Studying at the OU with a disability or whilst being neurodivergent

I have been studying with the OU since 2012 and have physical and mental health issues and autism. Here are some things I have found useful in my studies.


I have been studying with the OU since 2012 and have physical and mental health issues and autism. Here are some things I have found useful in my studies.

i. Fill in the disability support form and see what adjustments the OU can provide. (Telling the OU about your disability)

ii. Apply for Disabled Students Allowance if you are eligible – it is nothing like a benefits assessment, and the needs assessment can highlight computer hardware, software, aids, taxi fares and support from a helper, as well as suggesting exam arrangements.

iii. If you have additional requirements around exams, make sure you apply in time – application deadlines and info are here: (Exam arrangements)

iv. Every time I have a new tutor, I send them an email sharing my disability profile, so they know my additional needs, including that I might need extensions. (disability profile)

v. Read the assignments through at the start of the module, so you can check whether all the assignments are accessible to you. Some assignments have alternate versions already, some you may need to negotiate.

vi. Be realistic and kind to yourself. It is harder studying with additional needs. I always get stuck in as soon as I receive the books/the website opens so I have some space. I have worked out when I concentrate best in the day, and study then. It may help to timetable study into your week, and timetable rest times and commitments such as health appointments or family time. Talk to your tutor or support worker if you are struggling with this – your tutor can signpost the essential material.

vii. Use extensions Рyour tutor can approve up to 21 days and you should contact them as soon as you think you may need one. In some circumstances you can have longer, or they may suggest you skip that assignment.  You can submit a special circumstances form if something has adversely affected your performance (e.g. illness, disruption to studies or inadequate adjustments).

viii. Join the Disabled Students Group. Once you are a member there is a thriving Facebook group and online forums, where you can get and give support and advice from and to other disabled and neurodivergent students. (Join the DSG)

Good luck, and enjoy your time with The Open University!


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Felicity B

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