The Student Room Group

Disability student allowance

I suffer from chronic anxiety. In few days I have an appointment. They said the appointment is to find the best form of help for me.

Does anyone have experience with it and can advise what I can expect and what kind of support DSA can provide for anxiety?
Original post by JustynaAnna
I suffer from chronic anxiety. In few days I have an appointment. They said the appointment is to find the best form of help for me.
Does anyone have experience with it and can advise what I can expect and what kind of support DSA can provide for anxiety?

Nah not really as you will need to tell them whats going on for you.

Am I right in assuming you've been approved with SFE and its now with study tech or t'other one?
Hiya,

I don't have anxiety (I have schizoaffective disorder, so a different mental health condition!) so I can't say for definite. The principle behind DSA assessments for mental health conditions used to be to find out how your mental health condition affects/impacts/limits your ability to study, and then to set you up with a support package that enables you to work effectively from home (for the days where you can't go in, due to your mental health being too bad).

I had my assessment several years ago, so things have probably changed. But in case it helps to have an idea, I was given the following:

Laptop and printer-scanner-photocopier
Course-specific software on the laptop, plus things like text-to-speech and mind-mapping software
A taxi allowance for the year (from my accommodation - I live with my parents - to uni and back)
A dictaphone and associated laptop software
Weekly access to a specialist mental health mentor, provided by the uni
A notetaker for my lectures (when I was a Masters student. I didn't have DSA for undergrad!)

By far, the most useful thing for me has been having the access to the specialist mental health mentor. This is someone you meet regularly, who can help you plan your study time, help with motivation/accountability, and liaise between you and the uni disability office.

I don't know if DSA still offers all these things for mental health. Just be as honest and detailed as you can be about how your mental health affects you. It's a more gentle and holistic process than government benefit applications, in case that's what might be worrying you!
Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd
Hiya,
I don't have anxiety (I have schizoaffective disorder, so a different mental health condition!) so I can't say for definite. The principle behind DSA assessments for mental health conditions used to be to find out how your mental health condition affects/impacts/limits your ability to study, and then to set you up with a support package that enables you to work effectively from home (for the days where you can't go in, due to your mental health being too bad).
I had my assessment several years ago, so things have probably changed. But in case it helps to have an idea, I was given the following:
Laptop and printer-scanner-photocopier
Course-specific software on the laptop, plus things like text-to-speech and mind-mapping software
A taxi allowance for the year (from my accommodation - I live with my parents - to uni and back)
A dictaphone and associated laptop software
Weekly access to a specialist mental health mentor, provided by the uni
A notetaker for my lectures (when I was a Masters student. I didn't have DSA for undergrad!)
By far, the most useful thing for me has been having the access to the specialist mental health mentor. This is someone you meet regularly, who can help you plan your study time, help with motivation/accountability, and liaise between you and the uni disability office.
I don't know if DSA still offers all these things for mental health. Just be as honest and detailed as you can be about how your mental health affects you. It's a more gentle and holistic process than government benefit applications, in case that's what might be worrying you!

you got an amenues whatever its called?! the dream! its more software now
Original post by wanga_wanga
you got an amenues whatever its called?! the dream! its more software now

You mean an amanuensis? Not for any exams or anything - just someone who would make their own notes during my lectures and then hand them to me afterwards (or via email via the notetaker company, if I wasn't physically at the lecture myself) 🙂 A shame if they no longer offer that to students :frown:
Reply 5
Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd
Hiya,
I don't have anxiety (I have schizoaffective disorder, so a different mental health condition!) so I can't say for definite. The principle behind DSA assessments for mental health conditions used to be to find out how your mental health condition affects/impacts/limits your ability to study, and then to set you up with a support package that enables you to work effectively from home (for the days where you can't go in, due to your mental health being too bad).
I had my assessment several years ago, so things have probably changed. But in case it helps to have an idea, I was given the following:
Laptop and printer-scanner-photocopier
Course-specific software on the laptop, plus things like text-to-speech and mind-mapping software
A taxi allowance for the year (from my accommodation - I live with my parents - to uni and back)
A dictaphone and associated laptop software
Weekly access to a specialist mental health mentor, provided by the uni
A notetaker for my lectures (when I was a Masters student. I didn't have DSA for undergrad!)
By far, the most useful thing for me has been having the access to the specialist mental health mentor. This is someone you meet regularly, who can help you plan your study time, help with motivation/accountability, and liaise between you and the uni disability office.
I don't know if DSA still offers all these things for mental health. Just be as honest and detailed as you can be about how your mental health affects you. It's a more gentle and holistic process than government benefit applications, in case that's what might be worrying you!

