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Reasonable Adjustments: Intellectual Disability

Reasonable adjustments refer to a “measure or action taken to assist a student with disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students”1 They are designed to place students with disability on a more equal footing, and not to give them any kind of advantage.

Reasonable adjustments made for a student with disability must maintain the academic integrity of the qualification and not cause a health or safety risk for another student(s) or negatively impact upon the learning experience of another student(s).

Adjustments are negotiated to meet the needs of the individual student, this is predominantly done through a Disability Practitioner within the institution the student attends.

To accommodate individual students

Students with an Intellectual Disability may benefit from a range of inclusive teaching and assessment strategies.  Some adjustments that are frequently used for students with an Intellectual Disability include:

  • provision of a peer mentor and/or peer tutor
  • opportunities to practice new skills and concepts before assessment
  • opportunities to discuss outlines and drafts of assignments and gain feedback before submitting for assessment
  • provision of reading lists before the start of a course so that reading can begin early
  • provision of simplified, step-by-step instructions for practical tasks, with verbal and written instructions and diagrams as appropriate
  • access to assistive technology as appropriate, including software and smartpens for example
  • additional time with a tutor or learner support officer to explain tasks and reinforce explanation of course content
  • information provided in a range of formats that best suit the learner
  • provision of a glossary of technical and professional jargon that students will need to learn at the beginning of the course
  • recordings of lectures so that material can be covered more than once
  • oral feedback on assignments in addition to written feedback
  • individual orientation to laboratories, workshops, studios and computers and systems
  • extensions to assignment deadlines
  • alternative assessment methodologies such as digital photography, and audio or video recordings
  • additional time to complete exams
  • support in exams such as someone to read questions and to scribe answers or provision of text-to-speech and speech recognition software
  • alternative exam venue that is private and free of distractions
  • take home exams
  • modified exam papers with questions presented in bullet points rather than complex sentences and short answer questions instead of multiple choice
  • modified exam timetable, with extra time between exams
  • use of a word processor to correct spelling.


1 Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2013. Student Diversity. Accessed on July 21 2016 from
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training, Identifying Student Requirements and Making Reasonable Adjustments.  Accessed on July 20 2016 from
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training, Intellectual Disability.  Accessed on July 21 2016 from
Queensland VET Development Centre (2010), Reasonable adjustment in teaching, learning and assessment for students with a disability.  A guide for VET practitioners.  Queensland Government.  Accessed on July 20, 2016 from