I have a medical condition, and am worried about moving in to halls
Firstly, don't panic. You will not be the only person into halls with a medical condition, nor will you be the first person who has ever had one. There are, however, a few considerations you may need to take into account.
Do you want to tell people you live with? This is, of course, down to how comfortable you are with people knowing about your medical condition. It might be that your condition causes medical emergencies, and informing people you live with would help you get help. If you decide not to tell them, there are a few steps you could do to make sure you feel safer:
- Inform the warden of your halls. This should also be done if your condition makes it harder for you to evacuate during fires. If it does, it is also a good idea to inform the accommodation office as they will endeavour to allocate a room which is easy to evacuate.
- Make sure you structure your day in order to have regular meals/medications as required. This may sound like common sense, but it is easy to lose track of time at uni.
- If you don't want to tell your hallmates, consider wearing a medicalert bracelet. These are available in jewellers, and medical staff are trained to look for them. They look like ordinary jewellery unless closely inspected so people won't know what it is you are wearing.
I think I may have a disability, is it worth declaring?
In a word, yes. Universities are now subject to the Disability Discrimination Act, and as such are under a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to make their buildings accessible. If you have mobility problems, therefore, it is well advised to contact them in advance.
Informing the university also opens up a vast support network. All universities will have a disability support team, who can offer help in undertaking your studies. The service is there so use it!
If you are unsure about a disability, e.g. you think you may be dyslexic, contact the disability support office when you start university. They will be able to arrange assessments in order to determine if you do have a condition, and what help you are entitled to.
Will my disability have an impact on eligibility for courses/employment?
This is of course down to the particular course/employment opportunity and your disability. Some professions have a fitness to practise requirement, others have medical restrictions. If you are at all unsure the best thing to do is to contact the professional body for your chosen profession. They will be able to tell you if you would be eligible, and what sorts of adjustments you could reasonably expect under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Disabled Students Allowance
Broadly speaking, this is a grant from your LEA to cover the cost of any extra equipment you need to buy because of a disability. The Guide to the DSA contains more details.
For a jargon-free, easy to follow, step-by-step guide that will take you through the full DSA process; from application to receiving support see here
My needs assessment was ages ago and I still haven't received my equipment. What can I do?
If you have received the final copy of your report and equipment has been recommended then contact your Local Education Authority. Some Local Education Authorities will place the order themselves and some will prefer you made the order (and then reimburse you) so it's important to check first.
If it's the former, the LEA is ordering the equipment on your behalf, then try and contact them. Ideally contact the head of students support. If this does not work then try and contact the disability service or a personal tutor at university. They may chase it up for you. But make sure you try and resolve the issue yourself, first.
Find more information here
- Guide to the Disabled Students' Allowance
- Disabled Students Experiences
- A list of common disabilities and disorders
- TSR Disabled Students' Society
This FAQ is a work in progress. If you have any questions you would like answering, please post them in the Disabled Students' Society and we will answer them. If you'd rather ask a question in confidence, feel free to send a private message to Ethereal or Craghyrax.