This section is about the rights your student has to reasonable adjustments and accommodations. As you read this section, keep in mind the following learning objectives:

  • There is legislation that gives your student rights, should they choose to disclose

  • Ways autism may affect academic performance

  • Different accommodations and adjustments available to those who disclose

Below are the key points of this section.  You should read the key points before reading the rest of the section. 


There is legislation that gives your student the right to reasonable adjustments and accommodations to help your student reach their full academic potential.
Autism can affect sensory, motor, cognitive, behavioral, social, interpersonal, and emotional skills. There are certain accommodations your student can ask for to help with things they struggle with. An example, is using a lap top in examinations, instead of writing by hand.


In Australia, the Disability Standards for Education (2005) were formulated under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992).  The Standard states the obligations of education and training providers to ensure students with disabilities are able to access and participate in education and training on the same basis as those without a disability.

The Standards provide for reasonable adjustments and alternative assessment arrangements to allow students with disabilities (including autism) equal access to academic courses and activities.

Reasonable adjustments

A 'reasonable adjustment' is an action which enables a student with a disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students.

Examples of reasonable adjustments for examinations or essays could include:

• an alternative assessment such as an oral exam rather than a written one

• an alteration to the standard approach to the completion of an assessment, such as typing instead of handwriting in an examination

• allowing more time for the completion of an assignment or examination.

Other examples of reasonable adjustments and alternative assessments provided to students by higher education institutions in Victoria, Australia are listed in the table below. With the exception of counselling services, these adjustments can be made only when the student has told the university about his or her autism diagnosis.

Read the Disclosure section to find out more about reasons for disclosure and when to disclose.

Functional impacts on academic performance) Reasonable adjustments Alternative assessment arrangements
Sensory and motor
- Light sensitivity
- Noise sensitivity
- Irritation to certain environments
- Difficulty with fine motor skills such as handwriting
- Short breaks during classes to help manage sensory sensitivities
- Provide a learning environment which minimises the impacts of environmental
effects e.g. lighting
- Note taker for taking class notes
- Flexible arrangements for field placements with extra consultation with field supervisor
-For exams, provide extra writing time or use of computer to type answers
- Easily distracted
- Miscomprehension due to literal interpretation
- Difficulty comprehending certain communication styles (verbal and gesture)
- Difficulties with new tasks or unplanned changes
- All communication (oral and written) to be clear and concise using non-figurative and unambiguous language e.g. no metaphor
- Paraphrase communications
- One-on-one catch-up with lecturers
- Copies of overheads and formal lecture notes provided few days prior to class
- Audio recording of lectures or classes
- Short breaks during class to help manage the condition
- Digital audio recorder for non-audio-recorded teaching space
- Special exam conditions for exams and in-class tests (written, practical and laboratory). For example, separate room for exam
- Extra reading time with access to clarification of exam content
- Extra writing time
- One exam per day
- Poor organisational skills
- Obsessive or repetitive routines
- Referral to specialist department within the tertiary institution to assist with organisational skills and study planning - Extensions as negotiated with academic staff and relevant support staff when condition is impacting
- Abrupt or intrusive communication style
- Difficulties with group work
- Difficulties initiating or responding appropriately in communication with others (academics and fellow students)
- Assigning roles and responsibilities to students within the group
- Individual assignment as alternative to group assignments where the academic integrity of the course is not impacted
- Anxiety and depression
- Referral to Counselling Service - Referral to Counselling Service



You have completed the “My student’s rights” section. You should now know your student is entitled to reasonable adjustments and alternative assessment arrangements, as well as examples of what those might be. If you feel you need a recap of the information, revisit the learning objectives and key points from the beginning of the section.

End of  “My student’s rights” section.