Meeting your Advisor for your Needs Assessment

Gavin Deady, Disability Advisor

In this post, one of our Disability Advisors, Gavin Deady, has written a step-by-step outline of a typical needs assessment.

Reading this may reduce any anxiety you may have about this meeting.


The conversation will focus on two aspects: the supports you may need in college and how DSS can help with those, and educational/examination accommodations that need to be put in place for end of semester exams. Your advisor will also discuss the issue of disclosure (talking about your autism) with you.


If you have any access needs or preferences to enable you to fully participate in the assessment, please do let us know. It is very important to us that you are able to express your views and opinions so that we can ensure you get the most out of this process and that the recommendations we make are appropriate to your individual requirements.

How could this affect me?

The Needs Assessment (your first meeting with your disability advisor)


When you register with the University, you will have the option at this stage to commence your registration with the DSS, and when you click ‘yes’ to that question at registration, the DSS will create a registration case for you and send you emails (always to your student umail – you can access your student email (or umail) here).


Some of the first emails may ask for things like medical verification (perhaps your diagnosis). If you came to college through the DARE scheme, we may have this, but we may also need to contact you looking for this, and we will ask you to email this in. We ask that student not drop paper documents to reception, as we can’t keep these securely, and they can get lost. In the first email you will have received from us, there is an upload link. We are asking all students to upload their medical verification to this link. Instructions are in the email.


You will get another email asking you to read and agree to the Code of Practice of the DSS. Once you have read and understand the Code of Practice, you will be asked to email back with the line ‘’ I have read and understood the DSS Code of Practice.’’


Then the advisor will send you an email with a bookings link, and ask you to book an appointment that fits with your schedule and timetable. You will receive a confirmation email with the details of the appointment to your UCC umail account.


Online Needs Assessment

  1. When you are sent the email to the code of practice, and to book an appointment, you will be sent a fourth email, this shows you the steps to log into a Teams meeting. All of these emails go to your umail account only. You will need this as when your appointment time is arranged for your needs assessment, this meeting will be held on Microsoft Teams.
  2. You will need to be logged in and available at your appointment time, but please do not call or message the advisor on teams. They will call you.
  3. The meeting will start when the advisor calls you. They will start by working through a list of questions they have first, and then there will be time to discuss any questions you have.
  4. You will then have a discussion about your experience of school, any accommodations you had for the Leaving Certificate or in school. You will have a chance to reflect on any recommendations in your diagnostic report, as well as raise any other issues of concern or questions.
  5. The advisor will also need to ask some questions in relation to funding, such as being a member of an ethnic minority, your educational past, your nationality, and how long you have been living in Ireland. These are questions that are asked in relation to our funding, and should not be a cause for concern, but feel free to ask for any clarification or explanation as and when you need to.
  6. A few days after the meeting, a needs assessment document will be emailed to you (usually by the Friday of that week).




What to do next?

It is important to fully complete the registration with the DSS to avail of supports and any exam accommodations you may be entitled to.

About the author

Dr Gavin Deady – Disability Advisor – Disability Support Service, University College Cork