Jenx301
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Hi guys

has anyone ever applied for disabled students allowance due to mental health? I dont see myself as disabled really but I do have mental health problems which impact my life a lot and have really affected me at college. When I went visit uni they told me in order to receive any support from the mental health team with my work and general stuff in uni like books and photocopying then I would need to be getting the DSA. It might also help me with other stuff which I cant really remember right now, the support team is the main thing.

Im just curious about it really, I had never heard of this properly until the mental health team talked me through it. They helped me fill out a form and my psychiatric nurse has filled out my evidence form (although im not sure she has done it right lol). Apparently I will need to have a needs assessment too.

If anyone has been through the process or is going through this I would love to hear from you.
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River85
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I originally applied in 2004, although this was for (controlled) epilepsy, not mental health problems. I'd suffered from depression for the previous two and a half years, since an assault before my A-levels, but it was only in the initial stages of investigation when I started university.

In 2007 I had a neuropsychological assessment and was diagnosed with dyspraxia and bipolar disorder. As I was still at university, doing the same course, I didn't need to re-apply. I did need to have a new needs assessment, however.

I tried compiling some peoples experiences of applying for DSA and attending needs assessments last summer, but work and personal problems have got in the way and I probably won't have the new stuff until this summer. I can give you a draft of what I have, as I did have a good account from someone who has mental health difficulties.

What do you want to know? The amount of support you're entitled to depends on your level of need and this differs accoding to the individual, but you may be entitled to a mentor if you find motivation and organisation difficult as well as various types of equipment depending on your need. I'll try and be back tomorrow.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Jenx301)
Hi guys

has anyone ever applied for disabled students allowance due to mental health? I dont see myself as disabled really but I do have mental health problems which impact my life a lot and have really affected me at college. When I went visit uni they told me in order to receive any support from the mental health team with my work and general stuff in uni like books and photocopying then I would need to be getting the DSA. It might also help me with other stuff which I cant really remember right now, the support team is the main thing.

Im just curious about it really, I had never heard of this properly until the mental health team talked me through it. They helped me fill out a form and my psychiatric nurse has filled out my evidence form (although im not sure she has done it right lol). Apparently I will need to have a needs assessment too.

If anyone has been through the process or is going through this I would love to hear from you.
Hi,

I receive DSA for a diagnosis which was "severe depression with psychotic symptoms" but what is now schizoaffective disorder and PTSD. So I receive DSA for mental health problems. I was a bit sceptical at first when I was told to apply and delayed applying for ages but when I finally handed over the form, I was surprised by how efficient everything was and how much help was available to me. I also didn't really see myself as disabled, so felt reluctant to "take away" from more "disabled" students (or so I felt at the time).

Rest assured that the whole process is painless and very helpful. If you have any specific questions, to feel free to ask. I rather suspect I am the person who River85 has mentioned as providing "a good account from someone who has mental health difficulties". As a result of the DSA assessment (which was done by an absolutely lovely lady who really took the time and effort to understand my needs properly and make recommendations based on that), I get:

- a mentor
- a notetaker
- a dictaphone and microphone
- lecture notes early
- deadline extensions when necessary
- library loan extensions
- a laptop with specific software on it, so that I can work from home if I am too ill to go into uni
- a taxi allowance
- ergonomic stuff for the laptop
- a general allowance for photocopying/printer ink, books, etc.
- a printer and a scanner

There's probably stuff I've forgotten too! Anyway, you can see how extensive and well-thoughtout my assessment was adn all the help I've been given. It's made such a difference to this academic year. By the time everything was in place, I was in my second year and it's been much more successful than the first
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Jenx301
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(Original post by River85)
I originally applied in 2004, although this was for (controlled) epilepsy, not mental health problems. I'd suffered from depression for the previous two and a half years, since an assault before my A-levels, but it was only in the initial stages of investigation when I started university.

In 2007 I had a neuropsychological assessment and was diagnosed with dyspraxia and bipolar disorder. As I was still at university, doing the same course, I didn't need to re-apply. I did need to have a new needs assessment, however.

