Studying with a disability
The Department of Computing and Imperial College London are committed to ensuring that you are able to make the most of their potential, regardless of disability or impairment. The Disability Advisory Service (DAS) is a specialist team that is there to provide confidential support and advice for all students at Imperial.
Some students join Imperial knowing that they have a disability. Although you may have declared this on your application, support is not put into place automatically. You would need to make an appointment with the Disability Advisory Service to discuss what support you will be able to access.
The definition of disabilities and impairments includes physical difficulties and health conditions. Other examples include specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. Other challenges might be based around your mental health, including anxiety and depression. You may be on the Autistic Spectrum. Sometimes you may not have realised you had a disability or impairment before you came to Imperial, but we encourage you to still speak to the Disability Advisory Service and seek advice.
DAS will consider your situation in conjunction with appropriate evidence and they will recommend reasonable adjustments, designed to ensure that you have the same opportunities to succeed as other students on the course. These might include, for example, extra time or rest breaks during examinations.
Sometimes health conditions may be an issue for a shorter period, for example if you were to break your wrist before an exam and struggle to write. DAS will also recommend appropriate adjustments in situations like that, for example through recommending you have access to a scribe to write for you.
DAS will also help to signpost you to appropriate places offering support around Imperial as well as helping you to access appropriate financial support.
All communications with DAS are confidential, although if they do recommend reasonable adjustments some information will need to be shared with appropriate people within the Department to ensure that they can be put into place.
If you feel that you would benefit from reasonable adjustments, we recommend you apply as soon as possible. Many students ask for an appointment at the start of term and this often leads to a backlog. You may also be asked to supply evidence, which can take time to collect, or to attend screenings for conditions such as dyslexia. DAS has information about what type of evidence can be accepted. In some cases, you may need to undergo fresh screenings. Once reasonable adjustments are recommended, these need to be formally approved by the College and some time is needed before they can be put into place. Therefore, it is recommended that you start the process with DAS as early as possible.
Department Disability Officer
The Department Disability Officer (DDO), Dr Thomas Lancaster, acts as the link person between DAS and the Department of Computing for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students (for PhD students, Dr Nicolas Wu takes a similar role as Senior Tutor).
The main role of the DDO is to ensure that the reasonable adjustments recommended by DAS are put into place at Department level. This includes liaising with the Academic Registry to get the adjustments formally approved and making arrangements for adjustments to examinations.
The DDO is not a disability professional by background, but has a regular role within the Department (in Thomas' case, although he has completed some disability training, his primary role is a Teaching Fellow). That is why the recommendations for reasonable adjustments have to come from DAS.
Thomas is always happy to have an informal discussion with students about the process, as well as to discuss how recommendations are put into place within the department once they have been approved.
Information for Applicants
The Department is keen to ensure that all students are able to undertake and benefit from the courses we offer. To succeed on the course, students do have to meet the competence standards which form part of the admissions criteria.
We will consider reasonable adjustments where it is appropriate to do so, but the competence standards still need to be met. If you would like to discuss this prior to applying to or joining the course, we recommend you contact the Disability Advisory Service.