Disability and neurodiversity support

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About us

The Disability and Neurodiversity Team provides specialist guidance and support for disabled students at SOAS. 

We can advise on the facilities that are available to you and help to ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to make SOAS accessible.  

The Disability and Neurodiversity Team is part of the Student Advice and Wellbeing Department and includes: 

  • Disability and Neurodiversity Advisers: Angela Taylor, Ros Platton and Jack Dear
  • Learning Advisers: Carol John and Frances Anagnostou
  • Disability Administrators: Victoria Morrison and Nancyella Smith

We use the feedback we get from students to inform the more strategic parts of our role, e.g. the creation of policy and working with other staff members to make SOAS as accessible as possible.

Who do we work with?

We work with students who are Disabled and/or have Neurodiverse conditions. The term “disability” is wide. According to the Equality Act (2010), disability can include the following impairments:

  • Problems with mobility, seeing or hearing.
  • Specific Learning Differences (such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD).
  • Developmental disorders (such as Autistic Spectrum conditions).
  • Mental illness or mental health difficulties.
  • Severe disfigurements.
  • Unseen, long-term medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/Aids, epilepsy, diabetes.
  • Progressive conditions even at an early stage, conditions characterised by a number of cumulative effects such as pain or fatigue and a past history of disability.

If you aren’t sure if you are covered by this definition but are experiencing difficulties, please contact us for advice. 

Models of Disability

At SOAS, we use the above categories to identify disability as these are the categories used by funding bodies and legislation. However, we would like to highlight the idea of the Social Model of Disability which we believe is an ideal to work towards. This model of disability makes an important distinction between the terms 'impairment' and 'being disabled'.  

An 'impairment' is a physical, intellectual, sensory, medical or psychological difference which may cause individual functional limitations, such as those listed above. However, according to the Social Model, these impairments would not necessarily lead to being 'disabled' if society took account of, and included people regardless of their individual differences. For example, someone who has a hearing impairment may be able to get the same out of lectures as anyone else if there are adequate hearing loops fitted in lecture theatres, but he/she will be 'disabled' if these are not available.

SOAS is working to ensure that it is accessible in both its course design and the design of its buildings. We welcome any feedback on where further improvements can be made.

Screening/possible assessment for an SpLD

Students who consider they may have a specific learning difference (SpLD) and would like to discuss having a full assessment for dyslexia /dyspraxia can email us via SID to request  a drop-in appointment, indicating a preferred day or time slot.

Following the drop-in, if appropriate, you will be asked to complete a screening for dyslexia and/or dyspraxia. Depending on the outcome of the screening, you may be referred for a full assessment with one of our external assessment services. We do not screen or provide assessments solely for ADHD. However, we can advise students who consider they may have ADHD.

SOAS does not provide assessments for autism. Students are recommended to contact their GP in the first instance, to request this. We can advise students who consider they may have autism. 

If you had exam arrangements at school /college, e.g. extra time for GCSEs and/or A levels

Most short reports that are completed for requests of exam adjustments at school/ college will not be sufficient for requesting exam and course adjustments at SOAS. Please contact the Disability and Neurodiversity Team as soon as possible if you had exam arrangements at school/college but have not had a full assessment for a SpLD  (together with a full assessment report). You will be advised about a possible screening, as above.

SOAS Disability Service confidentiality and disclosure

We take confidentiality seriously and you can come and talk to anyone in the Disability and Neurodiversity Team on a confidential basis. However, in order to make any reasonable adjustments it may be necessary for us to pass on information to relevant areas of the School community (such as your academic department, the accommodation office, registry and the examinations officer) or other agencies such as support providers and funding bodies.

This would never be done lightly; we would only reveal the minimum information which that person needs to know and disclosure would only be used as necessary to facilitate your support. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 we are not able to pass on sensitive personal data including information relating to disability to other parts of the School without your explicit approval. 

When you register with the Disability service you will be able to complete a Confidentiality Agreement form as part of the process of arranging your Study Inclusion Plan (SIP) More info on Study Inclusion Plan.  

To register with the Disability and Neurodiversity Team (DNT) please go to TARGETconnect, click 'Disability Registration', then 'Start' and you will be able to : 

  • complete the Confidentiality agreement  
  • upload your medical evidence of disability and/ or Diagnostic assessment of Specific learning Differences (SpLDs) e.g dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD 
DNT Supporting Documentation Criteria 2024.pdf

PDF document, 198.80KB

Once those steps have been completed the Disability Advisors will create your Study Inclusion Plan (SIP) which when you have published will go automatically to your course conveners.

Permitted Extended Deadlines

Please note: From 2020-21, all students with Study Inclusion Plans (SIP) were entitled to Permitted Extended Deadlines.

If you already have a SIP, this update will not be reflected in the SIP's text, but you will be entitled to an automatic extension of seven days on top of most assignment deadlines.

For further information on Permitted Extended Deadlines (PED) and which assignments are eligible:

PED Policy FAQs for 23-24.pdf

PDF document, 138.28KB

As long as you have a SIP or are in the process of getting one, you do not need to contact us to confirm your eligibility for PED.

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