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Help and advice

Advice and support for any University of Portsmouth student or applicant who discloses a disability or additional learning need

We want all our students to reach their full potential. If you have a disability or additional need, we'll make sure you can access all the support you need.

Our Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC) provides confidential advice and support. We can help you with funding advice, study and academic assistance, and we'll make any 'reasonable adjustments' to your learning and assessment so that you are not disadvantaged.

Help we offer includes:

  • advice on funding to cover disability-related study costs
  • specialist study skills tuition
  • assistive technology training
  • screening for Specific Learning Difficulties
  • liaison with external services and charities
  • help with exams and assessments

Tell us about your disability

It's best to let us know about your disability and how it affects your life at university at the earliest opportunity. We understand that you may not have told us about your disability and how it impacts your studies yet, and that's OK.

You can reach out to us at any point during your time with us. We're here to listen, understand your disability-related needs and find the best ways to support you.

ASDAC considers a disability a condition or conditions that impact your ability to access the University campus, our curriculum, our teaching, learning and assessment processes or any other services available to you.

Evidence of disability

You'll need to provide evidence of your disability in order to access support. A letter from your doctor or a consultant confirming your disability, and how it affects you and your studies, is the best way. We need this document to pass on to external funding bodies so we can get you the right support. Ideally, the letter should:

  • identify your condition, impairment or ongoing symptoms
  • state whether the condition will be short or long term (over 12 months) and how it will impact your day-to-day activities as a student
  • identify any associated medication and treatment, and any relevant side-effects

Financial support

Disabled Students' Allowance

Additional financial support from the government, to help you meet the costs of studying with your disability or additional need, is available. The Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) is assessed on your health needs, not your income.

It's a good idea to apply for DSA before you arrive at university as the assessment process can take up to 3 months. The sooner you apply, the more likely you'll have the support you need at the start of the academic year.

If you haven't let us know, or you have a disability or condition now that you didn't previously, you can still apply for DSA if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Funding from the DSA can help you with:

  • travel costs
  • a helper to assist you with academic needs
  • specialist equipment, such as a computer

Apply for a grant

The Snowdon Trust is a charity dedicated to providing grants to disabled and sensory impaired students in the UK.

About 100 grants are awarded each year ranging from £250 to £3,000. They cover support costs for sign language interpreters, note takers, computers, specialist software and wheelchairs.

Academic support

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise the challenges you experience as a student, allowing you to flourish as an independent learner.

The adjustments you'll have depend on your needs and what can be agreed with the University. They include:

  • course materials in alternative formats
  • access to relevant assistive technology
  • timetabling adjustments to help access
  • specialist support to develop study strategies
  • extra time during timed assessments

Exams and assessments

Support is available for coursework and during exams and assessments, so that you can thrive academically and make the most of your university experience.

Study skills

Our aim is to help you develop personal coping and planning strategies so that you can complete assessments yourself. We mark all students equally based on the academic standards of the course.

Exam adjustments

ASDAC will work with the University and examining bodies to provide you with reasonable adjustments at exam time, including:

  • extra time
  • special seating arrangements
  • the provision of separate rooms
  • word-processing facilities
  • rest breaks
  • hand-held spell checkers
  • alternative methods of assessment

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to find out how we can help you can contact us by email at, give us a call on +44 (0)23 9284 3462.

You can also drop in to the office in person from 9:00am - 4:30pm Monday to Thursday, and until 3:30pm on Fridays.

Where to find us?
  • Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre
  • Third Floor, The Nuffield Centre, St. Michael's Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2ED
  • +44 (0)23 9284 3462

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