Disability/Learning Differences

We want all our learners to achieve their academic and personal potential. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity in education, and, in as far as is reasonably possible, to supporting learners with disabilities, learning differences and any additional support requirements.

Learners with disabilities/learning differences have access to a range of assistive technology software and hardware supports depending on their individual requirements. Students are encouraged to disclose any disability learning difference, or additional requirement during the application process, at the start of their studies or at any point during their time at Carlow College.

For further information, please contact Caroline Flinter, Learning Support Tutor at: academicresource@carlowcollege.ie

Completing a Needs Assessment

Every learner is an individual and therefore may have different academic or support requirements. The initial starting point is a needs assessment with a staff member in our Academic Resource Office. This identifies the academic, assistive technology and personal supports which can be put in place in order to help you achieve your potential at College.

Restricted Mobility

While every attempt is made to provide reasonable accommodation for learners with physical disabilities and/or mobility issues, Carlow College, St. Patrick’s is a listed building with limits imposed on the structural modifications that can be made. All areas of the college are not universally accessible. Applicants with restricted mobility are strongly advised to make an appointment to visit the college. Disability staff, within the Academic Resource Office, are happy to work with individual applicants to explore the college’s suitability for their individual learning needs.


Dr Lisa Fortune

Head of Student Services & Learner Supports

059 915 3223

Caroline Flinter

Learning Support Tutor

059 915 3289

FAQs for students with disabilities, learning differences or long-term health conditions

Supports are available for a broad range of disabilities, learning differences or long-term health conditions, including, but not limited, to the following:


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome)

  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing

  • Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (Dyspraxia)

  • Mental Health Conditions

  • Neurological Conditions (such as Epilepsy, Brain Injury)

  • Physical / Mobility Disabilities

  • Significant Ongoing Illnesses

  • Specific Learning Difficulties (such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia)

  • Speech & Language Impairments

  • Visually Impaired / Blind


While you can apply for supports at any point during your studies with us, you are encouraged to contact the Academic Resource Office at the earliest opportunity.  This will ensure a timely needs assessment and allow the supports you require to be put in place as quickly as possible.

  1. Ensure you have the correct supporting documentation which confirms your disability or diagnosis. For multiple disabilities/conditions you must submit appropriate documentation for each disability or condition. The documents required are listed on our Evidence Of Disability Form. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of your documentation or the type of supporting documentation required, please contact us: academicresource@carlowcollege.ie.

  1. Make an appointment for a needs assessment. Email: academicresource@carlowcollege.ie. We will contact you to arrange your remote or in-person Needs Assessment appointment.


In order to avail of reasonable accommodations and supports, students with a disability, learning difference or long-term health condition must provide evidence of disability/supporting documentation from an acceptable professional source or specialist. This evidence should be signed and stamped by the relevant professional and submitted to the Academic Resource Office before any reasonable accommodations and/or other supports can be put in place.

Documentation or letters of support from a General Practitioner (GP) are not considered to be an acceptable evidence of disability and will not be accepted.

See our Learner Guide to Providing Evidence of Disability for further details. If you would like further assistance, please email: academicresource@carlowcollege.ie.

An individual needs assessment is an informal meeting between you and a disability advisor in the Academic Resource Office to identify the level of supports that you may require in College and to agree how these will be arranged. It is based on the supporting documentation submitted by you and a full consideration of the impact of your disability, learning difference or long-term health condition on your ability to engage fully with your studies.


The needs assessment process identifies the appropriate academic, technology and/or personal supports which can be put in place to help you successfully meet your academic programme requirements.

Yes. You are encouraged to disclose information on your disability, learning difference or long-term health condition before you apply to the College, through the CAO process, at the start of your studies, or at any other point during your time with us.

Disclosure is encouraged so that the Academic Resource Office can work with you to ensure that any reasonable accommodation and/or support required is identified and facilitated. However, the decision to disclose rests entirely with you.

While we are here to support you, please know that if you do not make us aware of your disability, learning difference or long-term health condition, we may not be able to provide you with appropriate academic, technological or personal supports.

