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Requesting specialist adjustments Adjustments and support available through the OU

To request specialist adjustments from The Open University (OU) you need to tell us more about the support you need. To find out how to do this, see Telling the OU about your disability.

You'll need to provide supporting evidence of your disability or health condition and for the specialist adjustments required. You can find more information about supporting evidence on Telling the OU about your disability.

An adviser from the Disability Support Team will contact you within ten working days of you sending your request to discuss your support 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 may be available for some modules where the teaching can be translated to offline study.
  • 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 Telling the OU about your disability.

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 Telling the OU about your disability.

Further support

If you would like further support around overcoming barriers to studying, you could also:

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