Welcome to the Disability Advisory Service
In the Disability Advisory Service (DAS), we are aware that the transition to university can be particularly challenging for students with disabilities.
This webpage aims to ease this transition by informing about the support that the University can provide, as well as what should be sourced from other organisations/agencies.
Take a look at our playlist of Welcome Videos.
To ensure success at university, it is important for students to assess and plan for their required support, while also communicating any needs to us.
From the Disability Advisory Service (DAS)
Some adjustments are automatically put in place once a student has registered with DAS. Others may require an appointment to be made with a Disability Adviser to discuss availability, but support can potentially include:
- Exam provisions may be agreed by DAS and the Examinations Office where appropriate. These will vary but are likely to include extra time. Rest breaks or use of a PC may also be agreed where appropriate
- Advice on applying for the Disabled Students Allowance
- A Social Mentor or orientation buddy to help with integration into university life, where appropriate. This is typically a second or third year undergraduate who can provide company and guidance during Welcome Week and assist with joining clubs and societies
- An Academic Mentor to help with planning academic work and time management, liaising with the department where necessary. This is usually a post-graduate student
- With the student’s consent, liaison with academic departments to help them understand what is most helpful. An Individual Learning Plan (ILP) can be completed while meeting with a Disability Adviser
- Support in applying for parking permits where appropriate
- Access to a Sonocent/Glean licence to aid notetaking, where appropriate
- Advice on the application process to bring an assistance or therapy animal onto campus
From academic school or department
Once a student has discussed their needs with a Disability Adviser, DAS will liaise with the academic school or department to put support in place. Depending on the disability or disabilities of the student, adjustments available from academic departments can include:
- Permission to record lectures for own use subject to the University’s recording policy
- Class handouts available at least 48 hours in advance (where possible) to download from Blackboard (the University’s Virtual Learning Environment)
- As much advance notice as possible about group work, presentations or irregular teaching sessions (e.g. field trips or practical sessions which are not a regular feature of the course)
- Reading lists made available before the module begins via the University’s online reading list system Talis Aspire
- More explicit marking criteria
- Presentations - delivering to a smaller group, just the tutor, via video, marking on content only or exceptionally written presentation only with additional notes or alternative assessment
- Group work - advanced notice or additional discussion with tutor. In exceptional circumstances, alternative assessments may be available
- Field trips, or practical sessions - advance notice and discussion of what may be involved and what your needs are
- Lab practicals - clear written notes on what is expected
- Vivas - being asked one question at a time and allowed extra time to answer
- Dissertations - being given feedback or actions in writing
- Exemption from being asked to read aloud if needed and requested
- In conjunction with the Disability Advisory Service, help, advice and liaison with compulsory work placement providers regarding disability-related needs
Student halls of residence offer opportunities for a communal living experience. Students have their own study bedroom and share a kitchen and bathroom with between six and twelve other students. Alternatively, students can apply for a room with its own en-suite shower room.
Living in halls can be a great way to meet other students, but different students will have different views on acceptable noise levels, cleanliness and sharing, tolerance and consideration are key to harmonious communal living. More information can be found about individual halls on our accommodation pages.
- Specific accommodation needs relating to disability must be explained on the application for halls to ensure these disability related needs are prioritised. For example, students may request a hall close to the centre of campus, a ground floor room, a room on a higher floor, an en-suite room, a hall with fewer people sharing a kitchen or bathroom, or a particular type of hall
- Once the application for halls has been submitted, in year one it will be prioritised on the basis of a need to live in halls for a reason related to a disability or medical condition. This does not necessarily guarantee a place, but does give priority over other studentsAn Accommodation Contribution may be payable for students who have specific accommodation needs in halls of residence which incur an additional cost. Check the Accommodation Contribution eligibility pages for qualification criteria, the rate of contribution and how to apply
- Other information about disability support available in halls can be found on the Disability Advisory Service pages.
Students wishing to explore alternatives to halls can see information on the Students’ Union Advice pages.
Additional support you can apply for
Disabled Students Allowances from your funding body
We recommend applying for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). In order to be eligible, applicants need to have been resident in the UK for five years before starting their studies. Successful applicants may be eligible for the following support:
- Regular one-to-one support from a Specialist Mentor who has professional experience of mental health, and can help with developing coping strategies for university
- Study Skills sessions (often weekly). Personal, tailored support to help with time management, essay writing skills, and reading and exam preparation strategies
- Help towards the cost of a laptop computer
- Assistive technology (e.g. digital voice recorder or specialist software for dictation or notetaking)
Following a DSA application, the relevant funding body will provide instructions on how to book a needs assessment in which an independent assessor will discuss any needs and determine the individual package of support. Most students with medically recognised mental health conditions will receive valuable support if they apply.
We recommend EU or international students check with sponsors or local student finance authorities in advance, as they should be funding additional support.
Self-funded students who may need additional support should provide evidence and discuss any needs in advance with the Disability Advisory Service. A Disability Adviser will assess these needs and discuss how these can be addressed. It is important to note that adjustments can take some time to put in place, so early conversation with the Disability Advisory Service is essential.
From other University services
Students at the University of Reading will also have access to the following support services and facilities:
- Welfare Team - to help with any personal difficulties during University
- Counselling and Wellbeing Team - to help with mental health advice
- Support Centre- the first port of call for any queries about studies
- Library Support - both online, and via Academic Liaison Librarians
- Students Union - provides a range of services including advice and student activities
- Student Financial Support - for help with budgeting and unexpected financial hardship
- Life Tools workshops - to ease the transition into university and enhance the university experience
Things to do now
- Apply for Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) (for UK students). International students should speak to their sponsor or student finance authority to see what support is available.
- DAS will write to applicants, usually the June before arrival, to request completion of our online registration form and the uploading of relevant documentation. This must be provided in good time to ensure adjustments are in place for the beginning of term and allow additional time if the assessment needs translating. Support is subject to providing the necessary documentation.
Please note: Unexpected changes to services may be necessary due to the challenges of the Coronavirus and the need to reduce risks to students and staff. However, the Disability Advisory Service will always continue to deliver key services remotely where possible.