Getting Started

If you have a disability and require support during your studies, the first step is to make an appointment with one of our specialist Disability Advisers:

AZO Appointments button

If you are studying at a USW partner college please contact your college.

You may find the following diagram helpful: The process for Exploring Support.

We recommend that applicants / new students make contact with our service at the earliest opportunity (preferably before your course starts), so that we can ensure that appropriate adjustments and support are in place from the start of your course.

You will be requested to provide documentation relating to your disability. This may be in the form of a letter from your consultant or doctor outlining the nature and extent of your impairment / disability.

If you have a Specific Learning Difficulty you will need to provide a post-16 diagnostic assessment report conducted by a suitably qualified person, such as an Educational Psychologist. If you are a USW student and you suspect that you may have dyslexia or another SpLD / require an up to date assessment, the Disability Service can help you to arrange an on site assessment with an appropriately qualified assessor.

After meeting with you and receiving  your disability related documentation, your Disability Adviser will create your Individual Support Plan (ISP) which details the relevant support and adjustments which have been agreed to meet your needs. You will be sent a copy of your ISP for your records.

 Where applicable, your ISP document will be updated once you have had your DSA Needs Assessment to include any relevant recommendations made by your Needs Assessor and 1-1 support funded via Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs).

If your circumstances and therefore your support needs change, please contact a Disability Adviser so that your Individual Support Plan can be updated.


Section A of your ISP contains details of any 1-1 Non-Medical Help support which has been recommended to meet your needs. This may include 1-1 support provided and funded by the Disability Service and /or support funded as part of your Disabled Students Allowances package.

Note: Student Finance may select external suppliers to provide the support that they fund via DSAs. Student Finance will notify you in writing regarding authorised DSA funded support entitlement and will provided contact details for the selected suppliers. Please ensure that you carefully read your ISP and correspondence from Student Finance, and contact the relevant suppliers to arrange your support.


Section B of your ISP contains recommendations for appropriate reasonable adjustments which University Departments should make (where possible) in order to meet your needs.

With your consent, this information will be made available to appropriate University staff in order for agreed adjustments to be put in place. Where an enhanced disclosure has been made, a statement about your disability (as agreed with you) will be included.

Note: Recommended adjustments may not be applicable in all  academic scenarios (i.e. where learning outcomes or fitness to practice standards require the assessment of a particular skill set). Please discuss your ISP with your Course / Module Leader.

Note: Exam Adjustments such as extra time and concessions for spelling, punctuation and grammar apply to formal written exams and time bound written in class tests only.


Section C of your ISP contains information on other sources of support at USW:

  • Library support: Student with an ISP may be entitled to books on extended loan period, loaning equipment, and access to the Disability Resource Room in the Library on the Treforest Campus
  • Student Development and Study Skills Service: http://studyskills.southwales.ac.uk/
  • Extenuating Circumstances: If you are unable to meet any coursework or exam deadlines due to unforeseen circumstances, you will need to speak with your Campus Advice Zone to discuss Extenuating Circumstances.
  • Assistive Technology: Please visit our Assistive Technology pages for information on inclusion technology which is available at USW or for you to download for free.

If you are likely to have difficulty in safely evacuating University buildings in the event of an emergency, please discuss your requirements with your Disability Adviser. Your Disability Adviser will gather some further information about your requirements and possible support/ adjustment requirements and will pass this information on to your faculty. Your faculty will then liaise with you to draw up a PEEP which meets your requirements.

Exam Adjustments may include:

  • Extra Time
  • Use of a computer
  • Rest Breaks
  • Scribe
  • Reader (to read out the exam questions. Readers will not elaborate or explain exam questions)
  • Separate Room
  • Exam paper and documents in Alternative Formats
  • Dispensation for reasonable spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors when marking

Exam Adjustments apply to formal written exams and time bound written in class tests only.

If you require specific adjustments for written exams, please make an appointment to discuss these with a Disability Adviser as soon as possible. The appropriate recommendations will need to be discussed and added to your Individual Support Plan before February 14th in order to guarantee that adjustments can be made.

Late requests for adjustments for written exams can be discussed and submitted up until March 15th and will be considered but provision cannot be guaranteed.

You should take a copy of your Individual Support Plan to each examination you have.


The Assessment and Awards Unit will contact you in March each academic year to confirm details of your exam support and the modules for which you are expected to sit exams in May. If you do not receive correspondence but require examination support, you must contact a Disability Adviser” immediately.

If you do not respond by the deadline given, support arrangements for your examinations will not be made.

If you require exam provisions for an in-class test, please contact the lecturer who has set this assessment and provide them with a copy of part B of your Individual Support Plan directly, which will outline your recommended exam support.

Note: 

If appropriate your Disability Advisers will assist you in making an application to your funding body for Disabled Students Allowances funding to cover the cost of additional specialist disability related support.

Your Individual Support Plan will be updated to incorporate any additional support recommendations which are made as a result of the DSA Needs Assessment process.

For further information, Disability Rights uk have produced a helpful guide to accessing disability related support in Higher Education: Into HE 2018.