Adjustments and support available through the OU
The OU aims to make study as accessible as possible and a range of adjustments and support are available for all students as standard. More specialist adjustments are possible, however, you will need to tell us about your disability and provide evidence to request them.
Find out more about who can get disability support.
The following are available as standard from the OU for all learners (you don't need to tell us about a disability or provide supporting evidence to access these).
- Accessible module websites which allow you to adjust screen settings and use assistive technology such as screen readers. Find out more about studying on a screen.
- Access your module materials in a range of formats including Ebook (epub2), Kindle Ebook, Word versions (optimised for use with a screen reader) which you can print yourself, PDFs and DAISY talking books via the Download Resources on your module website.
- Online tutorials, with support options.
- Extensions to assignment deadlines - if needed you can request these from your tutor for most assignments.
- Support for mental health and wellbeing, including TalkCampus, which provides a safe, totally anonymous online space to air concerns with other students and get support for your mental health and wellbeing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And Shout, a text message support service.
- Accessibility help and the Computing Guide (which includes an accessibility section) to help you use a computer for study.
- Computing and Distribution Helpdesk who can help with installing OU software and technical problems running that software. They can't help with third-party software or training you to use software.
Requesting specialist support
You'll need to complete the Disability Support Form to request specialist adjustments. You'll need to provide supporting evidence of your disability or health condition and for the specialist adjustments required. For more information, and options for completing the Disability Support form see Timescales for getting disability support. For the types of supporting evidence you can provide see Telling the OU about your disability.
After you've completed the Disability Support Form, you'll be contacted by the Disability Support Team to discuss your study needs. We'll create a personal profile detailing the support you need. We'll also discuss with you other opportunities for support and funding, for example Disabled Students Allowances (DSA).
The following are examples of the specialist support available from the OU.
- Alternative versions of module materials that are not available from the Resources section of your module website such as comb-bound versions of books and printed versions of module materials in a format that meets your needs.
- Loan of small items of assistive technology.
- Assistance with using the library.
- Adjustments to face-to-face tutorials and other events like residential schools, such as an online school if you can't attend.
- Guidance on how to apply for an Advocate.
- Adjustments to assessments.
- If your module has an exam you can find out more about exam adjustments nearer the time.
Contact your student support team (SST) for help with study support. Your tutor will also support you with any academic queries about your module.
Disabled Students Allowance
The government funded Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) is available for students in the UK with a physical or mental health condition or a disability to support them with their studies. DSA is not available for apprenticeship learners, see the next section for information about Access to Work.
The following are examples of support that can be provided using DSA funding, if you apply for it.
- Non-medical help (NMH) support, for example a specialist mentor or study skills tutor.
- Communications support for D/deaf and hard of hearing students.
- Computer hardware, assistive technology (AT) software and specialist peripherals, for example an ergonomic keyboard or mouse.
- Adaptive software such as text-to-speech, screen readers or mind mapping.
- Ergonomic chairs and other furniture.
For students who are unable to get DSA, we may be able to provide some of the above. For more details see Timescale for getting disability support.
Access to Work for apprentices
If you’re an apprentice with a physical or mental health condition or a disability your employer must make reasonable adjustments to support you to do your job, including training. You can also apply for Access to Work, which is a government grant that can pay for any extra help you need.
The Diversity and Ability website provides a step-by-step guide to the Access to Work application process, including a helpful video Your Guide to Access to Work.
Access to Work can pay for things like:
- changes to current equipment or new specialist equipment
- fares to work if you can’t use public transport
- a support worker or job coach
- a support service if you have a mental health condition
- disability awareness training for colleagues.
Whether you have additional funding or not it’s important to tell us about your support needs so we can help you with your specific requirements. For more details on how to do this see Timescale for getting disability support.