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    Hi all, I have a needs assessment coming up this coming monday and I want to know what to expect? I have done a little research into the whole DSA thing and wasn't expecting to hear anything from them for another few weeks yet hence I am a little shocked with the whole thing happening so fast. I sent the form first week of March and got a reply last Wed, called for an appointment and it's next Monday. I guess it's a good thing but I am just not ready for it because my "disability" is mental health and one of my problems is I can't deal with strangers so I want to find out as much as possible what will happen during an assessment.

    Cheers
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    (Original post by River85)
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    Reminding myself to reply later today (Sunday) :p:

    Someone created a similar thread a few months/a year ago (what is a needs assessment like). Must try and find it. I've been meaning to create a sticky thread covering this actually. Must try and do it in the nearish future.

    Anyway, in short, I understand that it's important you want to know what will happen and I will explain later when I have more time. What I'll say now is please don't be too anxious or nervous as it's nothing to worry about.
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    Thanks so much for posting this: I also have a DSA assessment on Monday (as in, tomorrow!) for mental health and am not sure what on earth to expect :five:

    Have you thought about taking someone with you, to make it less unnerving? I'm in the middle of a rather nasty psychotic episode and shouldn't spend too much time unsupervised, especially out of the house, so I asked them whether I could bring someone with me and they said that's fine and that they'd make a note of that
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    (Original post by ExTraP)
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    OK, I'm back.

    Right, just to develop what I was saying, it a fairly informal assessment. Don't be anxious or stressed about it. The assessor is there to determine the areas you need support, and to determine which kinds support will help (with some input from you). They are there to help you. So don't think they're out to trip you up or catch you out. They're aren't.

    So it will possibly begin with just a chat about your background (health/disability) and possibly also your educational background. This is just to get some idea about you and will probably go at the beginning of the Needs Assessment report.

    You'll then have a chat about what sort of things you might need help with and where you have stuggled in the past, or expect to struggle in the future. Things such as motivation, note taking, library support...a wide range of things.

    The assessor will usually take the lead here and direct the conversation. That have the experience and some knowledge of the condition you have and problems other students have experienced. So they may highlight certain things, ask if you need support in a certain area, and then listen to input from you. If there's something you think you need help with which hasn't been mentioned by the assessor then please mention it. Remember that the purpose of the assessment is to get support for you.

    If certain equipment or computer software is suggested, and the equipment is present in the bulding or computers are nearby, you will possibly get the chance to see the equipment or software in action and get a chance to use it yourself.

    Asssessment's obviously vary in time. But expect it to last around 40 minutes. Some will last a little longer (60 minutes plus).

    When you're finished the assessor will produce the report. This will state who you are, your background, areas you/the assessor feel you need support in, and recommendations. This can include certain equipment, longer library loans, flexible deadlines, study support and a number of other things.

    You then receive this report after a few days and have the chance to read it. If you are happy with it and don't feel any changes need to be made then there report will be sent to your Funding Body. You will then be able to start getting any equipment that was suggested (if any was suggested) over the coming weeks.

    If you aren't happy with the report and think changes need to be made, then all you'll probably need to do is fill in a form and send the report back to the assessor. They'll amend it as they see appropriate.

    I think this is how they're still done :p: I had my second (and so far final) one in September 2007.

    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    Have you thought about taking someone with you, to make it less unnerving? I'm in the middle of a rather nasty psychotic episode and shouldn't spend too much time unsupervised, especially out of the house, so I asked them whether I could bring someone with me and they said that's fine and that they'd make a note of that
    Yeah, that's a good idea. Obviously an assessment is supposed to be a private meeting between you and the assessor. Someone else can also attend, but should have your permission, so taking a friend or relative will be fine. If you were to do this, OP, I'd suggest phoning first thing tomorrow morning before you leave if you can. But if you can't give advance notice they still shouldn't have a problem with it.

    Even if you don't then you can just tell the assessor that you feel a little nervous (whether seriously or try and make a joke out of it if you can) they should then try and put you at ease. But I imagine most assessors will know some people can get a bit nervous, so will try their best to put people at ease anyway.

    When I had my first assessment my parents took me and my mother waited for me. If I wanted her to come into the assessment itself I'm sure they wouldn't have minded. Gosh...that was June 2004. I really don't know where they years have gone.
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    (Original post by River85)
    :hello:
    Thanks very much for taking the time to write all that out. Extreme paranoia is a big problem at the moment, so it's nice to know what will happen and about what the assessors are like.

