Education advice if you have special educational needs or a disability

If you’re leaving school or have already left, you might be thinking about the future and what your next steps are. If you're still in school, your teachers can talk to you to help you work out a plan.

Here’s some information to help you choose what to do next if you have learning difficulties or a disability such as autism, attention deficit disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia.

Explore your choices

There are lots of work and study choices available to you. You could choose to stay in full-time education, combine work and study or go straight into work.

You can view your education and training options on the Skills for Careers website.

Support you can get

Schools, colleges and universities offer support for students with special educational needs or disabilities. They have to make reasonable adjustments by law.

Depending on what you need help with, you might be able to get:

  • a tutor or someone to take notes for you
  • information in different ways like sign language, braille or large print
  • special computer equipment like a tablet or a screen reader
  • a mentor or an advocate
  • therapies such as speech therapy or mental health services
  • flexible class times and extra time for exams

You might find it useful to speak to the Disabled Students Helpline, run by Disability Rights UK. They can give you specialist support, information and advice by phone or email.

Contact course providers

You are not on the journey into your next stage of education or training on your own. You should contact the place where you want to study to find out what support they offer.

It's best to contact them before you apply as it might help you decide if you'd like to go there.

The provider might also help you:

  • apply for the course
  • plan how you'll travel
  • choose the best way for you to start
  • set up a visit before your course begins

Open days

You could also attend open days to find out what:

  • courses they offer
  • travelling to the campus is like
  • facilities you can access
  • other people think, such as students and staff
  • support they can provide you with

Filling in application forms

You can ask for an application form in a different format, such as braille. It’s against the law for an education provider to only have application forms in one format.

Applications usually give you the option to say what needs or disabilities you have. It’s a good idea to give as much information as possible. 

Only the people who will support you or arrange the support for you will see the details you provide.

This information is not used to make a decision on your application. It’s against the law for a provider to use it against you. 

Education, health and care (EHC) plans

If you have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, your school will start to plan your next steps with you from year 9.

Your EHC plan reviews should help you:

  • create some clear goals that are ambitious
  • choose a next step that meets your interests and needs
  • explore your education and training choices on Skills for Careers
  • plan for what comes next

Your local council offers you lots of help and support, including deciding your next steps in education. This is called the local offer. Find your local council to view the local offer on their website.

Speak to a careers adviser

Our careers advisers can give you general advice and help with your education and career choices. They will consider your disability or learning difficulties and discuss this with you.

Their advice may help you to reach your career goals or work out what you want to do next.

You can speak to an adviser on the phone, by email or you can chat online.

Related content

Job support if you have a learning difficulty or disability

Volunteering advice

Filling in application forms

Interview tips

Speak to an adviser

You can call 0800 100 900 or use webchat to speak to an adviser.

We're open:

  • 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday
  • 10am to 5pm Saturdays and bank holidays

We're closed on Sundays, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.