Accommodation through personalisation: ensuring the autistic student has an equal opportunity for success in the PhD viva voce

Journal article


Sandland, B., MacLeod, A., Hall, N. and Chown, N. (2023). Accommodation through personalisation: ensuring the autistic student has an equal opportunity for success in the PhD viva voce. Journal of Further and Higher Education. 47 (10), pp. 1404-1419. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877x.2023.2250740
AuthorsSandland, B., MacLeod, A., Hall, N. and Chown, N.
Abstract

Despite the viva being an essential component of all PhD and other doctoral qualifications in UK universities, there is little research into their accessibility for autistic students, or the process of adjusting them to individual students’ needs. Autistic student voices about the viva are almost completely absent from the literature. This paper is the first to employ a collaborative, ethnographical case study to explore the doctoral viva voce experience of an autistic student, directly from their perspective and from the perspectives of non-autistic academics central to the process. The experiences we share highlight the limitations of ‘reasonable accommodation’ plans, if they offer only generic support based on a diagnostic label, rather than taking account of the individual needs, and the importance of recognising the unique role that the viva voce holds within doctoral studies. We present a ‘reasonable accommodations’ discussion document, to facilitate autistic student-centred discussions and ensure the viva process is fair and accessible. We further assert that accommodations should be formally noted within the examination report as to their use and impact.

KeywordsEducation
Year2023
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Journal citation47 (10), pp. 1404-1419
PublisherInforma UK Limited
ISSN0309-877X
1469-9486
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877x.2023.2250740
Publication dates
Online07 Sep 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted02 Aug 2023
Deposited19 Sep 2023
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Page range1-16
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/94zy5

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