    I think it's probs best for everyone involved if someone else sits in with me, rather than just waiting outside

    Thanks again
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    Thanks for the info, I think it's best I go alone, coz there are only 2 or 3 people who know about my condition and even with them, they don't know much in detail. When I booked the appointment, they said the assessment lasts between 1-1.5hrs and the apopintments are 2 hrs slots, hence it makes me feel even more anxious. I thought it was gonna be a 20 mins thing.... I also feel quite guilty because I don't see myself needing extra help compare to my peers, I mean studying is hard, end of, so even a normal healthy person would probably need as much help as I do so why the extra support? But then my very good friend keeps telling me that if I don't get it then someone else will, so why not? I am not sure if I agree with it. I guess I am just not used to depending on others and the past few years have been hard knowing I used to be able to do so much and now I can't even get out of bed on somedays.

    Anyway, I shouldn't keep on moaning. Once again thanks for the info and I will come back to share my experience tomorrow or the day after.

    Enjoy the sun!!
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    (Original post by ExTraP)
    Thanks for the info, I think it's best I go alone, coz there are only 2 or 3 people who know about my condition and even with them, they don't know much in detail. When I booked the appointment, they said the assessment lasts between 1-1.5hrs and the apopintments are 2 hrs slots, hence it makes me feel even more anxious. I thought it was gonna be a 20 mins thing.... I also feel quite guilty because I don't see myself needing extra help compare to my peers, I mean studying is hard, end of, so even a normal healthy person would probably need as much help as I do so why the extra support? But then my very good friend keeps telling me that if I don't get it then someone else will, so why not? I am not sure if I agree with it. I guess I am just not used to depending on others and the past few years have been hard knowing I used to be able to do so much and now I can't even get out of bed on somedays.

    Anyway, I shouldn't keep on moaning. Once again thanks for the info and I will come back to share my experience tomorrow or the day after.

    Enjoy the sun!!
    I empathise with how you feel but I think it's important for both of us to recognise that we're ill and that as such, we are as entitled to help as everyone else the DSA covers
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    Can I ask you what your mental health problem is? And what you're expecting to receive? Because I'm currently doing my DSA application for my depression and ED and I have no idea what to write in the bit that says 'Please give full details and provide evidence of your disability, mental health condition...' And I have no idea what I'm likely to get, just that Sussex won't organise councellors etc. if I don't get DSA.
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    (Original post by SmallTownGirl)
    Can I ask you what your mental health problem is? And what you're expecting to receive? Because I'm currently doing my DSA application for my depression and ED and I have no idea what to write in the bit that says 'Please give full details and provide evidence of your disability, mental health condition...' And I have no idea what I'm likely to get, just that Sussex won't organise councellors etc. if I don't get DSA.
    I'm presuming you're asking the OP rather than me but in my case, they're not entirely sure what's wrong with me. Either severe depression with psychotic symptoms, or the start of something more like schizophrenia

    I wasn't too sure what to write either but I included a photocopy of my psychiatrist's note (though I'm gonna ask them to ring my psych, coz so much has changed now) and I wrote about some of the stuff that's happened to me, some of the symptoms and a little about how that affects my uni stuff (though I had far more space to do that on the form the assessment centre sent me once I'd applied).

    That's a bit mean of Sussex :console:
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I'm presuming you're asking the OP rather than me but in my case, they're not entirely sure what's wrong with me. Either severe depression with psychotic symptoms, or the start of something more like schizophrenia

    I wasn't too sure what to write either but I included a photocopy of my psychiatrist's note (though I'm gonna ask them to ring my psych, coz so much has changed now) and I wrote about some of the stuff that's happened to me, some of the symptoms and a little about how that affects my uni stuff (though I had far more space to do that on the form the assessment centre sent me once I'd applied).

    That's a bit mean of Sussex :console:
    Oh right. I've got a short letter from my doctor that I can photocopy and send but I've lost my diagnosis letter somewhere in my room - although it is a year old - so I don't have all the details. So I should just write as much about how my mental health problems affect my life?

    Well... They will, but they can't pay for it without me receiving DSA.
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    (Original post by SmallTownGirl)
    Oh right. I've got a short letter from my doctor that I can photocopy and send but I've lost my diagnosis letter somewhere in my room - although it is a year old - so I don't have all the details. So I should just write as much about how my mental health problems affect my life?

