Assess individual student needs


Identifying the specific needs of students allows informed decisions on the individual accommodations and support provided to ensure equal access to the learning experience. E.g. preferred screen reader software, office application and the means of receiving and learning study contents.

Related topics

Key tips

Communication with the student
  • Establishing an open communication channel is the first step to understanding their individual needs.
  • In general, some channels are more comfortable and efficient for particular students than others. Eg.
    • Individuals with visual impairments may prefer audio-based communication while
    • Deaf or hard of hearing students may prefer video calls with sign language interpreters or text-based messaging.
  • The student must be part of the solution, so they must be provided with multiple suitable options to choose from to communicate with the support office.
  • In the end, the most effective approach is to ask the student about their preferred mode of communication and ensure that it is accessible to them.
Review the curriculum and learning resources
  1. Identify subjects and people involved in teaching them.
  2. List the types of learning activities that are planned for the course.
  3. Find out the possible accessibility barriers for the supported student.
  4. Work on possible solutions to address the obstacles found.
Identify the individual circumstances
  • Define the context of the student.
    • Disability
    • Whether he/she uses ATs
      • If so, which ones they use in their daily life and which ones they know how to use.
    • Whether he/she needs special assistance for the duration of the studies.
  • Strengths.
    • After the basic information is gathered, the focus should be on finding out the strengths of the student.
    • This is of paramount importance for deciding which solutions are the most suitable to remove the accessibility barriers.
Determine the support needed
  • Make the process a collaborative task. Allowing the student to be part of the design of the solution can help spot unforeseen difficulties and achieve better and customised solutions.
  • Decide which ATs are going to be used in each of the learning activities.
  • Decide what additional adaptation and assistance is needed, if any.