Answers to common questions about the consequences of letting us know about your requirements
It's your choice whether or not you let us know about your disability or additional requirement. You can, if you prefer, talk to an adviser without filling in a request form. However, if you tell us about your needs we can then arrange support.
By law we must make sure that we give students with disabilities the opportunity to tell us about their disabilities. Importantly, we can support you more effectively if you tell us about your requirements.
When you register for OU study you'll be asked whether you have a disability, health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia) that might affect your studies. If you say you have, we will ask you to read the information on this website. You should then complete a form to request general equipment and services. The information introduces you to what OU study involves and tells you, among other things, about study materials in alternative formats, the loan of equipment, and arrangements for tutorials.
Once you've read the information and considered what you may need, complete the form and return it to your regional or national centre. The form asks you
If you are eligible for a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), The Open University will only provide study support that cannot be provided by a DSA. Take the DSA eligibility quiz to see if you are eligible.
If you have
it is important that you submit the request form for general equipment and services, even if you do not require anything at this time.
This form is the mechanism by which the University will record that you are a disabled student. This is essential if you should require support or services at a later stage in your studies.
All the information you give will be treated as confidential to the OU.
Yes. Only those staff directly involved in providing you with teaching and related services will have access to information about you as a disabled student. If you are concerned about this please contact an adviser at your nearest regional or national centre.
We are more interested in you and your requirements as a student than in your disability as such. We use the term 'disabled student' as shorthand for someone who, because of a disability, health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia) needs support to study and to take part in university activities.
For many services we are happy to work on the basis of the information you provide on your request form. However if you require support and facilities in an examination or for any other form of module assessment, then medical evidence or a dyslexia assessment is normally required. Evidence is also required if you apply for the Disabled Students' Allowance.
The fact that you have a disability, health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty has no bearing on your admission to OU study.
When used in connection with a disabled student (rather than as a study assessment) this is usually a meeting between the student and an expert ‘assessor’, to investigate and determine the types of study facilities and support needed by the student.
A ‘dyslexia assessment’ is more specialised. It is carried out by a professionally trained and qualified person who is usually, but not only, an educational psychologist, to determine whether someone has dyslexia or some other kind of specific learning difficulty.
If you are applying for a Disabled Students' Allowance you will be required to have a specific DSA assessment as part of the process.
If your health or circumstances change in such a way that you either
you should contact your regional or national centre immediately (by the online request form, email, telephone or post) and give them as much information as you can. An adviser can then discuss with you how the services and support for your study can change.
If you change your mind after you have submitted your form, you can contact us by the online request form, email, telephone or post.
Please remember that there is always a slight delay in your record being updated. If you wish to make changes before your previous requests have been processed and authorised, please do so via email or telephone, so that we can avoid working with out-of-date information.
When in doubt, please contact your regional or national centre.
The OU's disability statement and Disability Equality Scheme and Action Plan is on OU Policy webpage. You can request a copy in large print or audio by contacting our Student Registration & Enquiry Service. The policy is intended to ensure that the OU