I tried compiling some peoples experiences of applying for DSA and attending needs assessments last summer, but work and personal problems have got in the way and I probably won't have the new stuff until this summer. I can give you a draft of what I have, as I did have a good account from someone who has mental health difficulties.

What do you want to know? The amount of support you're entitled to depends on your level of need and this differs accoding to the individual, but you may be entitled to a mentor if you find motivation and organisation difficult as well as various types of equipment depending on your need. I'll try and be back tomorrow.
thank you for replying. I guess in part I was just curious because I didnt realise people could apply to DSA for mental health, I mean, I couldnt see why you would need money.. Now I understand fully what the DSA is and what you can use it for it's more clear but I wondered what other people use theirs for in regards to mental health.

I guess some possible things the unis mental health team said I might need could include:
- money to pay for a support staff from the mental health team
- extra photocopying costs
- money for books
- a voice recorder
- extra print costs

I cant remember anything else but i think those were the main things they mentioned to me. I am also worried firstly that my psychiatric nurse has filled out my evidence not well enough and secondly majorly concerned about my needs assessment. I think I will fail it miserably because of mental health probs which would be ridiculous.

Any experiences or knowledge or anything would be so useful. I really appreciate all the help guys x
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catoswyn
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(Original post by Jenx301)
Hi guys

has anyone ever applied for disabled students allowance due to mental health? I dont see myself as disabled really but I do have mental health problems which impact my life a lot and have really affected me at college. When I went visit uni they told me in order to receive any support from the mental health team with my work and general stuff in uni like books and photocopying then I would need to be getting the DSA. It might also help me with other stuff which I cant really remember right now, the support team is the main thing.

Im just curious about it really, I had never heard of this properly until the mental health team talked me through it. They helped me fill out a form and my psychiatric nurse has filled out my evidence form (although im not sure she has done it right lol). Apparently I will need to have a needs assessment too.

If anyone has been through the process or is going through this I would love to hear from you.
Its a really good idea to apply for it. Often people with mental health issues get used to coping and making the best of everything and don't like to think about how they are affected. That means not everyone applies for DSA.

The needs assessment will be all about how the illness actually affects you in terms of things you might need help with. So not the illness itself but how it affects functionality. So if you get very tired easily when concentrating on writing or have difficulty concentrating on reading then you can get speech software for your computer for instance. If you have a need for a computer/internet for this type of support then you can get money towards broadband. So you need to make a list of things in terms of functionality. You can even get money to employ a person to support you if you needed that kind of help in planning or getting around daily. So the assessment will be about whether you are able to get around without getting confused or lost, how your illness affects your learning etc.

Do try to tell them everything because it really is useful to have all the help you can get. You can take someone with you to the assessment if you are worried about communicating well. A CPN can be asked to accompany you if you want. Write a list down before you go so you make sure you say everything you want to say. You'll be fine really. It isn't a nasty experience though I know talking to someone new about your illness can sometimes be nerve wracking or upsetting. They will be on your side though and experienced in helping you work out what is needed.

Good luck

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catoswyn
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(Original post by Jenx301)
thank you for replying. I guess in part I was just curious because I didnt realise people could apply to DSA for mental health, I mean, I couldnt see why you would need money.. Now I understand fully what the DSA is and what you can use it for it's more clear but I wondered what other people use theirs for in regards to mental health.

I guess some possible things the unis mental health team said I might need could include:
- money to pay for a support staff from the mental health team
- extra photocopying costs
- money for books
- a voice recorder
- extra print costs

I cant remember anything else but i think those were the main things they mentioned to me. I am also worried firstly that my psychiatric nurse has filled out my evidence not well enough and secondly majorly concerned about my needs assessment. I think I will fail it miserably because of mental health probs which would be ridiculous.

Any experiences or knowledge or anything would be so useful. I really appreciate all the help guys x
I'm sure the CPN has filled it in well enough. All she/he is really asked is to confim that you do suffer from a diagnosed illness, any treatment etc. The next assessment will clarify the details more fully.