    Well... They will, but they can't pay for it without me receiving DSA.
    I don't think it has to be anything long: the one I sent with my application wasn't too long. It had quite outdated info too, saying "moderate depression". I was so unimpressed when I read that, hence why I'm going to ask them to contact my psychiatrist.

    I think you should just write as much as you can about how they affect your life, especially your uni life, yeah

    Hope they are able to offer counselling and soon once you get the DSA :hugs:
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I don't think it has to be anything long: the one I sent with my application wasn't too long. It had quite outdated info too, saying "moderate depression". I was so unimpressed when I read that, hence why I'm going to ask them to contact my psychiatrist.

    I think you should just write as much as you can about how they affect your life, especially your uni life, yeah

    Hope they are able to offer counselling and soon once you get the DSA :hugs:
    I hope so too. Just nervous that I'll have to have a needs assessment. I'm sure all this stuff is easier for people with visible, physical disabilities...
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    (Original post by SmallTownGirl)
    I hope so too. Just nervous that I'll have to have a needs assessment. I'm sure all this stuff is easier for people with visible, physical disabilities...
    I'm nervous too but hope that what River wrote has put your mind at ease a little, like it has done for me.

    I was told that if I wanted to avoid the needs assessment altogether, that Goldsmiths' Disabilities Advisor could write a covering letter, outlining things and saying what I need. They were worried that I might miss out if I did this but understood that talking about my symptoms isn't one of my strong points and can be quite distressing. If you're hugely concerned, maybe you could ask Sussex about this :dontknow:
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I'm nervous too but hope that what River wrote has put your mind at ease a little, like it has done for me.

    I was told that if I wanted to avoid the needs assessment altogether, that Goldsmiths' Disabilities Advisor could write a covering letter, outlining things and saying what I need. They were worried that I might miss out if I did this but understood that talking about my symptoms isn't one of my strong points and can be quite distressing. If you're hugely concerned, maybe you could ask Sussex about this :dontknow:
    I'm sure I'll be ok. I've got better at talking about my issues. I guess that's the benefit of having been through 11 different medical people and councellors in less than 18 months...
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    (Original post by SmallTownGirl)
    I'm sure I'll be ok. I've got better at talking about my issues. I guess that's the benefit of having been through 11 different medical people and councellors in less than 18 months...
    :hugs:
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    I was lucky enough have gotten hold of a DSA assessor from the student finance and she was very very nice indeed. She said all they need is a couple of lines from your doc confirming the condition(s). A couple of lines and a 1000 words long essay won't make any difference. If you want to have a chat with them I can dig out the email and you can email them to ask.

    And my conditions are well, a bit of this a bit of that. They can't really put their fingers down on one thing. But I think apt of mental health conditions share similar features anyway, so I don't think it matters with the "labels", what matters is who you r affected.

    Sorry it's disgusting trying to type a long reply using a phone. Will come back with more when I get home tonight.
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    I had my assessment in February for mental health problems and it went absolutely fine. He understood that I get worked up in unfamiliar situations and asked me if there was anything to make the situation less stressful. He also offered me refreshments and breaks. It was a really good experience. I left feeling really good about things instead of an undeserving waste of space.

    The assessor will lead everything if you have brain!soup going on then s/he can push you gently towards things that could help you. I was in there for about 75 minutes in all.
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    This is really helpful for me too. I'm applying for mental health issues too and I feel like less of a waste of time and resources after reading all the posts.
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    There are universities that won't give you counselling unless you get DSA for mental health issues? :eek4:

    I have quite a lot of stuff going on but I don't have a formal diagnosis of my mental health problems (I've been trying to get one, just failing miserably) so I won't be claiming DSA for it - although I do get DSA for Asperger's anyway. Will I still be able to access university counselling?
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    (Original post by SmallTownGirl)
    Can I ask you what your mental health problem is? And what you're expecting to receive? Because I'm currently doing my DSA application for my depression and ED and I have no idea what to write in the bit that says 'Please give full details and provide evidence of your disability, mental health condition...' And I have no idea what I'm likely to get, just that Sussex won't organise councellors etc. if I don't get DSA.
    Just quoting you because I have the same issues. If it helps I wrote something like 'I have depression and anorexia nervosa, both of which have impacted on my concentration, and general functioning' (reeaaally didn't want to go into it) and then said 'Please see the attached letter from Dr. X.'
    I thought university councilling was free or subsisided? That's fairly sucky of Sussex. You might want to check my thread because I recall someone saying DSA doesn't fund councilling.
    Hope everything does ok for you.
    xx
 
 
 
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