Reasonable Adjustments: Specific Learning Disability (SpLD)
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. They commonly include the following.
To accommodate individual students
Students who have specific learning disabilities that impact upon their ability to study may benefit from a range of inclusive teaching and assessment strategies. Some adjustments that are frequently used for students who have specific learning disabilities include:
- Provision of reading lists in advance of the course so that reading can begin early.
- Provision of summaries of key texts and concepts in lectures.
- Provision of written, step-by-step instructions for assignments and practical tasks.
- Provision of assistive technology such as speech recognition and text-to-speech software and smartpens for use in class, for assignments and in exams as appropriate.
- Additional tutor time to explain topics, tasks and any material presented on boards or PowerPoints and to explain processes and sequences in processes required by the course.
- Provision of learner materials in preferred formats, including size of text, spacing and printing on coloured paper.
- Provision of a glossary of technical terms and professional jargon with a plain English explanation at the beginning of the course.
- Recorded lectures.
- Support with time management.
- Peer mentoring or additional learner support time to aid in organisation and time management and to provide additional orientation to equipment if required by the course.
- Provision of oral feedback in addition to, or instead of, written feedback.
- Extensions to deadlines where extensive reading and/or research has been required.
- Submission of outlines and drafts of assignments to allow feedback.
- Provision of additional time for reading and analysing questions and planning answers.
- Provision of a distraction-free environment where assistive technology can be used for exams.
- Oral instead of written answers in assignments and other assessment tasks where possible.
- Use of word processing software in exams to improve spelling.
- Provision of Irlen Filter Sheets.
- Provision of materials printed on appropriately coloured paper.
1 Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2013. Student Diversity. Accessed on July 21 2016 from australiancurriculum.edu.au/studentdiversity/students-with-disability
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training, Identifying Student Requirements and Making Reasonable Adjustments. Accessed on July 20 2016 from adcet.edu.au/inclusive-teaching/working-with-students/making-reasonable-adjustments/
Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training, , Learning Disabilities. Accessed on July 19 2016 from adcet.edu.au/inclusive-teaching/specific-disabilities/learning-disability/
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 adcet.edu.au/resource/7383/file/1
Vicker, M.Z., (2010). Accommodating College Students with Learning Disabilities: ADD, ADHD and Dyslexia. Pope Center Series on Higher Education, The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy: Raliegh, North Carolina. Accessed on July 20 2012 from http://www.popecenter.org/acrobat/pope_articles/vickers_march_2010.pdf