Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable Adjustments are measures or actions to assist a student with a Disability to participate in learning, teaching, and assessment on an equivalent basis to other students.

Determining reasonable adjustments

Whether an adjustment is reasonable will be determined by a Disability Advisor in accordance with the Disability Standards for Education. This will involve taking into account all the relevant circumstances and interests, including the student's disability and the effect of the proposed adjustment on the student and others, such as any University staff or other students affected by the adjustment.

Inherent requirements

Inherent Requirements refers to the capabilities, knowledge, and skills that are essential to achieve the core learning outcomes of a program or to satisfy curriculum requirements.

What is not reasonable

An adjustment is not reasonable if it would compromise the integrity of the program, course, assessment requirements, or processes, or if it would remove or bypass any Inherent Requirements. The Disability Advisors are able to assist students and Course Coordinators with determining and understanding reasonable adjustments.

Types of reasonable adjustments

The list below covers the types of Reasonable Adjustments that might appear in a student's Access Plan. If you have any further questions about Reasonable Adjustments or Access Plans, please contact the Disability Advisors and they will be able to help you.

  • Extensions for assessable work (excluding exams)

    Students may request extensions for assessable work (excluding exams) for a variety of reasons.

    These may include, but are not limited to:

    • Being unwell prior to or on the due date for submission of an assignment
    • Being hospitalised or undergoing treatment prior to or on the due date of an assignment
    • Being effected by treatment or changes to medication
    • Having a disability or symptoms that may result in a student taking longer to read, process information, or write / type
    • Needing materials to be sourced in alternate formats that may take additional time to review or source (e.g. electronic textbooks, audio transcriptions, Braille transcriptions, Note Taker lecture notes, or audio of written material)
    • Needing to use assistive software to write assignments


    Options may include:

    • Granting a standard extension for an assignment up to 5 calendar days, depending on the format of a course (NB this is not always possible for all courses)
    • Granting longer extensions in extenuating circumstances (e.g. hospitalisation) (NB this can be done in consultation with the Disability Service to ensure that academic integrity is maintained and that the adjustment is realistic and reasonable in light of the impact of the student's health condition, and this may require a MACA - Modified Arrangement for Coursework Assessment - form to be completed)
    • Re-weighting of assessments, where appropriate, such as re-weighting the final exam in lieu of an assessment missed during the semester

    Students are informed of the following by the Disability Advisors in relation to requesting an extension:

    • An Access Plan does not grant automatic rights to an extension
    • Extensions must be applied for in the designated way before the due date for the assignment
    • Extensions must be negotiated within the existing course timeline
    • An Access Plan can be used as the supporting documentation verifying there is a reason for an extension provided it is submitted to the Course Coordinator along with the extension application
    • If a student experiences a significant exacerbation of their medical condition they may also be eligible to use the MACA (Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment) policy to request an additional extension on an assignment (where possible). Please refer to the MACA policy for additional information.
  • Attendance

    Students may be absent from or late to lectures or tutorials for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

    • Difficulties moving between venues within the University. Students may have mobility issues, which could result in the need to walk more slowly, avoid stairs, use ramps and/or lifts, or rest periodically when walking due to fatigue or pain. Students may also use a wheelchair or a Guide Dog for mobility
    • Attending medical appointments or treatment sessions that cannot be scheduled at any other time (e.g. specialist appointment)
    • Having symptoms which may be worse / unmanageable in the mornings or afternoons, so participation in classes at these times may be difficult
    • Being effected by treatment or changes in medication
    • Being admitted to hospital
    • Being too unwell to attend University
    • Having a disability or symptoms that may, at times, affect the student's capacity to be in public spaces or large venues
    • Having a medical condition that is contagious
    • Having a compromised immune system


    At times, students may be unable to attend, or be late to, lectures / tutorials. Negotiation regarding occasional absences without penalty may be required, such as:

    • Requesting written work in lieu of tutorial attendance
    • Providing lecture materials through MyUni
    • Providing the student the opportunity to sit in on another tutorial if they have missed a class
    • Re-weighting of assessment tasks if a student is unable to attend University for a prolonged period

    In relation to attendance, students are informed of the following by the Disability Advisors:

