Classroom Accommodations For Students With a Disability

Reasonable Accommodations are intended to alleviate any possible disadvantage experienced by a student with a disability. Students may require Reasonable Accommodations in both the classroom and exam setting.

These guidelines describe Classroom Accommodations which are commonly required by students with a disability in UCD.

Classroom Accommodations are based on individual need and are determined with each student when they attend for a Needs Assessment.

Students are encouraged to review their accommodations regularly as the accommodations available are continually reviewed and updated. However, it should be noted that accommodations cannot be applied retrospectively.

Please note that guidelines for reasonable accommodations in timed exams are explained on this page.

Steps for Students to Arrange Disability Support 

Students can arrange supports with ALL at any time during their course of study. However, it is recommended that students arrange supports as early as possible as some accommodations can take time to organise.

The procedure for all students who wish to arrange disability support is as follows:

  • Students must request a Needs Assessment with a member of ALL staff where a support plan will be agreed.
  • All students must provide evidence of their disability before Reasonable Accommodations can be arranged. The documentation required is outlined on our Evidence of Disability Form.
  • Students sign the Consent to Release Information Form which includes permission to disclose information relating to their Classroom and Exam Accommodations to appropriate academic staff and support units.
  • The student is given a Certificate of Disability Support which outlines the accommodations they require. It is explained to the student that it is their responsibility to inform relevant lecturers/tutors of their accommodations. The student may use their Certificate of Disability Support to communicate this information.
  • Students are encouraged to review their accommodations regularly and can make an appointment to discuss their accommodations with the Disability Team at any time.

 

How to View Supports

Communicating the Exam and Classroom Accommodations required by students with a disability to academic staff

All Classroom and Exam Accommodations are recorded on the student record system and made available to Module Coordinators through Infohub Class Lists.

Follow these steps to view the report:

  1. Login to UCD Connect
  2. Under applications click on Infohub
  3. Click on My Class Lists. The number of students with a disability will appear in the “Students with Disability” column.
  4. Click on the digit to see the list of students with a disability and their classroom and exam accommodations.

It is recommended that this information is disseminated to all staff involved in teaching the student. We appreciate that individual departments will have their own procedures for communicating information. The information should be treated on a “need to know” basis. Thus only those staff who teach the student should receive information, rather than all staff.

It is the student’s responsibility to make lecturers/tutors aware of any reasonable accommodations they require. However, as some students are reluctant to approach academic staff, it is recommended that staff actively seek this information e.g. by contacting students individually where possible, or by encouraging students to make contact with them via email or during their office hours.

Documents supplied by students as evidence of a disability are held by ALL and are not disclosed to any third party, without the written permission of the student.

Disability Fact Sheets

UCD Access & Lifelong Learning has prepared a selection of fact sheets for staff on how to support students with particular disabilities in college. Click on the links to download fact sheets on each of the following disabilities:

If you have a specific query on how to support a student with a disability you can ask the student themselves or email disability@ucd.ie.

For general guidelines on how academic staff can support students with particular disabilities please refer to DAWN Handbook - Teaching Students with Disabilities: Guidelines for Academics.

List of Accommodations

Classroom Accommodations commonly required by students with disabilities in UCD

Classroom accommodations are tailored to meet individual requirements and may include the following:

Disability Awareness Supports

A number of disability awareness supports are used to inform academic staff to the nature of a student’s disability. The student will have consented that academic staff are informed of the nature of their disability if an awareness support is listed. Not all students wish to disclose the nature of their disability to academic staff and can decline an awareness support. For general guidelines on how academic staff can support students with particular disabilities please refer to the DAWN Handbook and UCD & Lifelong Learning (ALL) Disability Fact Sheets. If you have a specific query on how to support a student with a disability either ask the student themselves or contact ALL for advice (email: disability@ucd.ie)

 

 

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The student may experience difficulties with attention, distractibility (particularly in environments
with many stimuli) and difficulties with short-term memory. The student may employ strategies to
improve concentration during class (e.g. taking intermittent movement breaks) or tests (e.g. using
earplugs). Providing clear and regular guidance regarding the expectations of students within the
module is beneficial (e.g. assignment deadlines, necessary readings, exam expectations). For general
guidelines on how you can support a student who has ADD/ADHD please refer to the UCD ALL
Disability Fact Sheets.