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catoswyn
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Hi,

I receive DSA for a diagnosis which was "severe depression with psychotic symptoms" but what is now schizoaffective disorder and PTSD. So I receive DSA for mental health problems. I was a bit sceptical at first when I was told to apply and delayed applying for ages but when I finally handed over the form, I was surprised by how efficient everything was and how much help was available to me. I also didn't really see myself as disabled, so felt reluctant to "take away" from more "disabled" students (or so I felt at the time).

Rest assured that the whole process is painless and very helpful. If you have any specific questions, to feel free to ask. I rather suspect I am the person who River85 has mentioned as providing "a good account from someone who has mental health difficulties". As a result of the DSA assessment (which was done by an absolutely lovely lady who really took the time and effort to understand my needs properly and make recommendations based on that), I get:

- a mentor
- a notetaker
- a dictaphone and microphone
- lecture notes early
- deadline extensions when necessary
- library loan extensions
- a laptop with specific software on it, so that I can work from home if I am too ill to go into uni
- a taxi allowance
- ergonomic stuff for the laptop
- a general allowance for photocopying/printer ink, books, etc.
- a printer and a scanner

There's probably stuff I've forgotten too! Anyway, you can see how extensive and well-thoughtout my assessment was adn all the help I've been given. It's made such a difference to this academic year. By the time everything was in place, I was in my second year and it's been much more successful than the first
This is such a good post for people... may I quote it if people are looking for help in future and you're not on the thread?

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Jenx301
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(Original post by catoswyn)
Its a really good idea to apply for it. Often people with mental health issues get used to coping and making the best of everything and don't like to think about how they are affected. That means not everyone applies for DSA.

The needs assessment will be all about how the illness actually affects you in terms of things you might need help with. So not the illness itself but how it affects functionality. So if you get very tired easily when concentrating on writing or have difficulty concentrating on reading then you can get speech software for your computer for instance. If you have a need for a computer/internet for this type of support then you can get money towards broadband. So you need to make a list of things in terms of functionality. You can even get money to employ a person to support you if you needed that kind of help in planning or getting around daily. So the assessment will be about whether you are able to get around without getting confused or lost, how your illness affects your learning etc.

Do try to tell them everything because it really is useful to have all the help you can get. You can take someone with you to the assessment and are worried about communicating well. A CPN can be asked to accompany you if you want. Write a list down before you go so you make sure you say everything you want. You'll be fine really.

Good luck

Thank you. I filled out my application form and have my mental evidence from my CPN. I don’t know if she really wrote about how it affects me though so im worried she has done it wrong. What if I send it off and get rejected because of that?
It affects me a lot day to day. Partly my attendance although I don’t think that is relevant because the DSA couldn’t help that. Ermm.. I cant stay in busy places like a library at uni to sit and read books or work so the people I spoke to at uni said the DSA could fund photocopying costs (so I could copy lots of pages from books and read them in my room) and printing costs too. Also book costs? Partly so I don’t have to read in library and partly extra books I might need to read on work if I miss lessons or cant concentrate properly. They said because I find it hard in lessons a voice recorder might help?? So if I am not able to concentrate properly and stuff, then I can listen back a few times. I usually need to take things slowly and work through like that otherwise I panic and shut down. I find it hard organising my own work because I look at things and get overwhelmed and end up getting nothing done- at college I have a support worker who splits up my work for me and helps me plan things. I don’t know though, I guess these kind of things help but I want to be more independent when Im at unI!
My basic problems are tired, concentration, being able to use public places, planning, motivation, workload etc. Is this the kind of thing I need to say? I am worried about the assessment because I am awful the first time I meet people… when I first visited the mental health team at my future uni I cried. I know I would find it really hard to talk about my difficulties to someone and if they were not understanding my needs or saying I didn’t need help with something I would just go along with anything. I couldn’t take anyone with me because I would find it even harder to have two people in there with me. I cant even explain why. I am just really worried over it… are the people nice? Do they want to help or just the minimum?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by catoswyn)
This is such a good post for people... may I quote it if people are looking for help in future and you're not on the thread?

