proposed protocol for disabled students preparing for their year

The aim of this protocol is to ensure that disabled students going on a year abroad
placement in the next academic session are identified and assisted when choosing
their destination, making sure that the School complies with the Disability
Discrimination Act (DDA). While we must prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to all
students, in the case of students with a disability, we may need to do more to meet the
duty. (See a list of disability categories at the end of this document.)
The Year Abroad Coordinator and the DoS should play an important role in directing
this part of the student’s studies. However, in some cases (perhaps most cases) it will
be essential that decisions are reached after consultation between the DoS, the Year
Abroad Coordinator, the Teachability Coordinator, and the Coordinator of
Adjustments. The centre of the process is, of course, the student, whose opinions are
also vital to ensure s/he gets a satisfactory learning experience when abroad.
According to the DDA, it is unlawful to allow a student with a disability to spend a
period of residence (outside our campus) in an environment where s/he will be or feel
discriminated against. We need to ensure that this does not happen. We also need to
ensure that the environment chosen will allow our disabled students to profit from
their learning experience. In the case of students with mobility impairments, we
should ensure that the receiving institutions have accessible buildings. In the case of
students with learning difficulties, we should ensure that the adjustments that are in
place for this student at Edinburgh will also be allowed if they are attending a
university abroad. Decisions to agree on the implementation of adjustments when
abroad will involve negotiations with the student, making clear to him/her that our
aim is that s/he gets the same learning experience as the other students. Likewise, we
should also ensure that no student (with or without an impairment) suffers less
favourable treatment as a result of sexual and racial discrimination.
DoSs and Course Organisers receive from the Disability Office the Learning Profile
(LP) of students with a disability.
Our first contact with disabled students:
In their Year Abroad information sessions, Year Abroad Coordinators should mention
(to all students attending) that students with an impairment should approach Year
Abroad Coordinators in order to discuss their year abroad placement. There may be
cases where the student prefers to meet with his/her DoS initially.
NB It would be a good idea if, when communicating with the students, we use the
most considerate terminology, e.g. instead of “disabled students” (which is used here
mainly for linguistic economy) we should use “students with an impairment” or
“students with an adjustment schedule” or any other formulae, like “students that have
any sort of impairments”.
While most students will have disclosed their disability in their 1st year, other disabled
students may have not and other students may have developed an impairment recently
or be unaware they have one.
For this reason, it will be important that YA Coordinators remind students in other
information sessions along the year that, disabled students must approach their Year
Abroad Coordinators to discuss their year abroad.
In addition to YA information sessions, YA Coordinators may also consider sending
an email to the 2nd years mail-list reminding them.
By the end of November, disabled students should have met with their YA
Coordinators to have an initial discussion of their year abroad placement.
In their meeting with a student with an impairment, YA Coordinators should:
(1) Carry out an initial risk assessment on the placements proposed by the student.
(2) Assess whether this student, during their year abroad and in the proposed
placement, may be or feel discriminated on the basis of their disability — in which
case the student cannot be sent to that specific environment and an alternative one
needs to be found, always in agreement with the student. The student should be able
to provide information about the proposed destination.
(3) Assess whether adjustments (if they are in place in the student’s LP) can actually
be implemented abroad or what sort of reasonable adjustment can be made abroad to
ensure the student gets the appropriate learning experience.
(4) Assess whether appropriate assistance (helpers, note takers, etc.) may be available
for the student during their stay abroad — if they need it, and if they are not available,
also to ensure the student gets the appropriate learning experience.
(5) If the student needs medication, ensure that s/he will be able to carry it to the
NB: it is important that proper and accurate written records of conversations with
students are kept. Ideally, DoSs should be involve in decision making or, at least,
informed that the student is being assisted in his/her choice of destination and copied
any emails to the student.
The names of students with an impairment are not provided to the Year Abroad
Coordinator. For this reason, YA Coordinators should obtain a list of such students
from 2nd year course organisers, who are emailed the learning profiles of disabled
students, and who can also access a list of students with adjustments in the webpage
See at the end of this document, under ‘How to tract 2nd year students with a Learning
Profile’, the email sent by the Coordinator of Adjustments to LLC staff in Autumn
2008, which explains how to generate a list of students with Learning Profiles.
This could and should be done by January.
NB please note that different subject areas have different deadlines for Erasmus and
other exchange programmes applications. Some subject areas receive applications in
semester 1. This needs to be taken into consideration when discussing placements
with the students.
Once first contact has been made between YA Coordinators and the students with an
impairment, YA Coordinators may liaise with the School Teachability Coordinator
when a case requires special action. The School Disability Coordinator may then
liaise with the Coordinator of Adjustments and/or the Disability Office.
The Year Abroad Coordinator agrees a Year Abroad plan proposal with the student;
DoSs are informed and, when appropriate, proposals are then submitted to the
appropriate academic officer (Head of Teaching Office / Head of Subject) for
Once the proposal is agreed by all parties, the student is asked to agree to it in written
It is important that students are given the option to go to the foreign location knowing
that not all their adjustments will be implemented — of course when this will not pose
any risks to their health and safety. If after negotiation with the student, s/he chooses
to go, we should get something on paper from them which indicates that they know
not all their adjustments will be provided.
Please bear in mind that if we send information regarding the impairments or
adjustments of one of our students to the receiving university abroad, we need to
mention to them that this information needs to be kept confidential and it should be
destroyed after our student returns home. We should have a named person in the
receiving institution who is responsible for this — e.g. the head of the International
October 2009
J A G Ardila
LLC Teachability Coordinator
1) The months indicated above only give a suggestion of when actions should be
taken. October and November are proposed on the basis that this is an urgent
matter which will require attention, and therefore needs to be dealt with as
soon as possible.
2) A student may disclose a disability at any time. Therefore the above process
beginning in October may, in some cases, begin much later. In some instances,
the student may disclose their disability once they are in the foreign country.
UCAS categories of disability
No Disability
A specific learning disability (e.g. dyslexia)
Blind or partially sighted
Deaf or hard of hearing
Mobility difficulties, generally wheelchair users
Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome
Mental health difficulties
A disability that cannot be seen e.g. diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition
Two or more of the above
A disability, special need or medical condition not listed above
How to tract 2nd year students with a Learning Profile
The text below was sent by the School Coordinator of Adjustment to all LLC staff, in
Autumn 2008. It explains how to generate a list of students with Learning Profiles.
Please note that the list can only be obtained by course organisers and secretaries.
Dear Colleagues
In order to help keep track of which of your students have Adjustment Schedules,
please try the following beta service. The interface is crude but effective - the
Disability Office may refine it if demand is high enough. Please get back to me with
your thoughts as to usefulness and how it might be improved.
Go to
and enter your e-mail address. You will then be sent a separate message for each
course you are associated with and for which Adjustment Schedules are listed. The
message will list student names and associated adjustments. Any Course Organiser or
Secretary can use the service, provided they are on WISARD. As Course Secretaries
are often associated with a range of courses, you may find it more useful for them to
access the system, as a more complete list will then be generated.
Best wishes
Neill Martin
Co-ordinator of Adjustments LLC
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