    • Attending tutorials is usually a compulsory and assessed component of each course. Not meeting these attendance requirements may result in failing the course. If you are having difficulties meeting mandatory attendance requirements, or if you have a period of significant illness, you must contact your Disability Advisor as soon as possible. Please check your Course Handbook / Outline for attendance requirements
    • Enrolling early will provide you with the best opportunity to schedule your timetable to meet your individual needs
    • Undertaking a study load that is manageable in light of the impact of your disability on your study is important (e.g. studying part time)
    • It is important that you make the most of the more interactive sessions and participate fully in order to broaden your knowledge and experience with the course material
    • If you are unable to attend a tutorial on a particular day or time, please contact your tutor to arrange to attend another session (when available), or to discuss options for obtaining information / completing tasks undertaken in the tutorial in another way
  • Alternative exam arrangements for in-department tests and exams

    Alternative Exam Arrangements (AEAs) for primary exams or replacement exams are organised by the Examinations Office. Some students may also require AEA for in-department exams. These will be outlined in the students Access Plan. Students are required to contact their Course Coordinator at least 2 weeks prior to each exam if they require AEA to be organised by their Course Coordinator.

    Students may require AEAs for a variety of reasons. These may include but are not limited to a disability or symptoms that may affect a student's:

    • Cognition (e.g. reduced processing speed, concentration, memory, or attention)
    • Capacity to write (e.g. upper limb injury)
    • Capacity to sit for prolonged periods (e.g. back injury)
    • Capacity to read exams in standard sized text (e.g. vision impairment)
    • Capacity to complete the exam within the allocated time (NB there may be a need for additional time to manage symptoms such as anxiety or pain during the exam)
    • Capacity to clearly hear instructions form the Invigilator (e.g. hearing impairment)
    • Capacity to remain in the room for the duration of the exam (e.g. student may need to sit close to the door for frequent access to the toilet)


    Reasonable Adjustments for in-department exams will be detailed on a student's Access Plan.

    AEAs may include but are not limited to:

    • Additional time (NB this does not apply to take home exams)
    • Rest / exercise breaks
    • Frequent access to the toilet and additional time to be added on to the end of the exam for extended time spent in the toilet
    • Use of medication or medical equipment during the exam (e.g. testing blood sugar levels, or the use of insulin)
    • Ability to take a drink other than water or a snack into the exam
    • Use of specific equipment (e.g. ergonomic chair, tilt board, standing table, or an extra chair to support their leg)
    • Use of a computer
    • Use of assistive software
    • Exam in accessible format (e.g. enlarged text, or blue paper)
    • Use of a Reader or Scribe
    • For exams or tests where students do not have the time or access to editing support, the Disability Service may also recommend that spelling & grammatical errors be disregarded unless they are an integral part of the assessment criteria
    • Re-scheduling of exams (e.g. one exam per day, or morning or afternoon only exam times)
    • If significant extra time is required it may be appropriate to split exams across two days, or to ensure that exams are not held on consecutive days
    • Sitting in a specific position within the room (e.g. sitting at the front of the room if the student has a hearing impairment, or sitting near the door if frequent access to the toilet is required)
    • Providing all exam instructions in writing in addition to verbal instructions
    • Small group setting, or in exceptional circumstances an individual room (e.g. when using a Reader / Scribe or assistive technology)
    • Other specific requirements in relation to lighting, noise, wheelchair accessible venue or desk, etc.

    Students are informed of the following by the Disability Advisors in relation to requesting AEA for in-department exams:

    • In-department tests / exams are not administered by the Examination Office but by the School
    • If you need AEA for in-department exams, you must discuss your needs with Course Coordinators and remind them of the adjustments at least 2 weeks before the in-department test or exam
    • You must provide your Course Coordinator with your Access Plan outlining your AEA
  • Recording lectures/tutorial information

    Students may require permission to record lectures or tutorial information for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to having a disability or symptoms that:

    • May affect a student's cognition (e.g. their attention, focus, memory, capacity to listen and write notes simultaneously, ability to read and absorb information quickly, or ability to follow complex sequences or directions)
    • May impact on a student's capacity to write notes or write quickly enough to keep up with the lecturer, tutor, or other students in the tutorial
    • May affect a student's capacity to hear the lecturer or tutor (e.g. hearing impairment)
    • May affect a student's capacity to attend lectures at the scheduled time (e.g. students with a fluctuating medical condition can listen via MyUni when they are well)


    Most lectures are now recorded and available on MyUni. This greatly reduces the need for an individual student to record lectures. If a student wishes to record the audio of a lecture that is not available on MyUni, they must obtain permission from the lecturer prior to the start of the lecture.