This accommodation is provided for a variety of reasons for students who may require their learning materials in an alternative format to printed materials. UCD works with the NCBI to provide materials in an alternative format. Academics can assist by assuring students receive their reading material in a timely manner by providing the student with details of the required reading as early as possible. Academics should ensure that handouts are available in an electronic format and that readings provided on Brightspace or by other means are accessible. SensusAccess is available to all UCD students and staff to convert file formats and if you need assistance with creating accessible documents please contact disability@ucd.ie. NCBI Bookshare is available to students with print disabilities and houses many titles in accessible formats e.g Audio, Braille Ready Files, PDF and Word. Students are advised to contact Access & Lifelong Learning for information on this resource.

The student may experience difficulties with communication (social or otherwise) and interaction in the classroom setting. Academics should be made aware if possible about students in their courses with ASD if they regularly utilize group/paired discussions/projects/class presentations in their modules, for these can be especially challenging to these students. Providing clear and regular guidance regarding the expectations of students within the module is beneficial (e.g. assignment deadlines, necessary readings, exam expectations). Academics should endeavour to be consistent in how they post information for courses for instance using Brightspace in a consistent way to ensure all their learning material is easily found. For general guidelines on how you can support a student with an Autism Spectrum Disorder please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets.

For students with colour blindness some learning material formats need to be adjusted. Meaning should not be provided with colour alone – use of a pattern as well as colour can assist in this matter. Learning materials should be checked in advance to ensure there is no instance of meaning being provided through colour alone. Students can avail of Assistive Technology such as colour filters and apps.

If there is more than one student with Cystic Fibrosis in the class it will be necessary to ensure that they are placed in separate tutorial groups due to the risk of cross contamination. Similarly they may need to sit apart from each other in lectures, or in some cases they may not be able to attend the same large lectures. ALL check the modules of students every trimester to ensure there is no overlap. Where there is a case of two students in the same module the students are put in contact with each other and ALL will contact the relevant staff. If you notice that there is more than one student with Cystic Fibrosis in your class and you haven’t been contacted by ALL, please alert Access & Lifelong Learning (email disability@ucd.ie) who will liaise with the students regarding appropriate arrangements. This system is dependent on students disclosing their diagnosis to ALL and therefore we cannot guarantee that students with Cystic Fibrosis will not be exposed to others with the same diagnosis.  Please advise any student who discloses to you that they have a diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis to contact ALL for advice. Students with Significant On-going Illnesses, such as Cystic Fibrosis, may be absent from time-to-time due to appointments or ill health. A degree of flexibility at a local level, with regards to absences and deadlines, may be helpful to prevent the student from continually applying for extenuating circumstances. Students are not obliged to disclose their diagnosis to Access & Lifelong Learning. In the case a student with Cystic Fibrosis diagnosis discloses their diagnosis to a module coordinator or staff member and has not yet linked in with ALL, please encourage the student to link in with ALL. For general guidelines on how you can support a student who has a Significant Ongoing Illness please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets. For more information on Cystic Fibrosis please refer to the Cystic Fibrosis Ireland website.

The student may need to take breaks during lectures and tutorials. If the student becomes unwell during your class or lecture you should inform the first aider that the student has Diabetes. Students with Significant Ongoing Illnesses, such as Diabetes, may be absent from time-to-time due to appointments or ill health. A degree of flexibility at a local level, with regards to absences and deadlines, may be helpful to prevent the student from continually applying for extenuating circumstances. The student may have a device or phone in class to check their blood sugar levels, which should be allowed at all times. For general guidelines on how you can support a student who has a Significant Ongoing Illness please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets.

The student may experience difficulties with coordination as well as planning, organising and executing some tasks. Some students may use a laptop to take notes or complete exams due to difficulties with handwriting. Providing clear instructions in multiple formats (e.g. verbal and written) may be beneficial for students when learning to do new tasks such as lab experiments, using a new software or writing an essay. Providing clear and regular guidance regarding the expectations of students within the module is beneficial (e.g. assignment deadlines, necessary readings, exam expectations). For general guidelines on how you can support a student who has dyspraxia/DCD please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets. 

