Before the meeting
- Explain to the student about the institutional procedures that are in place for disclosure and confidentiality. Give them a copy of your institution's policy, and the contact information for the disability officer or other designated person.
- If the student asks to see you, or is more comfortable talking to you in the first instance, reassure them that the purpose of the meeting is solely to discuss their study support needs.
- Find out from the student whether any support is required for the meeting, for example a lipspeaker, a room with an induction loop or someone to take notes. The disability officer should be able to help provide anything necessary without knowing the student’s identity.
- Allow the student to bring a friend or relative with them to the meeting if that helps.
- Arrange a room for the meeting that is quiet and accessible and where you will not be interrupted.
At the meeting
- Explain the purpose of the meeting and encourage the student to talk about any concerns.
- Describe the main teaching and learning activities of the course and ask if any of them may cause difficulties for the student, or present barriers to their academic progress.
- Encourage the student to discuss their preferred learning styles, to identify their needs and to discuss any reasonable adjustments that you or your department could provide to facilitate access to the course.
- If you feel that it is appropriate, encourage the student to discuss their needs with the disability officer; provide information on this person’s role within the institution.
- If the student wants their disclosure to remain confidential to you, agree on the support you will provide and the reasonable adjustments you can make.
- Explain to the student that if the information remains confidential to you, access to support arrangements supplied by the institution will not be available, such as support for examinations and assessment.
- Reassure the student that the information provided to you will remain in confidence between you unless express permission is given for others to be told.
- Your institution may have a form that can be used to set the boundaries of confidentiality, which should be signed by both you and the student.
- Tell the student you will produce a note of what has been discussed and agreed.
- Encourage the student to consider applying for the Disabled Students’ Allowances, which help to pay for the extra costs of support for disabled students.
After the meeting
- Send the student a draft note of the meeting and ask for their comments.
- Provide the student with the final version of the note of the meeting.
- Ask the student whether the note of the meeting can be sent to the disability officer.
- If the disability officer is to be involved, he or she will probably take a key role in coordinating support arrangements for the student. Establish lines of communication in order to discuss what action needs to be taken and who will take it.
- If the student has requested confidentiality, use the information provided and the agreements reached at the meeting as a basis for setting up support arrangements.
- Establish a mechanism for reviewing support arrangements with the student to ensure that they continue to be appropriate.