    Tutorials are rarely recorded, and obtaining information from tutorial sessions for students can be very difficult. If a student wishes to record audio during a tutorial, they must obtain permission from all of the tutorial attendees (i.e. the students and the tutor) prior to recording. The tutor may need to seek permission from other students on behalf of the student with a disability.

    Students may use their own audio recording device (e.g. tablet, phone, or recorder), or they can loan equipment or software from Disability Support.

  • Tutorial participation and presentations

    Students may request adjustments to tutorial participation and presentations in the event their disability, symptoms, the effect of treatment, or changes to medication affect their capacity to:

    • Participate in group discussions (e.g. difficulties with hearing conversations, unable to see other students clearly to be able to follow the nuances of conversation, or high levels of anxiety in social situations)
    • Write on a whiteboard due to difficulties with grammar and spelling
    • Respond to academic requests (e.g. reading aloud if the student has a vision impairment or learning difficulty such as Dyslexia)
    • Speak in a way that can be clearly understood by others (e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Acquired Brain Injury, or Speech Impediment such as a stutter)
    • Recall information without prompts


    Students will need to discuss their specific needs with their tutors at the commencement of each semester.

    Options may include:

    • Presenting to a smaller group
    • Presenting individually to the tutor
    • Enabling the student to use cue cards or PowerPoint presentations to prompt recall
    • Pre-recording the presentation on video
    • Allowing the student to play a supporting role rather than having to present information orally
    • Enabling students to use assistive technology when presenting in a tutorial (e.g. text to speech software)
    • Offering the student the option of completing the group assessment individually (NB this should only be a temporary adjustment while a student is developing strategies to manage their symptoms)
    • Ensuring students with a hearing impairment can sit where they can face all other participants and that the tutor only allows one person to speak at a time (NB it can also help to repeat questions before answering them)
    • Enabling a student to negotiate ahead of time not to be singled out in class to complete tasks (e.g. reading aloud in class)

    Students are informed by the Disability Advisors that if the mode of assessment (i.e. presenting in front of the class) is an inherent and assessable component of the class, possible adjustments may be limited.

  • Practical and laboratory participation

    Students may require adjustments to their participation in practical and laboratory classes for a variety of reasons. These may include, but are not limited to:

    • Having a disability or symptoms which may affect the student’s physical capacity to handle objects (e.g. limitations with using their hands or upper limbs, or to lift or carry items)
    • Having a disability or symptom that impact on a students capacity to sit or stand for prolonged periods
    • Requiring the use of a wheelchair, which may necessitate the provision of certain furniture (e.g. adjustable height desk / table or standing desk, which can be provided by the Disability Service)
    • Having a disability that affects a student's ability to see necessary objects or read information that is provided
    • Having a disability that affects a student's ability to clearly hear the demonstrator


    Options may include:

    • Offering students with a vision impairment an individual orientation of laboratory equipment or computers in order to minimise the anxiety that may occur in an unfamiliar environment (NB the need for any additional equipment, such as magnifying equipment, can be discussed with the Disability Advisor)
    • Providing written materials to supplement practical and laboratory sessions (e.g. instruction sheets)
    • Ensuring announcements made regarding class times, activities, field work, and industry visits are given in writing, as well as verbally
    • Enabling students with a vision impairment to sit close to the demonstrator
    • Assisting students who lip-read by having them sit in a position where they can see the demonstrator and other students with whom they are working directly
    • Providing students with a chair for tasks requiring prolonged standing, if required
    • Creating extra space for wheelchair access (NB this should be done discretely)
    • Supporting the inclusion of a Participation Assistant to undertake tasks requiring gross or fine manipulation of items that the student is unable to manage independently. If this is required, the student must notify their Disability Advisor, preferably prior to the commencement of the semester, to enable time to employ a Participation Assistant. This will be arranged by Disability Support

    Students are informed by the Disability Advisors that attendance at practical or laboratory sessions are usually compulsory, and that they must inform the demonstrator of any unexpected absences to negotiate alternate arrangements if possible.