This refers to any action that helps to alleviate a substantial disadvantage due to disability, learning difference and/or a significant on-going health condition. Reasonable accommodations and supports are designed, as far as possible, to meet the individual needs of each student and are intended to assist them with their studies. Their purpose is not to give students with disabilities, learning differences or long-term health conditions an unfair advantage over their peers. Academic standards are maintained at all times.

National and European Data Protection law, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), give you a whole host of rights that aim to ensure your personal data is used only how it should be. As part of your registration for disability supports in college, you will be required to provide evidence of your disability and sometimes, information pertaining to the impact of your disability may need to be shared with staff involved in the provision of supports.

While any information that you provide to us will remain confidential, please know that we cannot provide support in isolation. With your permission, information will be disclosed solely for the purpose of arranging the necessary support for you.

Information about disability, learning differences or long-term health conditions is special category personal data and will be processed by the college in accordance with Data Protection laws.

Information about data protection and how the college uses learner data is available in our Learner Disability Policy and our Privacy Notice for Learners

This video below produced by AHEAD and the Disability Advisors Working Network (DAWN), outlines your rights and describes how colleges collect and process your data as well as who they might share it with and why.

Please note that this is general information and that the specifics of Carlow College personal data processing are set out in Carlow College policies, such as the College’s Data Protection Policy, the Privacy Notice for Learners and College Learner Disability Policy.

Some examples of supports include, but are not limited to:

  • learning support,

  • exam accommodations,

  • assistive technology,

  • personal assistant, and

  • transport support.

Accommodations may include, but are not limited to the following:
  • extra time,

  • flexibility with deadlines,

  • spelling and grammar waiver,

  • rest periods,

  • use of reader/scribe,

  • alternative exam centre,

  • use of PC/laptop/assistive technology.

Specific examination and/or other assessment arrangements can only be made after an assessment of needs has been completed. Requests for exam accommodations/alternative arrangements should be made as early as possible in the academic year as deadlines apply.   Students who request accommodations after these deadlines will be accommodated in subsequent examination sessions.

Exam supports are also available for students who experience a temporary disability and require short-term supports, for example a dominant hand injury.

Assistive Technology (AT) is a range of tools that make learning more accessible. For example, software that helps with spelling, grammar and organising information; digital pens or software for recording lectures; adapted tools for students with visual or hearing impairments; and alternative inputs for students with mobility issues. The most common AT used by our students to assist their reading, writing and note-taking, are Grammarly, Immersive Reader, Dictate, Bookshare, Livescribe Pen, Glean and Inspiration. The AT that best suits your needs will be discussed with you as part of your needs assessment.

The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) allocates funding to third level colleges for the provision of services and supports to students with disabilities, learning differences and/or long-term health conditions. The FSD aims to ensure that students can participate fully in their academic programmes and are not disadvantaged by reason of disability.  To be considered under the ESF Fund for Students with Disabilities, each applicant must meet nationality and residency criteria and submit full verification of his/her disability which meets the eligibility criteria as outlined by the Fund. The FSD is funded by the Government of Ireland.

For more information see www.studentfinance.ie.

The goal of learning support is to assist you in becoming an independent learner. Our learning support tutors can help by identifying strategies that suit your individual learning style. 1 to 1 and small group sessions can help develop your skills in time management, active reading, note-taking, exam/study skills, task analysis and essay writing.

EU, Visiting or International Learners may register with the Academic Resource Office for general disability supports. Learners should contact the International Office prior to the commencement of their academic programme.

Disability documentation which has been completed in a language other than English can be submitted once accompanied by an English translation. This translation must be conducted by an individual/organisation that is completely independent of the applicant. EU, Visiting or International learners do not qualify for supports through the ‘Fund for Students with Disabilities’, and are advised to consult the Disability Service in their home institution in advance of applying for admission. Please note that reasonable accommodations for semester study abroad students which apply in their home institutions may differ in Carlow College. For example, additional time in examinations is set nationally at 10 minutes extra per hour.

Further information for EU, visiting or international learners is available from our International Officer, Dr Eric A. Derr, at: intloffice@carlowcollege.ie.

Our rights and responsibilities as a college to our learners and the rights and responsibilities of learners with disabilities, learning differences or long-term health conditions who receive reasonable accommodations during their time with us are outlined in our Code of Practice.