Contacting us and registering
How do I contact Disability Services?
Please contact us by email at email@example.com. Please provide your full name, student number (if applicable) and provide us with some information about the reason for your contact. This will help us respond appropriately. At peak times it may take a few days to receive a response. Disability Services can also be contacted by phone on 028 9097 5250.
A Drop-In Service is available daily during term-time from 11.00am - 3.00pm. Students can access this service on the first floor of the Student Guidance Centre. Drop-in queries can also be dealt with remotely via telephone on 07387 545123.
- How do I register for support?
To register with our service please ensure you complete a pre-registration questionnaire and provide relevant medical evidence. You can find an overview of this process including guidance and checklists here.
Once this is completed, we will arrange for a Disability Officer to assess your in-course support requirements.
- Should I disclose my disability or long-term condition?
Deciding to disclose your disability or long-term condition is a personal decision. However, we strongly recommend that you inform us at application stage to enable us to address your individual support requirements. It is best to put support in place as soon as possible so that your university experience is the best it can be, however, you can disclose at any point during your course of study. Disclosing your disability or medical condition could allow you to receive support that you may not have realised is available.
All information will be treated in strict confidence in line with GDPR regulations.
- I intend to start a postgraduate course at Queen's in September. How do I ensure my support will be in place from Disability Services?
If you are commencing a new course or changing course, it is important that you let Disability Services know. This is to ensure we can assess suitable supports for your new course or level of study. Support will not continue from undergraduate to postgraduate studies without a reassessment appointment. Please contact Disability Services to find out how to book a reassessment appointment firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I have a short-term injury and need support, can I register with Disability Services?
No, Disability Services can only register students who have a disability or long-term condition. For further information about support available to those with short term or temporary impairments, please follow the link below.
Medical conditions including pregnancy and temporary impairments
What types of support are available?
When registering with Disability Services, a Disability Officer will recommend appropriate reasonable adjustments for you within the academic environment (in-course support). For example, support during lectures, tutorials, assessments, exams and the library.
Your Disability Officer will consider what support you found beneficial in the past and assess the information contained in your medical evidence before making recommendations.
Support recommendations will be tailored to your individual needs.
Disability Services may also refer you to other services within the University if appropriate. For example, the Student Wellbeing Service, Students' Union or Learning Development Service.
- In-course funded support
There may be funds available from your home Education Authority / Student Finance for you to access equipment and one to one support. For further information, please refer to our guidance on funded support.
After you've registered
I am registered with Disability Services and use one-to-one support. Am I able to access my support remotely?
Yes, you will be able to access your support in a flexible manner either on a face-to-face basis, remotely via video-conferencing methods or by a combination of the aforementioned to allow you to engage with your one-to-one support in a way that is best suited to you, your disabilities/ conditions and your individual requirements.
If you have any specific queries relating to one-to-one support, please contact the Register of Support Providers at Queen’s by emailing: email@example.com
- Are there social groups for students to meet other students?
- How can I check what support was agreed when I registered with Disability Services?
After your initial assessment with a Disability Officer, an Individual Student Support Agreement (ISSA) will be completed outlining the details of your support. This will be sent to your School and you will also receive a copy. It is a good idea to keep a copy of your ISSA so you know your support details and can follow any guidance provided within it.
- What if my support needs to change or I have a new condition?
If you need to review your support or tell us about a new condition, please contact us to arrange review appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What happens to my information?
If you have a disability we strongly recommend that you register with Disability Services as early as possible.
Queen’s University holds any personal information which you provide to us in accordance with data protection regulations (GDPR). Your information will only be shared with those who require it in order to make any adjustments necessary to enable you to participate in your course and the many opportunities Queen’s has to offer. Disclosure will only take place with your consent, and your right to confidentiality will be respected at all times. As most students are aged over 18 years, we are not allowed to share your information with third parties eg your parents, without your written consent.
Rarely, it may be necessary for us to share information with relevant third parties eg health and social care professionals, parents and/or next of kin if there is a known or suspected risk of harm to yourself or others. There may also be occasions where we have a legal obligation to share information. We will always advise you when this is the case. If you wish to view more details about how and when we will use your data, please refer to the University’s Student Privacy Notice
You have the right to withdraw your consent to disclose information at any time. You can do this by informing us in writing or emailing email@example.com .
I already have a DSA Needs Assessment. Why do I need an appointment with a Disability Officer?
Most students will have two appointments with us. One with a Disability Officer to discuss in-course support needs such as flexibility with deadlines, exam support and library support. Your Disability Officer is your first point of contact throughout your course. The other is with a Needs Assessor who will assess your DSA funding needs e.g. specialist equipment, non-medical helper support, general allowances etc. The assessor will conduct a Needs Assessment and write a report outlining their recommendations which is sent to your funding body for consideration.