Sure


(Original post by Jenx301)
Thank you. I filled out my application form and have my mental evidence from my CPN. I don’t know if she really wrote about how it affects me though so im worried she has done it wrong. What if I send it off and get rejected because of that?
It affects me a lot day to day. Partly my attendance although I don’t think that is relevant because the DSA couldn’t help that. Ermm.. I cant stay in busy places like a library at uni to sit and read books or work so the people I spoke to at uni said the DSA could fund photocopying costs (so I could copy lots of pages from books and read them in my room) and printing costs too. Also book costs? Partly so I don’t have to read in library and partly extra books I might need to read on work if I miss lessons or cant concentrate properly. They said because I find it hard in lessons a voice recorder might help?? So if I am not able to concentrate properly and stuff, then I can listen back a few times. I usually need to take things slowly and work through like that otherwise I panic and shut down. I find it hard organising my own work because I look at things and get overwhelmed and end up getting nothing done- at college I have a support worker who splits up my work for me and helps me plan things. I don’t know though, I guess these kind of things help but I want to be more independent when Im at unI!
My basic problems are tired, concentration, being able to use public places, planning, motivation, workload etc. Is this the kind of thing I need to say? I am worried about the assessment because I am awful the first time I meet people… when I first visited the mental health team at my future uni I cried. I know I would find it really hard to talk about my difficulties to someone and if they were not understanding my needs or saying I didn’t need help with something I would just go along with anything. I couldn’t take anyone with me because I would find it even harder to have two people in there with me. I cant even explain why. I am just really worried over it… are the people nice? Do they want to help or just the minimum?
The assessment people are really nice and trained in how to talk to people with disabilities, so not to upset or disturb them. My assessor was absolutely lovely :love: They genuinely want to help you. I got given some very expensive stuff to help me complete my course.

Maybe you could make some notes and take them along, if you're nervous?

Don't worry about what your CPN wrote. My psychiatrist just literally wrote "this is to confirm that TLG has a diagnosis of severe depression with psychotic symptoms" and then some vague sentence about it affecting my studies, without actually giving much detail at all :nah:
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Jenx301
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thank you for all your help guys...


(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Hi,

I receive DSA for a diagnosis which was "severe depression with psychotic symptoms" but what is now schizoaffective disorder and PTSD. So I receive DSA for mental health problems. I was a bit sceptical at first when I was told to apply and delayed applying for ages but when I finally handed over the form, I was surprised by how efficient everything was and how much help was available to me. I also didn't really see myself as disabled, so felt reluctant to "take away" from more "disabled" students (or so I felt at the time).

Rest assured that the whole process is painless and very helpful. If you have any specific questions, to feel free to ask. I rather suspect I am the person who River85 has mentioned as providing "a good account from someone who has mental health difficulties". As a result of the DSA assessment (which was done by an absolutely lovely lady who really took the time and effort to understand my needs properly and make recommendations based on that), I get:

- a mentor
- a notetaker
- a dictaphone and microphone
- lecture notes early
- deadline extensions when necessary
- library loan extensions
- a laptop with specific software on it, so that I can work from home if I am too ill to go into uni
- a taxi allowance
- ergonomic stuff for the laptop
- a general allowance for photocopying/printer ink, books, etc.
- a printer and a scanner

There's probably stuff I've forgotten too! Anyway, you can see how extensive and well-thoughtout my assessment was adn all the help I've been given. It's made such a difference to this academic year. By the time everything was in place, I was in my second year and it's been much more successful than the first
thats really useful to see the stuff you got.. its good they help you work out whats needed.I usually need someone to go through things step by step and slowly with me...

(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Sure




The assessment people are really nice and trained in how to talk to people with disabilities, so not to upset or disturb them. My assessor was absolutely lovely :love: They genuinely want to help you. I got given some very expensive stuff to help me complete my course.

Maybe you could make some notes and take them along, if you're nervous?

