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    Hiya, I have anxiety and have been accepted to get help with the DSA. My needs assessment is super soon and I'm just stressing out and overthinking it all. I've tried finding some sort of discussion online that can talk me through what would happen during the assessment to calm my nerves a bit but there's been no luck (unless I'm looking in the wrong place haha). Would someone be able to tell me what exactly happens and maybe if you have been to one for your anxiety, what they asked and did etc?
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    (Original post by purrpale)
    Hiya, I have anxiety and have been accepted to get help with the DSA. My needs assessment is super soon and I'm just stressing out and overthinking it all. I've tried finding some sort of discussion online that can talk me through what would happen during the assessment to calm my nerves a bit but there's been no luck (unless I'm looking in the wrong place haha). Would someone be able to tell me what exactly happens and maybe if you have been to one for your anxiety, what they asked and did etc?
    I don't have anxiety; but:
    It's a chat. They're not trying to catch you out on anything. They're trying to get a better picture of what your study needs are. It will, if needed, give you a chance to try out any equipment recommended to you.
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    (Original post by purrpale)
    Hiya, I have anxiety and have been accepted to get help with the DSA. My needs assessment is super soon and I'm just stressing out and overthinking it all. I've tried finding some sort of discussion online that can talk me through what would happen during the assessment to calm my nerves a bit but there's been no luck (unless I'm looking in the wrong place haha). Would someone be able to tell me what exactly happens and maybe if you have been to one for your anxiety, what they asked and did etc?
    Hi,

    I don't have anxiety but I have had two DSA assessments (one for each of my postgraduate degrees) for a mental health condition. I was really nervous before my first assessment too because it was a bit of an unknown entity! As has been said though, it's very much a chat and so there's nothing to fear at all! (I appreciate though that it's hard to believe that until you've been through the assessment yourself.)

    The assessment usually lasts around 2 hours in my experience. That sounds really long but it's because it's really thorough, in order to give you the best support package possible and to ensure that you will get all the necessary help to help level the playing field between you and other students at your uni who do not have anxiety or any other kind of mental health issue. They will ask you lots of questions about how your anxiety impacts upon your ability to study, either how it's done this in the past or how you think it could affect you in the future.

    The assessors are experienced in what they are doing and tailoring potential support packages to each student's individual needs. The two assessors I've had were really friendly and completely understood that I was nervous about the process. In my first one, I was very ill and in an psychotic episode at the time, so I brought a friend with me and asked the assessor for some paper and a pen so I could doodle whilst she asked me questions So try not to be afraid or be shy, and talk about any concerns or worries you have with the assessor.

    What you might get offered really depends on how your anxiety affects you - it really is a very individual thing! But to give you an idea of some of the things I was offered for my mental health issues (psychosis, in my case), let me list some of the things I was offered either:

    - A laptop with all the necessary software I would need for my course, and a printer-scanner (so that I could work at home very easily if I couldn't get to uni, due to being in an episode - I was/am living at home for my postgrad courses)

    - A taxi allowance in case I couldn't use public transport to get to uni

    - A notetaker for my Masters lectures, in case I couldn't go in/had to leave lectures early due to illness, or in case I couldn't concentrate

    - A dictaphone so I could record lectures/meetings with my PhD supervisor, in case I couldn't concentrate

    - Additional software such as text-to-speech software and specialist dictaphone software

    Whilst all this stuff was/has been useful, the most important thing for me by far has been the fact that my funding body (SFE) pays for me to have regular access to a specialist mental health mentor, provided via the uni's disability service. This is someone who is trained to work with mentally ill students and who can help with study skills, as well as acting as a liason between myself and the disability service, and myself and my tutors. (One time my mentor phoned up my psychiatrist's secretary too, so they can do stuff like that too if they feel comfortable doing so.)

    As part of the assessment you will be asked at various points whether X, Y or Z would feel helpful for you to have. It's very much a joint process of figuring out the support package together. You will be able to turn down things you don't feel will help you.

    I hope you find this post helpful and that it puts you at ease a little
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    Huh, well that's totally different to my assessment. I think mine took like...half an hour? 40 mins tops :s

    They pretty much were like "hey, what ails you bro" and I explained my various problems, then they said "cool we'll fix you up with a recorder for lectures and some software to use with the recordings, plus training for that, also you can go to the mentoring service" - then never actually did the former. Oh well.