Assessments and Examinations
I have been recommended flexibility with deadlines. How do I arrange an extension?
If you are experiencing difficulties with submitting work on time as a direct result of your disability, you should contact your School* at least 24 hours in advance of the deadline to request an extension. It is important to note that flexibility with deadlines is a recommendation and not an automatic entitlement and therefore you must liaise directly with your School to arrange any extensions.
Please note that all students are encouraged to meet standard deadlines for submission of assignments. Students are advised to use disability support when completing coursework e.g. assistive technology and/or one-to-one Tutor support. Extensions should only be requested for disability-related reasons such as when there are difficulties accessing support or on occasions when there is an unexpected flare-up in your condition.
* Every School has their own procedures for requesting an extension. This may include contacting the School Disability Adviser, module coordinator, Year Group coordinator, School Office or applying online. Please familiarise yourself with the procedures for requesting extensions within your School well in advance to ensure that you follow the correct procedure.
- How long of an extension am I entitled to?
Extensions are not automatic and there is no set amount of additional time recommended on your ISSA. This is because each request will depend on factors such as your individual circumstances, how long you have had to complete the assessment, when feedback needs to be provided to other students and exam board deadlines. Academic members of staff must take these factors into account before granting an extension or providing a new deadline.
I need additional support for my upcoming exams but am not registered with Disability Services. What should I do?
Students with a disability or long term condition need to register with the service to receive support for exams. Students should complete our pre-registration questionnaire and attach relevant medical evidence (see Guidelines for medical evidence ) in order to register. Disability Services staff will then contact you via email to arrange an appointment.
Please note that there is a cut-off date by which you must register with Disability Services in order for exam support to be guaranteed. Cut-off dates will be advertised to all students during semester two.
- I would have availed of a reader, scribe or prompter support when sitting my exams on campus. How will this work if my exams are online?
There is a range of Assistive Technology and Software (ATS) available to support you.
Many students will already be very familiar with the range of assistive technology and software (ATS) they can use to complete assessments from home. However, those who normally receive one-to-one support may have some reservations/ concerns.
Please note: If you have received your ATS but have not yet availed of the accompanying training, you are strongly encouraged to contact the approved trainer as soon as possible to make arrangements for remote training. If you are unsure who the recommended trainer is, this will be detailed in your DSA2 letter. Alternatively contact the Needs Assessment Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification.
Students may make use of voice dictation software that allows you to verbally dictate your answers to be converted to typed text. This software may be accessed as follows:
- Dragon Professional Individual V15– students in receipt of DSA may already be using this software for written composition. If you are not in receipt of DSA, please contact your Disability Officer for further guidance.
- Microsoft Office 365– Microsoft Office 365 comes with inbuilt voice dictation feature – click here for more information.
Students may use text to speech software. This will read aloud the text on your computer screen. This may be accessed as follows:
- Assistive software such as TextHelp Read and Write Gold or Claroread– students in receipt of DSA may already be using this software for text to speech. If you are not in receipt of DSA, please contact your Disability Officer for further guidance.
- Microsoft Office 365– Microsoft Office 365 has an inbuilt text to speech feature. Click here for further information relating to the accessibility functions available in Office 365.
If you normally receive Prompter support and have a timed exam through Canvas, you can arrange with your Prompter to ‘phone through with prompts as you work through the exam. Alternatively, you could set regular reminders or alarms on your phone, which will alert you throughout your exam.
All students have access to Microsoft Office 365 and it may be downloaded on to up to 5 devices. Click here to find out more.
As highlighted, Office 365 comes with inbuilt accessibility such as voice dictation and text-to-speech. There are plenty of YouTube demonstration videos available to illustrate how to get started. Click here for an example.
- Will I need to contact my lecturer or let them know I have extra time in my exams?
Students registered with Disability Services have an Individual Student Support Agreement (ISSA), which includes details on your recommended support for exams. Your ISSA has been shared with your School and therefore, all relevant staff are aware of the exam support recommendations that you have in place and these will be taken into consideration when setting your assessment type and duration. Details of your assessments will be shared with you directly; therefore it is advised that you check your QUB email and Canvas regularly.
- I require additional supports for exams and assessments and usually sit my exams within the Green Room when on campus. Will this show on my timetable?
Students will be given green room status on their timetable on Queen's Online (QOL) as normal. If the assessment is online their School will be sent details and the School will get in touch with the students about the arrangements. For those students who have scheduled on-campus exams, the Exams Office will be in touch via email to give further details of venue and arrangements as normal.
For further information about the administration of examinations including the publication of timetables and results, please visit Student Registry webpages:
What adjustments can I expect to be put in place if my assessments and/or examinations are happening online?
