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Reasonable Accommodations

Educational institutions are required to take reasonable steps to prevent disadvantage that may arise from a disability such as dyslexia.  Most colleges have dedicated units and or staff members who provide specific supports for students with disabilities, often called the Disability Support Service or Access Officer.  However, all staff in third level and further education should be aware of dyslexia and how to accommodate students with dyslexia.   Students with dyslexia are the largest group of students with disabilities at third level, and numbers are increasing all the time.   It may also be surprising to learn that many students with dyslexia reach third-level without having been diagnosed.  Life-long learning means that many adults are returning to education many times, upskilling and retraining.

The range of reasonable accommodations and supports offered differs from college to college, and will also depend on the type of degree of an individual’s dyslexia, but may include the following:

  • Direct application to the college.
  • Provision of a member of staff to act as a disability support person.
  • Provision of special courses, e.g. study skills seminars.
  • Photocopying of lecture notes.
  • Provision of lecturer’s notes.
  • Access to computer facilities and assistive technology.
  • Lecturer’s informed of student’s difficulties.
  • Information to all academic staff on dyslexia.

Various exam accommodations can also be made available, where necessary, to students with dyslexia, such as:

  • The provision of a reader.
  • The facility to take exams orally or on tape.
  • The use of a dictionary or thesaurus.
  • The provision of extra time.
  • Examiners can be made aware of the student’s difficulty.
  • Consideration for poor spelling and grammar in timed written exams.
  • A separate, quite exam room.

Generally, in order to apply for special exam arrangements, you will need to provide evidence of your dyslexia, in the form of your assessment report or an evidential letter from a professional who can verify that you have dyslexia and need special arrangements in your examinations. Make sure to enquire about special arrangements as early as possible. If you leave it until just before the exam it may be too late.

Similar reasonable accommodations can be provided in the workplace, e.g. handouts, information provided in alternative formats, access to computers and assistive technology, extra time for some tasks.

The Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grants (WEAG), administered by FÁS (, are available to employers to help cover the cost of reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

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DAI activities are part-funded by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019 administered by Pobal), the Special Education Section of the Department of Education and Skills, SOLAS and KWETB.