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Timescale for getting disability support

The timescale for getting disability support will vary depending on your individual needs and the level of support required. As a guide, it takes around six weeks for us to develop a support plan for you. We recommend you tell us about any support requirements as soon as you have registered for study.

Telling us about your support needs

Understanding your needs will help us to develop a support plan for you, for example:

  • how your disability affects you
  • how your disability may affect your study
  • what specialist support you may need
  • what adjustments you may need from your tutor
  • what adjustments you may need to attend online or face-to-face tutorials
  • how you would like us to communicate with you.

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Supporting evidence

You’ll need to supply evidence of your condition to access specialist support. Supplying evidence will help us to better understand your needs as we develop a support plan for you. If you don't have the evidence yet or are unsure what to provide, you can send it to us after you've applied for disability support.

If you don’t need specialist support but would still like to tell us about your disability or health condition and discuss other support strategies, you don't need to provide supporting evidence. If there is a change in your circumstances that means you'll need specialist support, you can supply evidence at that time. 

Suitable evidence can include:

  • a medical evidence report completed by a medical professional
  • a letter from a medical professional such as a GP, signed, dated and on headed paper
  • a letter or report from a medical doctor or qualified practitioner for temporary conditions (alternative and complementary therapists are not accepted)
  • a letter from a religious leader for support relating to religious beliefs
  • an Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • some benefit statements such as a Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • a full diagnostic assessment report confirming a Specific Learning Difficulty
  • a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) Needs Assessment report or entitlement letter
  • a copy of a Certificate of Vision Impairment or a letter from an audiologist
  • proof of registration as a blind or partially sighted person from Social Services
  • a copy of your blue badge.

If you’re concerned that you’ll be asked to pay for evidence, from a GP for example, we can discuss this with you. You can find our contact details in Contacts for disability support.

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Sending us your evidence

There are three ways to send us your evidence.

  1. Upload it as you fill in the Disability Support Form.
  2. Send by email.
  3. Use the Secure File transfer option detailed below.

If your evidence is on paper, you can scan it using a smartphone and either upload it to the form or email it to us.

Send by email

Email your evidence to disability-support@open.ac.uk or if you're an apprentice email your evidence to disability-apprenticeships@open.ac.uk.

If you have an OU email address ending @ou.ac.uk we suggest using that one to send us your documents securely. Make sure you include your Personal Identifier (PI).

You should always ensure your data is secure when using email. Read our article on being safe and secure online.

Secure File Transfer

  • Go to: https://filetransfer.open.ac.uk/Do not log in.
  • Select the ‘drop-off’ option.
  • Type in your name and email address.
  • Leave ‘Your organisation’ blank.
  • Click the ‘Send confirmation’ button.
  • You'll be sent an email – please check your junk folder if you do not receive it.
  • Click on the link in the email sent to you.
  • In the Add Recipients box type disability-support@open.ac.uk in the Email field (you do not need to write a name in the Name field) and click Add & Close.
  • In the Short Note to Recipients box enter: DSF Evidence.
  • Click on the button 'Click to Add files’ and attach your application form, submission form and evidence.

You can send your evidence by post if you can't send it any other way. We don't recommend doing this as it will delay your application. See Contacts for disability support for details.

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Giving us your information

We have two versions of the Disability Support Form. One is for students studying an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification or modules only. The other version is for apprentice students. It's important you complete the correct version.

If you're studying an OU Apprenticeship, except for policing apprentices, you should complete the Disability Support Form for Apprentices or contact the Apprenticeship Team on 0300 303 4121. If you're a policing apprentice and want to request support, please email disability-apprenticeships@open.ac.uk.

If you’re studying as a research student, you should not complete a Disability Support Form, contact the Disability Support Team directly for an alternative.

Disability Support Form for UG, PG and module only students
Disability Support Form for Apprentices
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What happens next?

We'll contact you for an initial chat about your needs and write a personal profile which summarises the discussion. You'll be able to view this profile on StudentHome by going to the Profile tab.

The process of getting your support in place will take around six weeks from when we receive your information. This is so we can explore the various options and routes of support for you. To be able to get your support in place in time for the start of your module we need to hear from you as soon as possible. If we don't receive your information early enough, we may not be able to guarantee all your support will be in place for when you start studying.

We'll also discuss other opportunities for support and funding with you, for example Government-funded Disabled Students Allowance or, if you're an apprentice, Access to Work.

While you're waiting for us to contact you, or to receive support, there may be things you can do yourself to help you start studying. Go to studying on a screen to find out about the accessible formats we provide for all students and get tips on setting yourself up to learn online comfortably and successfully.

You’ll also find details of alternative digital format resources, accessibility guides, library resources and other support services under Resources on your module website once it opens, via StudentHome.

If your needs change, you can contact the Disability Support Team to discuss any adjustments.

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Contacting us

If you have any questions about the information we ask for, type of evidence you need or the kind of support you can expect to receive, you can find our contact details in Contacts for disability support.

Last updated 3 months ago