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Accessible study for all

Last year alone we helped over 28,000 disabled students to achieve their study goals.

From additional funding and support, to specialist equipment and adapted study materials, find out how we can help you succeed.

Female student in electric wheelchair at library

Who can get disability support?

You may not think of yourself as having a disability, but we can offer you extra support and study adjustments if you need them. Along with other disabilities, we can assist students with many different health conditions and impairments, including:  

  • long-term health conditions,
  • dyslexia, and other specific learning difficulties,
  • mental health difficulties,
  • autistic spectrum conditions, and
  • speech and language difficulties.

We strive to make sure all aspects of study are available to everyone, which is why accessibility is at the forefront of our mission to be 'open to all'.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder part way through my BA. Studying with the OU gave me the time and flexibility to navigate my way through different medications, therapies and lifestyles as I started to work out how best to manage living with a mental illness, without having to abandon pursuing my goals.

Kathryn Adams, BA (Hons) Open, MA Classical Studies

 

Helping you get the best from your studies

Whether you’re studying for a postgraduate certificate, diploma, masters degree or a standalone module, make sure you:

  • Read the description carefully; some courses may be more accessible than others.
  • Get in touch with us if you have any questions about what the course involves.
  • Visit our Disability support website for more information.

Watch Sarah's video to find out how we helped her to study after she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.  

How we can support you

Financial help

We'll help guide you through the process of applying for financial support towards your study costs. Did you know, if you're a UK student, you may be able to get funding with a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)? You don't have to be registered as disabled, and it's not age or income related, so it's worth checking out what's available.

Specialist equipment

If you're not eligible for DSA funding, we have a lending scheme that can provide you with assisted software and specialist equipment. Depending on what you may need,there is a range of items we can provide, from a handheld magnifier to a laptop, to help you study at home, in tutorials, at day schools or residential schools.

Accessible study materials

Our study materials are available in different formats to make printed texts, audio/visual content, interactive activities, and other online resources accessible. This can include comb-bound or audio versions of study texts, but we can discuss what works best for you.

Access to tutorials and day schools*

We can help you with access and taking part in talking, listening, taking notes and group activities. If you're unable to participate at a tutorial or day school, we can try to make alternative arrangements.

Tailored assessment

If you let us know in advance, we'll make reasonable adjustments to suit your needs if you're not able to sit an examination under standard conditions, or you have difficulties with an assessment.

Residential schools support*

Some courses include residential schools, which can be a highlight of OU study. We're committed to helping you attend and may be able to provide the support and facilities needed to get you there.

*As a part of our response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we don’t expect to be able to offer face-to-face tuition on modules beginning before 31 August 2021. For any face-to-face events we’re unable to offer, online alternatives will be provided instead. Please check individual courses and modules for more information.

Next steps

Visit our help centre to find out more about how the OU can support you.