Arranging reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments can enable you to participate in the academic assessment process on a fair basis, and according to your preferences. Find out how to arrange reasonable adjustments that work for you.



Universities are expected to make reasonable adjustments that enable disabled student to access their course by taking into account the possible impact of the disability on their learning. Some reasonable adjustments are anticipatory – that means a University should always expect to have students with certain requirements, and  to enable their learning and put to these in place. For example, this is the provision of disability and learning support services, hearing loops in lecture theatres, and adjustments to buildings to aid access.

Some adjustments need to be determined working with the individual student and discussed more broadly with relevant university staff. In practice this normally means speaking to course leaders and tutors about how you learn best and how you are able to demonstrate your learning. Disability advisers will assist you with this and at UCA this will be the Learning Support Manager on your campus. We do this using a document called the Learning and Teaching Support Agreement where we look at your learning strengths as well as challenges and work with course leaders to look at how we can apply reasonable adjustments to minimize or remove some of your challenges.

To be considered reasonable the adjustment must

  • Ensure that the academic integrity of the course is maintained – we couldn’t for example remove some of the course unit from your study, but we should wherever possible look at providing some options around how you learn and are assessed on that unit. An example might be looking at alternative ways of undertaking a dissertation
  • Ensure that you can demonstrate the learning outcomes of the unit. For example if the unit of study requires you to be able to edit a film, you must be able to demonstrate you know how to do this.
  • Be affordable by the university – for example we couldn’t deliver the course in very small groups or by individual tuition

Remember – the first step for you is to speak to the Learning Support Manager at your campus and we recommend that you do this as soon as you know you have been offered a place at UCA.

How does it work?

To be eligible for individual reasonable adjustments you need to have had an autism diagnosis and have told your university about your autism. The university’s disability support team then meets with you and discusses your needs. Ideally, this also involves an academic from the course you are studying. It is important that you are actively involved in this process, and also in making decisions regarding reasonable adjustments that work for you.

How could this affect me?

Some autistic students find the assessment stages of their course particularly challenging; for example they may feel unable to stand in front of a large group and present their work, or they may find working as part of a group or team a challenge.

By putting reasonable adjustments in place, UCA seeks to remove or mitigate the barriers to learning and assessment, so allowing the student to meet the learning outcomes of the course.


What to do next?

Arrange a meeting with disability support and your course leader

Practical tips

It is imprtant that both the Disability support team and the academic staff are involved when reasonable adjustments are being considered; deciding reasonable adjustments is a negotiation process – it is often a case of what works for you individually.

Focus on learning outcomes – what are alternative ways for you to evidence your knowledge and understanding?

The disability team is there to support you, but they won’t necessarily know the academic requirements; this is why it is important to involve the academic staff too.

Reply promptly to all communications regarding your reasonable adjustments, to ensure support is put in place when it’s needed.


Questions to think about

Does my autism put me at a disadvantage over other students, when it comes to completing work?

Am I able to meet the learning outcomes of my course?

Who do I need to speak to regarding making reasonable adjustments?


About the author

Edited by Jackie Hagan, Learning Support Coordinator, UCA Rochester