This support is provided to make staff aware if a student has epilepsy and therefore may be at risk of a seizure. Should a student have a seizure in class a staff member should call the UCD emergency number – 7999. This is the case should any student become suddenly unwell. Students with Significant Ongoing Illnesses, such as Epilepsy, may be absent from time-to-time due to appointments or ill health. A degree of flexibility at a local level, with regards to absences and deadlines, may be helpful to prevent the student from continually applying for extenuating circumstances.

ALL encourages students to submit their work on time. Extended deadlines are recommended as an accommodation for students who have fluctuating conditions, may be absent due to ill health and who may find it difficult occasionally to submit assignments on time, due to the impact of their disability. Extended deadlines are only approved in exceptional circumstances and this is not an accommodation which is usually allocated to students at their initial Needs Assessment. Students are informed by ALL that they need to contact the member of staff concerned for any extensions prior to the existing deadline for the work. Students are aware that they are not in receipt of a blanket extension for the academic year and that this is an accommodation not to be abused. ALL recommends a maximum extension of 10 working days, in line with the UCD Late Submission of Coursework Policy. However, the length of the extension will depend on the individual student’s circumstances, as decided between the module coordinator/ programme and the student. On occasion, it may not be possible to provide students with an extension e.g. work must be submitted before the exam board meeting. However, where possible, staff and students should agree a suitable submission date. After the agreed submission date the piece of work should be treated as overdue in accordance with the local procedures.

The student may experience fatigue due to the effects of their disability or the effects of medication used to control a medical condition. The student may have difficulties with concentration and completion of tasks or assignments due to extreme fatigue. A degree of flexibility at a local level, with regards to absences and deadlines, may be helpful to prevent the student from continually applying for extenuating circumstances. Academic staff should be conscious that the student tires easily and may require a rest period or break during lectures and tutorials.

Degrees of hearing loss can vary. Academics should consult the student who will inform them of any assistance they need. Students may use a ISL interpreter. Students may use technology such as radio aids which may require the lecturer to wear a microphone or have an additional microphone on the desk beside them. The student will be able to advise the lecturer on what is required. Lecturers should be conscious of using the lecture hall microphone and that the student may be lipreading and the lecturer should face the class when speaking. For general guidelines on how you can support a student who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets.

This accommodation indicates that the student is Deaf or Hard of Hearing and a sign language interpreter may accompany them to lectures/ tutorials/ labs. Please ensure that the interpreter receives a copy of any handouts or materials to be used. Often the interpreter and the student will encounter new words during a lecture that have no corresponding sign in ISL. The interpreter must either finger spell the word or agree a new sign with the student, which can interrupt the flow of the lecture. It is helpful to provide a list of new technical terms so that new signs can be agreed in advance of lectures. During lectures the interpreter will sit at the top of the class and the student will be seated in the front row. Avoid walking between the interpreter and the student. When communicating, speak and look directly at the Deaf student. The interpreter will convey the message in the first person and will communicate the meaning and content of what you are saying. The interpreter may contribute to the class on the student’s behalf or may seek clarification on a particular point in order to explain it more clearly to the student. ISL interpreters are provided by ALL.

Specific Learning Difficulties refer to a number of conditions that affect a person’s ability to learn. The student may have particular difficulties with one or more of the processes required for fluent reading, writing and number work. They might include difficulties with memory, organization and coordination. Examples of Specific Learning Difficulties include dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. 


Academics should be sensitive to possible self-consciousness by the student about speaking or reading aloud in lectures and tutorials. Written material should be provided digitally using printed text rather than handwritten notes. The layout should be clear and simple and a clear sans serif font should be used such as Arial rather than a serif font such as Times Roman. Ally on Brightspace can give feedback on the accessibility of lecture content to module coordinators. Constructive and substantive feedback on draft assignments (submitted to you in advance of the deadline) is the most useful accommodation you can provide to students with Specific Learning Difficulties, particularly in relation to the structure of the work, the order of ideas, layout and presentation. Students are encouraged to use literacy and proofreading software and to proofread their written work prior to submission. Students with a Specific Learning Difficulty should have their assignments graded in line with their peers. The Refer to Grading Guidelines support is not applicable to continuous assessments. For general guidelines on how you can support a student who has a Specific Learning Difficulty please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets.

