This page gives just a few examples of possible adjustments for communication impairments in post-18 education. There is a separate page on exams and assessments. Different students will find different adjustments helpful - it is sensible for this to be discussed with the student.
This page includes examples of what can be helpful. What is legally required under the Equality Act 2010, by way of reasonable adjustments or otherwise, will depend on the particular circumstances. Also the Equality Act usually only applies if the impairment is a 'disability' as defined.
A student who stammers (and who wishes this arrangement) agrees a simple hand signal with the lecturer to signal when she would - or would not - like to be brought in to speak in tutorials. Where possible, the lecturer brings her in quickly if she would like to speak, so as to reduce build-up of stress.
A student (e.g. with cerebral palsy, or a stammer) is not comfortable speaking in class, or is sometimes not comfortable doing so. The lecturer agrees that the student can ask questions after the class, or in the lecturer's office.
A student with a communication disability is given a general number of words for a presentation, rather than a time limit.
(Other possible adjustments for presentations are discussed in the 'Stammering' links below, for example use of audiovisual aids, group rather than individual presentation, and/or presenting to a smaller audience.)
A university provides specialist teaching for a student with specific language impairment (SLI). The teaching makes sure he understands the language and terms used in his course. The teaching also covers areas such as organising one's time, and writing an essay. It may be funded by Disabled Student Allowance.
It will often be possible to have technological aids funded by Disabled Student Allowance.
A student with specific lang uage impairment (SLI) might receive a laptop funded by Disabled Student Allowance, which he can use as a spellchecker. Another possible technological aid for SLI is a recording device to enable the student to record lectures and take notes later.
A university student who stammers obtained an electronic fluency device through a grant of Disabled Student Allowance, and a computer to enable him to calibrate it. This technology helps some but not all people who stammer.
Student allowance granted for fluency device (link to stammering.org)
Commonly both the work placement provider and the educational institution will have duties not to discriminate in relation to work placements. The Equality and Human Rights Commission gives some guidance for education providers: Work placements (link to EHRC website).
Specific language impairment
- Planning for life after 16 (link to Afasic website) - information sheets on specific language impairment (SLI)
- Working in colleges with students who stammer (pdf) - link to British Stammering Association's resource for school staff stammeringineducation.net
- Working with students who stammer (pdf) - examples of adjustments for students who stammer, on the De Montfort University website.
- Stuttertalk podcasts (from the United States): Stuttering: Accommodating College Students (307) and Stuttering: Should We Accommodate Silence? (308).
Cerebral palsy case study
- Making Reasonable Adjustments with Disabled Students in Higher Education (pdf, link to nottingham.ac.uk). See Case Study 5: Developing access to teaching, learning and assessment for a student with cerebral palsy.