    It's not an assessment as in, an exam that you can fail - it's like a medical assessment (well, almost). They just need to find out what your specific needs are so they can think about what they can do to assist with that. They aren't going to turn around and say "no you aren't disabled enough go away". Depending on your needs they may not be able to implement something immediately though, although usually counselling/mentoring things seemed to get arranged fairly quickly at my uni (technology stuff...not so much).
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    Hi,

    I don't have anxiety but I have had two DSA assessments (one for each of my postgraduate degrees) for a mental health condition. I was really nervous before my first assessment too because it was a bit of an unknown entity! As has been said though, it's very much a chat and so there's nothing to fear at all! (I appreciate though that it's hard to believe that until you've been through the assessment yourself.)

    The assessment usually lasts around 2 hours in my experience. That sounds really long but it's because it's really thorough, in order to give you the best support package possible and to ensure that you will get all the necessary help to help level the playing field between you and other students at your uni who do not have anxiety or any other kind of mental health issue. They will ask you lots of questions about how your anxiety impacts upon your ability to study, either how it's done this in the past or how you think it could affect you in the future.

    The assessors are experienced in what they are doing and tailoring potential support packages to each student's individual needs. The two assessors I've had were really friendly and completely understood that I was nervous about the process. In my first one, I was very ill and in an psychotic episode at the time, so I brought a friend with me and asked the assessor for some paper and a pen so I could doodle whilst she asked me questions So try not to be afraid or be shy, and talk about any concerns or worries you have with the assessor.

    What you might get offered really depends on how your anxiety affects you - it really is a very individual thing! But to give you an idea of some of the things I was offered for my mental health issues (psychosis, in my case), let me list some of the things I was offered either:

    - A laptop with all the necessary software I would need for my course, and a printer-scanner (so that I could work at home very easily if I couldn't get to uni, due to being in an episode - I was/am living at home for my postgrad courses)

    - A taxi allowance in case I couldn't use public transport to get to uni

    - A notetaker for my Masters lectures, in case I couldn't go in/had to leave lectures early due to illness, or in case I couldn't concentrate

    - A dictaphone so I could record lectures/meetings with my PhD supervisor, in case I couldn't concentrate

    - Additional software such as text-to-speech software and specialist dictaphone software

    Whilst all this stuff was/has been useful, the most important thing for me by far has been the fact that my funding body (SFE) pays for me to have regular access to a specialist mental health mentor, provided via the uni's disability service. This is someone who is trained to work with mentally ill students and who can help with study skills, as well as acting as a liason between myself and the disability service, and myself and my tutors. (One time my mentor phoned up my psychiatrist's secretary too, so they can do stuff like that too if they feel comfortable doing so.)

    As part of the assessment you will be asked at various points whether X, Y or Z would feel helpful for you to have. It's very much a joint process of figuring out the support package together. You will be able to turn down things you don't feel will help you.

    I hope you find this post helpful and that it puts you at ease a little
    Thank you! I've just came back from my assessment and I got all the same that you stated apart from the taxi allowance which I wish I could've included but ah well!

    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Huh, well that's totally different to my assessment. I think mine took like...half an hour? 40 mins tops :s

    They pretty much were like "hey, what ails you bro" and I explained my various problems, then they said "cool we'll fix you up with a recorder for lectures and some software to use with the recordings, plus training for that, also you can go to the mentoring service" - then never actually did the former. Oh well.

    It's not an assessment as in, an exam that you can fail - it's like a medical assessment (well, almost). They just need to find out what your specific needs are so they can think about what they can do to assist with that. They aren't going to turn around and say "no you aren't disabled enough go away". Depending on your needs they may not be able to implement something immediately though, although usually counselling/mentoring things seemed to get arranged fairly quickly at my uni (technology stuff...not so much).
    Thank you so much! It literally was nothing to worry about, I don't understand why I was stressing haha
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    Hey,
    I suffer with anxiety too and was super nervous before my assessment.
    It is more of a chat.
    The assessor asks what you struggle with and have a generic chat about what sort of things you would benefit from and they ask if you think it would help and can suggest things, they can show you demo's of software if that is relevant to you too. But it didn't work at my assessment as they had recently changed to the building.

    But just explain to them that you are anxious and honestly it isn't as bad as you think it will be. I was there for about 1.5 hours and it went so quickly.
 
 
 
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