Don't worry about what your CPN wrote. My psychiatrist just literally wrote "this is to confirm that TLG has a diagnosis of severe depression with psychotic symptoms" and then some vague sentence about it affecting my studies, without actually giving much detail at all :nah:
thank you... she wrote me a letter saying like I have been accessing support for over a year and that I attend weekly appts, it says"currently attending weekly appointments to address issues regarding emotional and behavioural dysregulation. Jen acknowledges that she has a history of struggling with anxiety and overwhelming feelings and this has historically impacted on her ability to manage day to day situations" and also "it is my opinion that she may require some level of support" and also "can become easily overwhelmed by anxiety and difficult feelings. Jen has a history of self harm in response to this".

thats pretty much all she wrote about my condition. I dont know if this is okay or not?? and also does it sound like I dont have problems anymore the way she keeps writing "historically"? I think she just means cos ive had problems a long time and they are on going too though.... also "difficult feelings". Hmmm. I dont know if this is just my anxiety going overboard on every detail but iI want it to be right..

thanks again
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catoswyn
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(Original post by Jenx301)
Thank you. I filled out my application form and have my mental evidence from my CPN. I don’t know if she really wrote about how it affects me though so im worried she has done it wrong. What if I send it off and get rejected because of that?
It affects me a lot day to day. Partly my attendance although I don’t think that is relevant because the DSA couldn’t help that. Ermm.. I cant stay in busy places like a library at uni to sit and read books or work so the people I spoke to at uni said the DSA could fund photocopying costs (so I could copy lots of pages from books and read them in my room) and printing costs too. Also book costs? Partly so I don’t have to read in library and partly extra books I might need to read on work if I miss lessons or cant concentrate properly. They said because I find it hard in lessons a voice recorder might help?? So if I am not able to concentrate properly and stuff, then I can listen back a few times. I usually need to take things slowly and work through like that otherwise I panic and shut down. I find it hard organising my own work because I look at things and get overwhelmed and end up getting nothing done- at college I have a support worker who splits up my work for me and helps me plan things. I don’t know though, I guess these kind of things help but I want to be more independent when Im at unI!
My basic problems are tired, concentration, being able to use public places, planning, motivation, workload etc. Is this the kind of thing I need to say? I am worried about the assessment because I am awful the first time I meet people… when I first visited the mental health team at my future uni I cried. I know I would find it really hard to talk about my difficulties to someone and if they were not understanding my needs or saying I didn’t need help with something I would just go along with anything. I couldn’t take anyone with me because I would find it even harder to have two people in there with me. I cant even explain why. I am just really worried over it… are the people nice? Do they want to help or just the minimum?
Oh I really do understand. Talking about difficulties with strangers can be excruciating and very upsetting. I can hear that its stressing you out already. Try not to worry too much. Its absolutely normal to cry or to be nervous. No shame in it at all and the assessor will be experienced and is on your side. No one will be trying to trick you or say you don't need this or that. The main thing is that everyone does want you to have the support you need so as to make university successful and fun for you. However even if it did all go wrong for any reason then you can appeal.

I know you want to be more independant but you don't want to put strain on yourself either. The more support you have with study then the more you'll be able to cope and maybe do new things too. If you find you don't need all the support as time goes on then you don't have to have it. So if you had a mentor/support worker then YOU decide how best to use them and whether to continue with them. If you don't get one in the first place it might be harder to arrange later. So have a think as whether its best to try to get a support worker to start you off at least.

Those are the exact kind of things you need to say.

1. Public place issues. You need to work in your room at lot and research/read there. So some ideas would be: access to internet, a computer of your own as you cannot easily access the public/shared computers, a printer of your own. Extra money for photocopying and to buy your own books, ink/paper allowance.
A support person/mentor to help you when neccesary.

2. Motivation: A support worker or mentor.

3. Tiredness/concentration issues: extension times for essays/course work/extra time in exams/use of a word processor in exams if your handwriting speed is affected/ early lecture notes in advance/lecture notes to be provided (can all be arranged with the university themselves). A recorder for lectures which you can use or give to a friend at times when you may not be able to attend. Voice recognition software and reading programmes for your computer so you can listen to text rather than have to read it all.

Everything on the list the person above posted.

4. Course specific help... depends what you are studying really.

These are just ideas and you may have some of your own or work out some more with your assessor. Don't forget if you don't want or aren't allocated a support worker then the university itself will have some help available in their access centre to help plan and sort out work with you.

You're going to be fine. Honestly. The fact you've got this far speaks volumes for how brave and determined you are to my mind and the assessment will be fine.

