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Reasonable Adjustments: Intellectual Disability

As per the Disability Standards for Education 2005 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”. 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 other 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. They commonly include the following.

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.