This accommodation indicates that the student is Deaf or Hard of Hearing and will be provided with live captioning, facilitated by ALL. This captioning service is online so the student requires a good internet connection for this to work effectively. The captioner will type the content of the lecture in real-time and the student will follow the lecture on their own computer screen.

Mental health difficulties may include anxiety, obsessive compulsions, phobias, depression, eating disorders and schizophrenia. For many students, a condition may be variable and they may experience periods of particular difficulty. This may require some understanding and flexibility. The combined effects of medication and disturbed sleeping patterns may affect a student’s ability to participate and keep up with college work. Flexibility around deadlines may be helpful. This support offers the opportunity for the module coordinator and student to have open communication around student’s concerns for participation in class. For general guidelines on how you can support a student who has a Mental Health Difficulty please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets.

The student may experience severe migraines. The student may experience severe headaches, sensitivity to light, visual distortion, nausea or other related symptoms. If the student becomes unwell during your class or lecture you should inform the first aider that the student experiences severe migraines. Student’s participation in class may be affected by the onset of a migraine or the medication. For general guidelines on how you can support a student who has a Significant Ongoing Illness please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets.

The student may experience difficulty with mobility due to a disability, most often a physical or neurological condition. This may mean that the student uses a mobility aid such as a cane, frame or wheelchair. The student may require a movement break and the need to move during class. Ease of access/movement should be considered when planning any activities for classes or trips outside of the classroom/lecture theatre. Access and movement within a lab setting should be considered to ensure the safety for all in the lab. Module coordinators should liaise with students around the accessibility of the classroom environment or lab.

Narcolepsy is a neurological condition which may affect a student’s control over their sleep patterns and wakefulness. Students with narcolepsy may experience disproportionate daytime sleepiness and at times may have episodes of falling asleep during classes or lectures. Try not to single students out in front of their peers should this happen.

It has been decided at the student’s Needs Assessment that no classroom accommodations are required at present. Students who are registered with ALL are advised to review their accommodations regularly and may discuss their accommodations with Access & Lifelong Learning at any time.

The student has been provided with software to assist with proofreading of their continuous assessment submissions. The student may use a proofreading tool (Grammarly) to analyse their essays and identify grammar errors. Grammarly is provided to students by ALL. Students may also wish to avail of Learning Support in ALL or the UCD Writing Centre to develop proofreading skills. Students are informed that all pieces of continuous assessment are corrected the same for all students and proofreading is required before submission. For more information on Assistive Technology (AT) used by students in UCD please see our AT webpage.

Lecture Slides must be provided to the student, ideally in advance of the class, if not already available on the Virtual Learning Environment. The slides provided should be identical to those used in the lecture and should not have any content omitted.  This accommodation is recommended for students who have a substantial difficulty in taking notes in class as a direct result of their disability. Handouts should also be provided in advance. Lecture Slides must be available to students as a PowerPoint presentation in electronic format to allow the student to use Assistive Technology, such as text-to-speech software or magnification, if required. All course materials provided are for the student's own personal use and should not be shared.

The student has a diagnosed speech and language difficulty. Academic staff should be aware that the student may find it difficult to participate verbally in class and should discuss this with the student. Oral presentations and/or assessments should be discussed with the student well in advance. In a small number of cases an alternative assessment method may be appropriate.Speech and language difficulties can vary between students so it is advisable to liaise with the student to discuss their needs. Some students with a speech and language difficulty may have a stammer. For general guidelines on how you can support a student with a Stammer please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets.

