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Timescale for getting disability support

The timescale for getting disability support will vary depending on your individual needs and the levels of support required. As a guide, it takes around six weeks for us to develop a support plan for you.

To access support you'll need to fill in the Disability Support Form. You should do this as soon as you've registered to study.

What is the Disability Support Form?

The Disability Support Form is the starting point for us to understand your needs. It will ask you to briefly detail:

  • How your disability affects you.
  • How your disability may affect your study.
  • What alternative formats of study materials 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 provide evidence of your condition in order to access specialist support. Providing evidence will help us to better understand your needs and develop a support plan for you.

If you’re concerned that you’ll be asked to pay for evidence, from a GP for example, we can discuss this with you.

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 the Social Services Office
  • a copy of your blue badge
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Sending us your evidence

You can attach your evidence to the Disability Support Form or send it to us by email to disability-support@open.ac.uk. If you have an OU email address ending @ou.ac.uk we suggest using that email address to send us your documents securely. Ensure you include your Personal Identifier (PI). You should ensure your data is secure when using email. Read our article on safe and secure computing.

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

You can also send us your documents using 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 do not recommend doing this as it will delay your application. See Contacts for disability support for details.

You should still complete the Disability Support Form even if you do not yet have the evidence or are unsure what to provide.

You can contact the Disability Support Team to discuss any questions have about providing supporting evidence or the kind of support you can expect to receive.

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Complete the Disability Support Form

Are you an apprentice?

If you're studying an OU Apprenticeship, you should complete the Disability Support Form for Apprentices (DOCX, 64 KB) (not the online form) or alternatively contact your Apprenticeship Team on 0300 303 4121.

Complete the Disability Support Form
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What happens next?

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

This process, from the point of submitting the form, will take around six weeks as we explore the various options and routes to support. We need to hear from you as soon as possible after you decide to study to avoid any delays in ensuring your support is in place for when your module starts. If we do not receive the Disability Support Form in time, we may not be able to guarantee all your support will be in place.

We'll also discuss with you other opportunities for support and funding, for example the Government funded Disabled Students Allowance.

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.

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

You can also find more information in our downloadable booklet Meeting your needs (PDF, 376 KB).

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Last updated 5 months ago