DLSS - Code of Practice for Students

Policy Owner
Disability Office
Document Type
Code of Practice
Document Approval Date

Dublin City University (DCU) is committed to a policy of equal opportunity in education and to ensuring that students with a disability have as complete and equitable access to all facets of university life as can reasonably be provided. The Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2012 and the Universities Act 1997 make provision for a service provider, such as DCU, to prepare and implement a code of practice setting out what it is doing to promote the inclusion of students with disabilities.

The purpose of this Code of Practice for DCU is twofold:

  1. to outline to students with disabilities their rights and responsibilities in receiving reasonable accommodations in DCU;&
  2. to define DCU’s rights and responsibilities to students with disabilities, and the university community.

This code of practice applies to all students who register with the DCU Disability & Learning Support Service (DLSS). For the purpose of this code, and all University Policies relating to students with disabilities, a reasonable accommodation might be any action that helps alleviate a substantial disadvantage. Making a reasonable accommodation might involve changing procedures, modifying the delivery of the course taken, providing additional services (e.g., examination arrangements, materials in large print), or altering the physical environment.

This code of practice is intended to provide a model for a high standard of service to students with disabilities. The University will take reasonable steps to ensure that it does not place a student with a disability at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled student. A substantial disadvantage is one that entails time, inconvenience, effort or discomfort, compared to other people or students, and which is more than minor or trivial.


Every student with a disability has the following rights
  1. Right to reasonable and appropriate accommodations (adjustments and supports) and/or auxiliary aids determined on a case-by-case basis and in accord with the individual’s certified disability/specific learning difficulty.
  2. Right to appropriate confidentiality of disability records (files) and that any disclosure of information will only happen with the student’s written consent.
  3. Right to have information reasonably available in accessible formats.
  4. Right to be treated with dignity and respect.
Every student with a disability has the following responsibilities
  1. To identify themselves in a timely manner as an individual with a disability when seeking an accommodation.
  2. To provide documentation from an acceptable professional source that verifies the nature of the disability.
  3. To register with the Disability & Learning Support Service (DLSS) and follow the DLSS and DCU procedures if they wish to obtain reasonable and appropriate accommodations, examination accommodations and/or auxiliary aids. This includes signing the code of practice and consenting to the release of information.
  4. To treat staff of the University with dignity and respect.

The University

Dublin City University has the following rights
  1. To maintain the College’s academic standards.
  2. To request that an ‘Evidence of Disability Form’ be completed by an acceptable professional source to verify the need for reasonable accommodations and/or auxiliary aids.
  3. To discuss a student's need for reasonable accommodations and/or auxiliary aids with the professional source of his/her documentation, having obtained the student's signed consent authorizing such disclosure and discussion.
  4. To select from equally effective and appropriate accommodations and/or auxiliary aids in consultation with students with disabilities.
  5. To deny a request for accommodation and/or auxiliary aid if the documentation does not identify a specific disability and/or functional limitation, or if it fails to verify the need for the requested services or if it is not provided in a timely manner.
  6. To refuse to provide an accommodation and/or auxiliary aid that is inappropriate or unreasonable, including any that:

a) pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others;

b) constitute a substantial change or alteration to an essential element of a course or programme;


c) pose undue financial or administrative hardship on College.

Dublin City University has the following responsibilities

  1. To ensure that the University’s courses, programmes, services, jobs, activities, and facilities, when viewed in their entirety, are delivered in the most integrated and accessible settings possible.
  2. To provide to students with disabilities information regarding the University’s policies and procedures and to ensure that it is available in accessible formats upon request.
  3. To provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations and/or auxiliary aids for students with disabilities upon a timely request by a student.
  4. To maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication concerning students with disabilities except where the disclosure is authorized by the student.

More specifically, the University’s DLSS personnel have the following responsibilities

  1. To Assist students with disabilities to self-identify and meet DCU’s criteria for eligibility to receive reasonable and appropriate accommodations and/or auxiliary aids determined on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Assure confidentiality (subject to the student signing the disclosure of information form) of all information pertaining to a student's disability.
  3. Inform students on the mechanism for changing Disability Officer assigned to them.

DLSS policy on confidentiality for students with disabilities

The DLSS encourages students with disabilities to disclose information on their disability/specific learning difficulty to the DLSS before they apply to the University or at any point during their studies. Such disclosure is encouraged so that DLSS can work with the student in ensuring that any reasonable accommodation required is identified and facilitated in conjunction with the student. Any documentation or information presented in disclosing a disability is held by the DLSS, and specific medical or other documentation will not be disclosed to any third party. Where a student requests and is granted any form of reasonable accommodation such as extra time in exams, or permission to tape record lecturers’ notes, the DLSS will, in consultation with the student, disclose relevant information to the individuals in those departments responsible for providing or facilitating students in accessing such accommodations. In such instances, only information relevant to the particular situation will be disclosed.

Dealing with Disability Service Complaints

If students are unhappy with decisions made by DLSS staff, or with service delivery, the following mechanisms are in place to deal with complaint(s):

  1. In the first instance discuss the complaint with the DLSS Staff member.
  2. If it is not satisfactorily dealt with under (a) above then follow the procedure outlined in the DCU Student Complaints Procedure.

Dealing with complaints under the Disability Act 2005

Section 38 of the Disability Act 2005 enables any person by his/herself or through any person defined under Section 9 (2) of the Act to make a complaint in writing to the President of Dublin City University in relation to the failure of the College to comply with Sections 25, 26, 27, 28 or 29 of the Act. Further information on submitting a complaint can be found at this DCU webpage link.

Any queries regarding this code of practice policy should be directed to:

Disability & Learning Support Service

E: disability.service@dcu.ie 

This code will be reviewed by the Head of the Disability & Learning Support Service every 3 years, or as when required. 

Document Name

DLSS Code of Practice for Students

Unit Owner

Disability & Learning Support Service

Version Reference

Version 2.0

Approved by

Head of DLSS

Effective Date

December 10th 2020