Adjustments and support
To find out if you are eligible to receive any of the adjustments and support we provide, you first must make an appointment with the Disability Advisory Service.
On this page:
- Suggested reasonable adjustments
- Accommodation support
- Additional exam arrangements
- Specialist study skills tutorials
- Specific inclusive technology training
- Dyslexia/SpLD peer support groups
- Non-medical help (NMH) support
- Library support
- Study mentors
- Student mental health advice
- Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
Suggested reasonable adjustments
The needs of every student are different, and the kinds of support we can offer to students will depend on individual need. Not all the support options below are appropriate to all disabled students and additional options will be available to students with more complex or specific needs. The best way for you to find out about what support you can access is to make an appointment with us.
Once you meet with a disability advisor, a Suggested Reasonable Adjustments Document (SRAD) will be created. This will list what support you are eligible to receive. Listed below are some of the most common recommendations we make.
Our accommodation page has further information on the type of support and adjustments we may be able to offer.
The Disability Advisory Service may be able to help obtain specialist equipment to support your studies if you are experiencing difficulties relating to disability. The type of equipment required will depend on your level of studies and your individual needs. Please note that the Disability Advisory Service is not able to provide laptops or computers for disabled students.
How do I arrange equipment?
You should arrange an appointment with a disability advisor. We will discuss the difficulties you are experiencing and will advise on the types of equipment that may be available. You will need to provide appropriate relevant evidence and you may be asked to attend an appointment with our Occupational Health team to assess what equipment you need.
Additional exam arrangements
These are reasonable adjustments that increase equity and accessibility in examinations. We endeavour as far as possible to ‘level the playing field’ for disabled students.
These arrangements are evidence-driven to ensure that other students are not disadvantaged. The reasonable adjustments we recommend are advisory only. Although our recommendations are usually accepted, the final decision on additional exam arrangements is made by the College’s Registry department.
Examples of additional exam arrangements are:
- Extra time
- The use of a computer
- Rest breaks
- The use of a computer or inclusive technology
- A reader and/or amanuensis (scribe)
How do I arrange additional exam arrangements?
You are responsible for presenting your evidence to the departmental disability officer (DDO) in your department who will apply for the arrangement on your behalf. This is not done automatically. However, we strongly advise that you also present your evidence to the Disability Advisory Service in order to access the wide range of support services outlined on our website.
Specialist study skills tutorials
These tutorials are arranged at a time to suit you outside your class time. However, this scheduling is dependent on staff availability. The content is negotiated with you but is led by our team of experienced dyslexia/SpLD tutors. They will train you to understand how you learn best considering your strengths and weaknesses. Sessions are not limited in number, but they are reviewed and evaluated periodically. The aim is to increase study efficiency and to develop independence.
How do I arrange specialist study skills tutorials?
An allocation of tutorials will be considered and made in your SRAD after you are assessed. If you do not have a current SRAD in place, please make an appointment with us so that this can be arranged.
Specific inclusive technology training
We can refer students to have tailored training delivered by Diversity and Ability (D&A). You will learn how to use inclusive technology to support you in the following areas of study:
- organisation and timekeeping;
- writing, planning and proofreading;
- research and referencing;
- procrastination and stress management.
Examples of inclusive technology that students have received training on are:
- Dragon Speech Recognition Software
How do I arrange inclusive technology training for my disability?
Students need to be referred by a member of the Disability Advisory Service. We will assess whether this training is suitable for you.
Dyslexia/SpLD peer support groups
These groups are arranged at varying times and dates to accommodate as many students as possible. We are running three in total, with the main themes being dyslexia, dyspraxia/DCD and AD(H)D as an SpLD. The aim is to get students talking with each other to share ideas and issues and to develop a greater understanding of what it means to have an SpLD. The content is negotiated with you but is led by our team of experienced dyslexia/SpLD tutors. Sessions are limited to six participants each.
How do I join a dyslexia/SpLD peer support group?
These groups are available to students who have formal evidence of an SpLD. Invites to join will be sent out periodically but if you want to ask for a place, please e-mail us directly.
Non-medical help (NMH) support
This is a generic term for people who provide disability-related support to students and covers a diverse range of staff, including:
- laboratory assistants;
- specialist study mentors;
- sign language interpreters.
How do I arrange non-medical help support?
You should arrange an appointment with a disability advisor. We will discuss the difficulties you are experiencing. We can usually put this in place quickly provided we have the appropriate relevant evidence.
The Library works closely with the Disability Advisory Service to deliver bespoke support, this includes:
- longer book loans;
- book fetching;
- accessible textbooks;
- specific study space requirements;
- access to assistive technology PCs.
How do I arrange library support?
To arrange this support, please make an appointment with us. A disability advisor will discuss the difficulties you are experiencing with your studies and will contact the Library to arrange any recommended support. A signed Consent to Share form and appropriate evidence of your needs must be provided before a library loan extension can be put in place.
Study mentoring is a form of specialist support for students with mental and physical health difficulties, social and communication conditions (such as autism) and attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder.
It is designed to support students keep on track with their academic work, by helping them to identify the impact of their condition upon their learning and to develop effective study strategies.
Study mentoring is not subject-specific but aims to facilitate the development of a range of skills needed in higher education. The Student Counselling and Mental Health Advice Service website has further details.
How do I arrange to get support from a study mentor?
You should arrange an appointment with a disability advisor. We will discuss the difficulties you are experiencing in order to ensure that mentoring is the right form of support for you. Provided we have the appropriate relevant evidence, we can usually put this in place quickly.
Student mental health advice
The role of the student mental health advisers (SMHAs) is to provide support for students who may have had or are experiencing moderate to severe or enduring mental health difficulties.
How do I arrange a referral to see a student mental health adviser?
Students need to be referred by a member of College staff (such as the Disability Advisory Service), with the student’s permission, in order to be seen by a student mental health adviser. The mental health advisers are unable to take self-referrals from students or their family and friends.
Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
Disabled students who are living in the UK (i.e. ‘home’ students) can apply to Student Finance England or their relevant funding body for the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs). The DSA will pay for any extra disability-related study costs arising from your studies. DSAs are not means-tested and do not need to be paid back. You can apply for DSAs at any time during your course, but we strongly recommend you do so as soon as possible as the whole process can take up to 3 months. You can apply for DSAs when you apply for student finance.
If you have a disability or impairment, including mental health difficulties and other unseen impairments such as dyslexia or a medical condition, you may be eligible for DSAs. You will be asked to provide proof of your disability or impairment (e.g. a diagnostic assessment report, or a letter from a medical authority) and you will be invited to attend a needs assessment with a specialist assessor once your application has been approved.
The support you get depends on individual need but can include funding for specialist equipment (students must contribute £200 towards laptops or computers if either is recommended), taxi allowances, non-medical help and printing and other general allowances.
Students studying at Imperial can access certain support such as specialist study skills or study mentoring tutorials directly through Imperial's Disability Advisory Service so we recommend making an appointment with us to discuss what support you may be able to access.
How can I find out more about the application process for DSAs?
You can visit the government's DSA website for further information. The application process can feel daunting, so we have produced a DSA application guide (PDF) for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
I am studying a PhD at Imperial, can I still apply for DSAs?
Yes, if you meet the criteria to apply for DSAs. You apply in the standard way (as above) unless your PhD is funded by a UK Research Council. In this case, you need to make an appointment with a disability advisor as the application process is different. Visit the UKRI website for more information on recognised councils.
We have produced a DSA UKRI application guide (PDF) to support you with this process.