Frequently asked questions: help for current students

Q: I already know I have a disability. Do I need to provide evidence?

A: We do need evidence of your 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.
Your evidence must follow the wording provided in the Equality Act 2010 and state your diagnosis and that your disability is:

  • substantial
  • long term in terms of the impact on your normal daily life.

Q: I don’t want my lecturers to know that I am dyslexic or that I have another disability. Do I have to tell them?

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

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

A: Although we would encourage you to disclose your disability as early as possible, you can do this at any time throughout your course. You must give us adequate warning, however, if examination provisions need to be put into place for you, please discuss this with Disability Services. I want to disclose my disability now.

Q: I had extra time (or other arrangements) for my exams when I was at my previous school/college/university. Will these arrangements be carried over automatically?

A: No. You must register your support needs with Disability Services

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

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

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Q: I have a student with autism; what support is there available within the University?

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 have a student thinking about joining we are very happy to meet them individually beforehand. 

When: 4–6pm, term time
Where: First floor, 3 Portland Mews
Free refreshments

New members welcome at any time.

For further information about the group contact Sarah Anderson or Dan Collings (Disability Advisors).

Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties

Q: Where does a student go if they think that they may have dyslexia?

A: The Student Hub is a good place to go if you or your student’s have any queries at all about dyslexia. The reception team can advise you or your student’s about the free screenings we offer to see how likely it is that they are dyslexic, or book them in with a Disability Advisor to discuss any difficulties they may be experiencing in relation to a possible SpLD, and give details of local private diagnostic assessors.

Q: What support is available to my students if they have a specific learning difficulty?

A: Student Services 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 the student and may include areas like helping students develop strategies to optimise their memory, looking at how to plan and structure written work, improving interactive reading techniques, managing your time well etc. If the student has a SpLD but they are not eligible for DSA, perhaps because they are an international student, please do ask the student to speak to a Disability Advisor so that we can still ensure they have appropriate support.

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

Q: What is the Disabled Students Allowance?

A: Please refer to our Disabled Students' Allowance page.

Non-medical helper support

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

A: Please access details about non-medical helper support.