Frequently asked questions

General

Q: The student already knows they have a disability. Do they need to provide evidence?

A: We do need evidence of disability. This could be a General Practitioner (GP) letter for a disability or a medical condition and/or a psychologist or a qualified practitioner report for specific learning difficulties e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia.

Evidence must follow the wording provided in the Equality Act 2010 and state that a diagnosis and that the disability is:

  • substantial
  • long-term in terms of the impact on the student's normal daily life.

Q: Do students have to tell their lecturer that I am dyslexic or have another disability?

A: No. They may choose not to disclose their disability to anyone. However, if they would like support arrangements, such as extra time in examinations and in-class tests, they must disclose their disability to the disability services and we will pass this information on to individuals and schools who may be able to help the student. If the student agrees to disclose their disability, we only tell people on a need to know basis and we can discuss this with the student first. Students sometimes feel that they are able to manage on their own without assistance, but being away from their usual support systems or studying at university level abroad can cause additional strains. In our experience, it is best to disclose a disability.

Q: The student chose not to tell anybody about their disability but have now changed their mind. Is it too late?

A: Although we would encourage students to disclose their disability as early as possible, they can do this at any time throughout their course. They must give us adequate warning, however, if examination provisions need to be put into place for them, please encourage the student to discuss this with Disability Services.

Q: The student had extra time (or other arrangements) for their exams at their previous school/college/university. Will these arrangements be carried over automatically?

A: No. students must register their support needs with Disability Services.

Disability Services can liaise with the examinations office on their behalf to arrange Modified Assessment Provisions (MAPs), but it's essential that they make contact as early as possible to organise exam provisions.

In accordance with the University of Plymouth Regulations, students requiring MAPs must talk to Disability Services prior to any provisions being put in place by speaking with a member of the Disability Service.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Q: I have a diagnosis of autism; is there any support available for me?

A: University of Plymouth Autism Social Group (PAS)

A social group for students by students who have an autism spectrum diagnosis. The group is run by students with ASD diagnosis alongside Sarah and Dan (Disability Advisors). Describing the group students say "it’s a social group for those with autism spectrum disorders, where we can meet up weekly with like minded people, giving us the opportunity to be ourselves and gain confidence with other people in a social environment". The group aims to be a fun environment and give members a chance to try new activities. If you are thinking about joining we are very happy to meet you individually beforehand.

Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties

Q: Where do I go if I think that I may have dyslexia?

A: Many students come to University having already been diagnosed with dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD). Other students begin to wonder about the possibility of being dyslexic for the first time once they start their studies. The Learning Gateway is a good place to go if you have any queries at all about dyslexia. The reception team can advise you about the free screenings we offer to see how likely it is that you are dyslexic, or book you in with a Disability Advisor to discuss any difficulties you may be experiencing in relation to a possible SpLD, and give you details of local private diagnostic assessors.   

Q: What support is available to me if I have a specific learning difficulty?

A: The Learning Gateway and our web pages have information on study skills support for students with dyslexia funded through the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). Study skills sessions are tailored to suit you and may include areas like helping you develop strategies to optimise your memory, looking at how to plan and structure written work, improving interactive reading techniques, managing your time well etc . If you have an SpLD but are not eligible for DSA, perhaps because you are an international student, please do speak to a Disability Advisor so that we can still ensure you have appropriate support.

Q: What other support is available to me?

A: There is also help with studying for all students whether or not they have a disability, e.g. SUM Up and the Writing Café. More information can be found on the learning development page

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

Q: As I am an international student I do not qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowance. Can I still access support through Disability Services?

A: Yes. You're welcome to come in and discuss your support requirements for study. The University has specialist software available via site wide licences which can help with note taking and your studies generally as well as study skills provision. Although international students are not usually eligible for the same sources of funding as UK students it may be worth exploring possibilities of funding assistance within your home country.

 

Non-medical helper support

Q: Where can I find out more about the different non-medical helper roles?

A: Please access this link to provide more details about non-medical helper support.

Admissions

Q: When should I let the University know about my disability?

A: It's important to let us know when you first apply or at any time, but ideally as early as you can. This ensures that you're given the right advice on the support, equipment and facilities available in the University and helps us to meet your needs. If you are not sure whether your condition is considered to be a disability, please come and talk to us. Disclosure about a disability will not prejudice your application. Find out more about disclosing your disability.