  • Alternative formatting

    Students may require information to be provided in different formats for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to having a disability or symptoms that:

    • May affect a student's cognition (e.g. their attention, focus, memory, capacity to listen and write notes simultaneously, ability to read and absorb information quickly, or ability to follow complex sequences or directions)
    • May impact on a student's capacity to write notes or write quickly enough to keep up with the lecturer
    • May impact on a student's capacity to see or hear course materials presented in a lecture or tutorial


    Options may include:

    • Providing all course materials in an accessible format, preferably MS Word, which will enable a student to use assistive technology (e.g. software that reads the document aloud)
    • Uploading all lecture materials to MyUni prior to the lectures (e.g. PowerPoint slides)
    • Uploading audio and / or video recordings of lectures to MyUni
    • Making required books / reading lists and course materials available early so there is sufficient time for Disability Support to have them sourced or converted to alternate formats (e.g. electronic, audio, or Braille)
    • Indicating compulsory texts in reading lists, noting important chapters if possible
    • Specifying the order of the reading within a text, as it can take many weeks to have a book reproduced into audio or Braille
    • Livestreaming overhead presentations to a student's laptop or portable device directly during lectures (NB only available in some lecture venues)
    • Displaying captions when screening videos or films wherever possible (NB where captioning is not available, captioning can be organised by Disability Support and this, along with a transcript, can usually be accessed by the student within 24 hours)
    • Notifying students ahead of time when videos, slides, or overheads are going to be used in lectures, if required, so that alternative ways of presenting the information can be considered
    • Using Auslan interpreters (NB this can be arranged by Disability Support)
    • Using a microphone in lecture venues in which Infra-Red Hearing Systems are installed so that students with audio receivers can adjust the volume of the audio (NB this system works automatically provided a microphone is used, and the student can access a receiver from Disability Support)

    Note: Disability Support will organise interpreters and can advise on acquiring course materials in alternate formats.

  • Additional planning for placements or prescribed off campus activities

    Work Integrated Learning (WIL) activities that take place off campus, such as placements, industry visits, field work, or internships may pose difficulties for some students with disabilities or ongoing medical conditions.

    This may be due, but not limited, to:

    • Physical access issues
    • Health conditions that may require flexible break times (e.g. for checking blood sugar levels, pain management) or access to facilities (e.g. frequent access to a toilet)
    • Health conditions or effects of medication which lead to fatigue (e.g. need for flexibility to attendance hours/ days, shorter travel distances from home)
    • Health conditions which require regular contact with local supports (e.g. doctor, specialist, hospital, psychologist, family)
    • The capacity for students to complete off campus activities independently and safely without exacerbation of a medical condition
    • The capacity for host employers/off campus staff to meet students' specific needs, or the suitability of the host employers built environment


    Students will need to discuss their specific requirements with the relevant placement coordinator for each individual placement or off campus activity in a timely manner so that they can negotiate appropriate support or alternatives (if possible).

    Reasonable Adjustments will vary widely, depending on the student’s individual health requirements, WIL location, tasks and hours. For most students only minor modifications will be required.

    Field trips- providing alternative on campus learning activities/ assessments that meet the learning objectives.

    Placements/ Internships/ Work Experience - having a range of placement/ work experience options will enable students who require flexibility in terms of location, hours, days and tasks to choose an option that enables them to manage their health without the need for adjustments (or only minor modifications such as building in rest breaks).

    If a student has complex needs, the Disability Advisor can assist the student, WIL Coordinator and host employer with identifying and organising Reasonable Adjustments (e.g. AUSLAN interpreter for student with a hearing impairment). Early planning is required to clarify and arrange supports for students with complex requirements.

  • Note taker

    Students may experience difficulties with notetaking in lectures due to having a disability or symptoms that may impact on their capacity to write notes, or to write quickly enough to keep up with the lecturer.

    The Disability Advisor will discuss a student's specific needs and review options available. This might include determining if lectures are recorded and available on MyUni or in printed or electronic formats (depending on the student's needs), or use of assistive software, such as Sonocent Audio Note Taker.

  • Participation assistants

    Disability Support periodically recruits students to work as Participation Assistants on a casual basis during semester periods. This is a paid position.

    Participation Assistants are employed to assist particular students with a disability with completing specific hands-on tasks in class, where the student is unable to complete those tasks independently. The tasks that a Participation Assistant may undertake will vary, depending on the nature of the student’s disability and the specific requirements of the course/s they are studying. Participation Assistants do not provide academic support, nor assist with writing or editing assignments.

    The role is a recognised activity of the University’s Adelaide Graduate Award program.