10am to 4pm.

We are based on the ground floor in the Carrington Building.

University support and adjustments

The following pages provide an overview of the main adjustments

that can be available to disabled students at the University of

Reading. This is not a definitive list, and adjustments are made only

when there is a clear, disability-related reason no course learning

outcomes are compromised. However, hopefully it provides a useful

overview to see what can be arranged.


In order to minimise any impact

that a physical or mental health

condition, specific learning

difficulty or sensory impairment

may have on a student’s ability to

perform at the best in an

assessment, a range of

adjustments can be made.

If you require adjustments to

examinations or assessments, you

will need to contact the Disability

Advisory Service and arrange to

meet with an adviser.

We will need appropriate

evidence to support your request.

Adjustments include:

Additional time (usually 25% but

can be more for students working

with scribes or using assistive


Smaller exam venues, rest breaks

and/or use of a computer in

exams, plus access to assistive


Provision of ergonomic aids, such

as an adjustable chair.

For presentations, students can

be permitted to present to the

tutor only rather than having to

the whole group;

Students with specific learning

difficulties are entitled to attach

stickers to their assignments and

exam papers which will ensure

that they are not penalised for

errors with spelling and grammar

(unless this is a specific learning

outcome of the course);

Provision of exam papers with

enlarged fonts or on coloured

paper, or students may wish to

use coloured overlays.


A range of adjustments can be

made to ensure that the

university’s teaching and learning

is accessible to disabled students.

This year, the university launched

a new policy on inclusive practice

in teaching and learning aiming to

increase the accessibility and

inclusivity of teaching and

learning practices.

Alongside the university-wide

adjustments this policy sets out,

the following individual

adjustments to support disabled

students can also be


We can inform tutors when

students have a disability-related

reason for missing lectures,

arriving late or leaving early

(except where attendance is used

as a means of assessment).

Similarly, some students may

need to move or stretch during

lectures to alleviate discomfort

experienced due to a physical

impairment or health condition,

and tutors can also be made

aware of this.

All students are permitted to

make recordings of lectures to

listen back to afterwards, and if

additional assistive technology is

needed, such as an assistive

listening device / radio aid

system, we can advise lecturers

of what they may need to do in

order to facilitate this.

In practical sessions, additional

help can be requested if students

struggle to follow demonstrations

of follow written instructions, or

have difficulties with physically

using any of the lab equipment.

Tutors can be asked to compile a

glossary of course language in

order to support deaf students

who may need to clarify the new

terminology with their sign

language interpreter in advance

of using it to interpret in lectures

or seminars.


The Disability Advisory Service

works with academic

departments and placement

providers to implement

adjustments to the type of work

undertaken if there are any

disability-related reasons why the

usual duties of the role cannot be

carried out.

Alternatively, it may necessary to

arrange adjustments to working

hours for students to allow for

shorter days, or different working

patterns to allow a day off in the

middle of the week for students

with high levels of fatigue.

Recommendations can also be

made to consider the impact that

travel time to and from

placements may have on a

student’s wellbeing.

Additionally, the provision of

parking for students who have a

blue badge or for who walking to

and from a car park located away

from the placement location

would prove a significant barrier

may also need to be considered

when allocating a placement.

In cases where the accessibility of

the placement location is

important, such as the need for a

student using a wheelchair to

have step-free access to the place

of work, this information will be

passed to the relevant staff

involved with allocating


To find out about the provisions

we have in halls, as well

information on grants, personal

care assistance and more to

support your disability, please

see the information online at:




The university has three

campuses; Whiteknights, London

Road and Greenlands.

Whiteknights is the main campus,

set in 130 hectares of parkland

and with the full range of student

academic, support and social

facilities. The campus is mostly

flat, though there can be a

considerable distance between

buildings due to its size.

Accordingly, we can recommend

that adjustments are made to

students’ timetables to allow for

additional time to travel between

lectures for students with mobility

difficulties, or for back-to-back

lectures to be timetabled into

rooms within a reasonable

distance of each other.

London Road and Greenlands are

smaller, more specialist

campuses. London Road is home

to the Institute of Education and

as one of the university’s original

campuses, has a number of older

buildings which can present more

of a challenge in terms of


Greenlands is used by the

University's Henley Business

School as the base for its MBA

and corporate learning, and is

situated on the banks of the River

Thames near Henley.

Both campuses have spaces for

parking, including a number of

space specifically for blue badge

holders. Other students may

apply for a permit, and we can

support these applications when

required for disability-related


Buses run between the

Whiteknights campus and

Reading town centre every 7

minutes on a 24/7 basis, and

several services that stop outside

many of the halls of residence. All

buses have accessibility features

such as low floors, the ability to

‘kneel’ to allow easy access,

provision of ramps and a space

for a wheelchair.


Academic mentoring

If students require additional

study support to help them with

some of the academic demands

of studying at university, the

Disability Advisory Service can

provide academic mentoring


Social mentoring

Where students face potential

difficulties with university life due

to specific challenges managing

the social demands that this

entails, the Disability Advisory

Service can provide social

mentors to help.

This can provide a number of oneto-one

sessions to help with

organising workloads, prioritising

work according to deadlines and

time management. The support is

provided by a post-graduate

student with an experience of the

specific academic discipline being


Academic mentoring does not

provide teaching support, or

direct assistance with assessed

work, but aims to reduce any

disability-related barriers that

students may face with their


These are current students who

can help new students to manage

any difficulties they face.

The social mentor role is broad

ranging and responds to the

specific requirements of each

student, from help with joining

university clubs and funding their

way around campus, to just

someone to meet for a chat.

Social mentoring is usually

provided during the first few

weeks of term, but can be at

different times, or for longer

periods, when needed.


Apps Anywhere is a web based

tool which provides access to a

range of software applications

which can then be used by

students using their own

Windows device or from a

university owned PC, from any

campus location.

The applications available include

Texthelp Read&Write (text-tospeech)

and MindManager (mind

mapping), as well as Audacity,

which can be used to make and

edit recordings, and EndNote to

help with referencing.

There is also one computer within

the library with Supernova and

Zoomtext installed for students

with visual impairments to use.

The Disability Advisory Service

also has some equipment, such as

digital voice recorders and

laptops with a range of assistive

software installed, which can be

loaned to students on a shortterm

basis. These items are

prioritised for students waiting for

DSA-funded equipment, or

students who have equipment

that is being repaired.


The university runs a social group

specifically for students who

have Asperger syndrome / Autism

Spectrum Disorder.

The group, which meets throughout

the year, provides a chance to

chat about common interests and

to share experiences, though the

topics discussed, and the

direction that the group takes, is

decided by the group.

Students are welcome to attend

as many, or as few, meetings as

they would like.

Disability Advisory Service

Carrington Building, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6UA

t: 0118 378 4202 | e:

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