Thank you so much ☺️ your comment is very helpful ☺️and made everything clearer
Original post by JustynaAnna
Thank you so much ☺️ your comment is very helpful ☺️and made everything clearer

You're so welcome! :h:
Original post by JustynaAnna
I suffer from chronic anxiety. In few days I have an appointment. They said the appointment is to find the best form of help for me.
Does anyone have experience with it and can advise what I can expect and what kind of support DSA can provide for anxiety?


I think I can answer this a bit better now.

I stand by my first answer in part as they'll have to discuss with you how this manifests for you and how it impacts on the domains of learning. How your disorder may influence them, but the scope is limited and you dont have much choice in whats coming.

Something I picked up on which seems fair on reflection but challenging at the time is the comparisons made to "other" students. In that what is a reasonable expectation for any student. My assessor was lovely. Its not really an assessment per se, you're getting something either way. Bare in mind its likely to be a one off assessment too, so if you dont need it yet but will in the next year, keep schtum.

The best example being a laptop. The £200 contribution is because its a reasonable expectation that anyone on your course will have to buy one. It is a net benefit though. I think there are 2 or 3 levels of laptop that basically get smaller/lighter the days of macbook pros are over though. you cant pay to upgrade your laptop if you are able and willing with the original money knocked off. So if its £500 laptop, you pay £200 they have granted £300.

My experience and not ever having any input before seemed to be that its a little "off the peg", I sort of get it but you can have what they have. They will ONLY assess you for what you have sent in too. if you have a bad back say, its tough, thats not a common symptom of social anxiety so its a you problem, if you do have medical evidence for this then get it sent it ASAP using this:

https://media.slc.co.uk/sfe/1920/ft/sfe_dsa_disability_evidence_form_1920_o.pdf

So if they assess you as needing a laptop you'll likely get the basic model that they will supply its not dreadful in terms of spec, its an 8gb RAM laptop. Many computer geeks will chime in here, but again its more than adequate to run a uni course. If you are doing computer science it will be expected of all those student that they need a high spec system.

The benefit is you get full microsoft 365 and all the jazz (most unis license this anyway), its insured and serviceable by them for the full duration of your studies and remains yours after.

You'll get a printer scanner thing, this is where I said I don't think I have printed anything in months and was ignored.

You may get headphones but its a choice of 3 around £60 in value. You can request specific stuff but its unlikely SFE will grant it. Yeah actually, so, this "assessment" is sent back to sfe for grant approval on costing before anything actually happens. The assessing company obviously have a contract with sfe (or whoever yours is) but they go back and ask for the money, so Im sure there's an unsaid "keep it as low as possible" conversation somewhere.

As said above you'll be offered mentors/study skills people for x amount of hours per year, you cannot trade this back for anything you may find beneficial as you are in a new domain of learning now. For example, you may have a psychiatrist/psychologist and they'll still offer you 1-1 with a random student mentor (from a specific company of course) you cant say, well I already have this can I have better headphones for example.

You may get some help with travel but it will be specific, if you get a significant remote component you probably wont but it will depend on again how your issues manifest but it will only get you to and from uni.

Then its pretty much just software to be added on to your laptop for presentations, note taking, journal reviews etc I can tell you specifically what was offered to me if you like but Ive realised Im rambling on for about 20 minutes here

Hope you have a good experience

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