- Supervisors & managers
- Premia - making research education accessible
- Supervising disabled researchers - Premia
- Making the viva accessible
- Making adjustments - case studies
Making adjustments - case studies
Look at these scenarios. Then consider:
- Will the candidate be substantially disadvantaged in their viva if adjustments are not made to usual practice? If so, why?
- What would constitute reasonable adjustments in these situations - adjustments which would not interfere with academic standards?
The Equality Act 2010 continues the existing duty upon institutions to make reasonable adjustments for students, as well as staff and services. These adjustments apply where a disabled person is placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to non-disabled people. The three requirements of the duty are in relation to:
- provision, criteria or practice
- physical features
- auxiliary aids
The duty to make reasonable adjustments requires institutions to take positive steps to ensure that disabled students can fully participate in all aspects of the education environment. This goes beyond simply avoiding discrimination. It requires education providers to anticipate the needs of potential disabled students for reasonable adjustments.
Some possible adjustments for each scenario are outlined in the pages in the right-hand menu.
- Karen is dyslexic and has used assistive software throughout her PhD to read the literature. The symptoms of her dyslexia are heightened by stress.
- Parmit is blind. She uses a text enlarger to read materials
- Jack is a Deaf candidate and his first language is BSL (British Sign Language). He has worked with an interpreter throughout his research in seminars and supervision sessions.
- Matthew has mental health difficulties. He has experienced severe panic attacks at times of stress throughout his PhD.
- Ivan is a deaf student who lip reads.
- Jude is dyslexic and has short term memory difficulties. She has managed her PhD studies, has well-developed strategies for managing her learning and has also worked with a dyslexia support tutor throughout her research.
- Ian has Asperger's syndrome and has social communication difficulties.
- Jiro has multiple disabilities and is a wheelchair user. He experiences high levels of pain and fatigue.
- Madeleine has cerebral palsy. Those who do not know her well can find it very difficult to understand what she is saying.