ALL allocates funding for college-related transport costs for students who have physical or mobility difficulties or who have a visual impairment, resulting in public transport being unusable for the student. Details of field trips should be provided well in advance to allow the student to make appropriate travel arrangements. Staff must always consider the accessibility of the field trip location. Some students who require the transport support may have a physical disability, for general guidelines on how you can support a student with a physical disability please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheet.

This student may be accompanied by a service dog. A service dog means any dog that is individually trained to specific industry standards to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory or psychiatric condition. An example of a service dog is a guide dog for the blind. Please consult UCD’s Animals on Campus Policy for further information.

Academic staff should allow the student to use a computer to take notes or use assistive software during the class. This accommodation is often recommended for students who have a substantial difficulty in taking handwritten notes due to their disability. Ideally any student who would like to use technology in the classroom would be permitted to do so. If use of technology is prohibited for all those except those with this reasonable accommodation it allows for an indirect disclosure of the student requiring a reasonable accommodation.

This accommodation is recommended for students who have a substantial difficulty in taking notes in class due to the impact of a disability e.g. if the student is Hard of Hearing or has a physical disability which affects their handwriting. Note-taking is only provided in exceptional circumstances and when the student is unable to use Assistive Technology. Some students may choose not to sit beside their note-taker in class and it may not be apparent who the note-taker is. All note-takers are encouraged to make themselves known to the lecturer. The role of the note-taker is to take notes only. They should not participate in class discussions or interact with other students. A typed copy of the notes is sent to the student by email after the class. Note-takers should not attend a class if the student is not there. However, in exceptional circumstances, note-takers have been arranged to take notes for students who are sick and cannot attend, for reasons related to their disability.

This accommodation indicates that the student may be accompanied to classes by a Personal Assistant (PA). The PA is there to assist the student and should not contribute to the class and/or lab unless they are assisting the student to make their contribution. The PA may take notes for the student and assist them in travelling between classes and/or labs. Module coordinators should liaise with students around any requirements in order to facilitate the PA in the classroom/lab.

This accommodation indicates that the student is Deaf or Hard of Hearing and requires the use of a radio aid in lectures and tutorials. ALL provides the student with the radio aid and training in how to use it. Most radio aids require the lecturer to wear a clip on microphone. The student will usually wear the receiver around their neck. The student will ask the lecturer to use the microphone at the beginning of the class.

Permission to audio record lectures is a reasonable accommodation which enables many students with a disability to get the most from lectures, the material from which might otherwise be inaccessible to them. Reasons why a student may require the use of a recording device include: when handwriting is painful or causes discomfort due to a chronic medical condition or physical disability; when a student with a Specific Learning Disability, such as Dyslexia, is unable to listen and write at the same time. Students who require information in an audio-format should be permitted to record lectures. All students who have been granted this reasonable accommodation agree that the audio recording will be used exclusively for the purposes of private study and will not be disseminated or shared with any third party under any circumstances, please see our privacy statement for more details. If it is not possible for a student to record a particular class, the student should be informed of this well in advance so an alternative method can be arranged to ensure that the student has full access to the lecture content e.g. the lecturer provides detailed notes or a transcript of the lecture. An alternative method should be discussed by the lecturer, student and Access & Lifelong Learning. All parties should be clear on what provisions are being made well in advance of the class itself.

The effects of a visual impairment can vary widely. Academics should consult the student who will inform them of any assistance they need. These students may also require materials in Alternative Format (please see information above). When slides are used then a clear sans serif font with a minimum size 24 should be used. Slides should present text with a clear colour contrast. For general guidelines on how you can support a student who has a Visual Impairment please refer to the UCD ALL Disability Fact Sheets.

Voice recognition software may be used by a student with a physical disability or one with learning difficulty which results in challenges with written expression. This software is provided by UCD ALL for the student to use when completing assignments or other written tasks.

ALL liaises with Buildings and Services to ensure that lectures are scheduled in an accessible venue when there is a wheelchair user registered to take the module. Academic staff should ensure that all other aspects of the module take place in an accessible location. Details of field trips should be provided well in advance to allow the student to make appropriate travel arrangements. If transport is booked centrally by the lecturer or School then a wheelchair accessible bus should be booked. Staff must consider the accessibility of the field trip location.