Respondents felt that while many colleges were good at anticipating physical adjustments (such as building design, ramps, etc.), most adjustments relating to learning support were reactive. A common suggestion was therefore that college staff should anticipate the types of adjustments that disabled learners are likely to need, while still taking account of the individual needs of each learner.
Suggestions for improvement included:
- assessment and learning materials available in a wide range of formats, including audio
- using a minimum font size of 14 for all written materials
- using Kindles for downloading books
- providing course materials and reading lists at least 4 weeks before the course start date
- extra time for assignment submission
- clear instructions of course start times and location
- powerpoints and class handouts available at the start of each class
- classroom assistants and IT staff who can provide 1-1 support
- providing a quiet room for students to take a break and/or study in a smaller group
- more support staff to allow them to spend more time on needs assessments, providing advice, and training students how to use equipment
- general IT support to allow learners to become more digitally confident
A number of learners reported that they did not receive an assessment of their needs until after the course had started. They therefore recommended that colleges begin the needs assessment process and meet with learners to discuss their support arrangements much earlier.
“The college did not offer any support until weeks after the course had started, I had to find out how to get support, despite having declared my disability on my application and on enrolment. Support should have been made available immediately. The support I did get was too late and I am now leaving my course”. Learner