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catoswyn
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(Original post by Jenx301)
thank you for all your help guys...



thats really useful to see the stuff you got.. its good they help you work out whats needed.I usually need someone to go through things step by step and slowly with me...



thank you... she wrote me a letter saying like I have been accessing support for over a year and that I attend weekly appts, it says"currently attending weekly appointments to address issues regarding emotional and behavioural dysregulation. Jen acknowledges that she has a history of struggling with anxiety and overwhelming feelings and this has historically impacted on her ability to manage day to day situations" and also "it is my opinion that she may require some level of support" and also "can become easily overwhelmed by anxiety and difficult feelings. Jen has a history of self harm in response to this".

thats pretty much all she wrote about my condition. I dont know if this is okay or not?? and also does it sound like I dont have problems anymore the way she keeps writing "historically"? I think she just means cos ive had problems a long time and they are on going too though.... also "difficult feelings". Hmmm. I dont know if this is just my anxiety going overboard on every detail but iI want it to be right..

thanks again
I think historically in this context means 'over a period of time' rather than 'in the past and over now'. Honestly she is not expected to be the expert on your educational needs.. that isn't her field otherwise she'd do the assessment herself. Her job is just to outline the diagnosis and history which she has done well. It'll be fine.

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Jenx301
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(Original post by catoswyn)
Oh I really do understand. Talking about difficulties with strangers can be excruciating and very upsetting. I can hear that its stressing you out already. Try not to worry too much. Its absolutely normal to cry or to be nervous. No shame in it at all and the assessor will be experienced and is on your side. No one will be trying to trick you or say you don't need this or that. The main thing is that everyone does want you to have the support you need so as to make university successful and fun for you. However even if it did all go wrong for any reason then you can appeal.

I know you want to be more independant but you don't want to put strain on yourself either. The more support you have with study then the more you'll be able to cope and maybe do new things too. If you find you don't need all the support as time goes on then you don't have to have it. So if you had a mentor/support worker then YOU decide how best to use them and whether to continue with them. If you don't get one in the first place it might be harder to arrange later. So have a think as whether its best to try to get a support worker to start you off at least.

Those are the exact kind of things you need to say.

1. Public place issues. You need to work in your room at lot and research/read there. So some ideas would be: access to internet, a computer of your own as you cannot easily access the public/shared computers, a printer of your own. Extra money for photocopying and to buy your own books, ink/paper allowance.
A support person/mentor to help you when neccesary.

2. Motivation: A support worker or mentor.

3. Tiredness/concentration issues: extension times for essays/course work/extra time in exams/use of a word processor in exams if your handwriting speed is affected/ early lecture notes in advance/lecture notes to be provided (can all be arranged with the university themselves). A recorder for lectures which you can use or give to a friend at times when you may not be able to attend. Voice recognition software and reading programmes for your computer so you can listen to text rather than have to read it all.

Everything on the list the person above posted.

4. Course specific help... depends what you are studying really.

These are just ideas and you may have some of your own. Don't forget if you don't want or aren't allocated a support worker then the university itself will have some help available in their access centre to help plan and sort out work with you.

You're going to be fine. Honestly. The fact you've got this far speaks volumes for how brave and determined you are to my mind.

thank you, you've been such a big help! Do I need to suggest what I need myself? Or is it ok for me to jsut try and explain my problems and let them decide. I would really struggle asking or even suggesting things that I'd like to help.
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catoswyn
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(Original post by Jenx301)
thank you, you've been such a big help! Do I need to suggest what I need myself? Or is it ok for me to jsut try and explain my problems and let them decide. I would really struggle asking or even suggesting things that I'd like to help.
The assessor will do all the work and make suggestions. It is not up to you to know what you want in advance.

However you could write down the ideas people have suggested here so if you think she hasn't mentioned something you would like then you can say that friends have said this might be available and helpful to you and she can say what she thinks. If you can't manage that then don't worry. Its more than likely she will cover everything herself and you won't have to mention anything in particular. Its more just a back up idea for you to take the list along but not if it just makes you feel more anxious!



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17.06%
It might lead to more bullying (74)
35.07%
There's nothing they could do (65)
30.81%

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