Having said that, Jane, I thought the OU in particular bent over backwards to try to help me. So much so, I felt almost embarrassed I was unable to think of anything that might help.
After deliberating carefully whether to even mention it, I had put on the application form that I have MS. I got a call from a very nice man, asking if there was anything they could possibly do to assist me.
I assured him I was “fine at the moment, thank you”, and not visibly disabled, but that due to the nature of MS, that could change quite quickly, and I was unable to predict the sort of help that might be useful in future.
He said: “Well, if anything does change quickly, we can respond quickly, too, so don’t hesitate to let us know.”
The one thing they don’t do, which probably would have been most useful, given the unpredictable nature of MS, is grant extensions to assignments on health grounds - at least, not as far as I could work out. I think this is in contrast to most bricks-and-mortar universities, where they can grant extensions, and even adjust exam marks, due to extenuating circumstances.
In fact, where I did my law degree, it became a bit of a standing joke that one particular student never, ever handed in anything on time, yet somehow was not thrown off the course. I suppose, technically, she may have had MS or something - just as nobody would be able to tell, looking at me. But she certainly gave no outward sign that she was facing the kind of obstacles that would stop anyone ever completing their work on time. It wasn’t just once or twice - it was all the time, with everything. I consider that brought the system into disrepute, and was an injustice to the vast majority of students who did meet deadlines - even if many of has had “pulled an all-nighter” to do it. Anyway, that was many years ago, and things may have changed. But I did find it a bit surprising that the OU apparently had no provision for: “What if I need to submit my work late, because I’ve had a relapse?”
They were very good about practical stuff, though. They asked if I would like ALL the material as audio, because they were aware that sight problems are common with MS. I explained: “No, no, my sight is unaffected, touch wood”, but they did keep asking: “Are you sure?”. As I say, they were so keen to help, I felt quite bad about not being able to think of anything. What should one ask for?