It is our aim, as far as possible, to build accessibility into our online assessments so that students registered with Disability Services do not need to request a further adjustment. However, if you receive details of an online assessment and think that you may require a reasonable adjustment to ensure the assessment is accessible to you, please contact your Disability Officer to discuss this.
Please note: when appropriate your agreed reasonable adjustments and academic supports (as detailed in your Individual Student Support Agreement – ISSA) will continue to be applied, where possible.
Please see further information below.
Standard timed assessments
If a timed class test or exam is being replaced with an online test or exam, the recommendations detailed within your Individual Student Support Agreement should continue to be applied.
e.g. If a 2 hour exam is being replaced with 2 hour online exam and you usually receive extra time to complete standard timed exams on campus, you should expect to receive additional time to complete the /exam online as follows:
- 2hr exam + additional time recommended on ISSA + time for technological needs/upload (TBC)
The same applies if you are entitled to rest breaks:
- 2hr exam + rest break time recommended on ISSA + time for technological needs/upload (TBC)
For those requiring extra time and rest breaks:
- 2 hour exam + additional time recommended on ISSA + rest break time* recommended on ISSA + time for technological needs/upload.
*rest break allowances should be added when the extra time has been calculated and the tech allowance added at the end.
- Multiple choice questions (MCQs)
Some class tests are in the format of Multiple-Choice Questions, these are timed assessments and require you to read and chose the appropriate answer. Please read all guidance and instructions carefully. Some of these tests will already have extra time built into the format of the assessment. Please check the guidance from your lecturer on Canvas.
- Open-book exams
A timed online open-book exam is an assessment that is set under timed conditions and allows you to access your notes and resources. An open-book exam may be offered as an alternative to a normal written exam as a result of the requirement to offer more digital teaching and assessment opportunities. The duration of open-book exams will vary depending on the course of study and learning outcomes being assessed, but be assured that the questions posed will be based on agreed exam questions for the respective module of study.
There will be no additional time allowance or rest breaks allocated to online open-book assessments. This is because the duration of the assessment is intended to be fully inclusive for students with disabilities and is relative to the time that would be permitted under standard conditions.
For example, if a 24 hour open-book exam is set to replace a standard 2 or 3 hour standard exam, students who normally require reasonable adjustments such as; additional time to complete the exam or rest breaks to manage their disability, will automatically be accommodated with the extended time on offer.
Please note the following guidance points:
- Students are not expected to spend the full 24 hours on completing the exam, but a comparable amount of time they would normally spend on completing the exam if they were on campus.
- Additional time will only be added to open-book exams when the timeframe given to complete the exam does not meet the recommended additional time allowance for your individual needs.
For example, a 7hr open-book assessment for an exam that would usually be allocated as a 4hr exam and student is entitled to 100% additional time.
Tips for preparing for an open book exam
- An open-book exam will require you not only to rely on the information you have memorised but on your understanding of the information you have been taught.
- It is important to manage your time well and allow time for reading, planning and reviewing your work.
- You will need to think about the resources you will need e.g. books, lecture notes, and journals. Be realistic about how much you can read during the time you have.
- Plan your assignment well and ensure you are answering the question/ title that has been asked. Take some short breaks and pause occasionally to review your work.
If you are required to complete a presentation online and feel that you need support in doing so as a direct result of your disability, please contact your Disability Officer to discuss possible reasonable adjustments.
You may also find it useful to refer to resources provided by the Learning Development Service.
More often students are being asked to deliver material for assessment in various formats, including presentations. Please consider the format of the presentation and who will be watching. Is it assessed, what are the guidelines and how can I use my strengths to complete the assessment?
During asynchronous presentations, a presentation file is completed/recorded and viewed later by the audience. The advantage of asynchronous presentations is that they allow everyone to access the presentation without a time constraint. A side benefit is that, because presenters may attempt a recording as many times as they want, students with a fear of speaking in public may find this presentation style easier. However, one key disadvantage is that questions regarding the presentation cannot be discussed during the presentation itself and must instead be addressed by email, discussion forum posts, and so on.
Synchronous presentations occur when the presenter and audience interact in real-time. In a synchronous presentation, students, teachers, and presenters can talk and see each other. This approach a beneficial method because it offers students the opportunity to ask questions and receive an immediate response. Thus, it is as close to an in-person presentation as possible. [Reference: Purdue University]
Students who have been awarded DSA may have access to Presentpal, Mindview or Sonocent software all of which can help with the preparation and delivery of presentations.
- Practical exams
Individual reasonable adjustments for practical exams will be discussed with students at their initial assessment with Disability Services where applicable. The learning outcomes of the assessment will need to be taken into consideration as some professional courses will not be able to make significant adjustments to the format or delivery of practical assessments.