The Student Room Group
Kingston University
Kingston University
Kingston upon Thames

My experience of Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) as a Kingston University’s student

I am a first-year Mental Health Nursing Student with a previous degree in Psychology from Kingston University. I got my ADHD diagnosis in 2021 and my dyslexia, and dyspraxia diagnosis in 2020 (by mistake because I wrongly understood that educational psychologists diagnose ADHD).

I wanted to share my experience of DSA as it is something that a lot of people do not know about. DSA is a scheme you can apply to if you study at higher education and have a disability.

Often, I am asked if they give you money and the answer is no. However, you might get equipment to help you with your studies. It is important to note that the equipment should be needed specifically for your studies and not for general activities. In my own words, something that will make your life easier for example a stair lift is not equipment DSA provides. As you would have needed it anyway regardless of if you were a student or not.

The process is as follows:
1. Log in to your student finance account and apply for DSA.
2. Upload evidence to your application.
3. Wait for the evidence to be approved and book an assessment.
4. Attend the assessment and wait for the outcome.

I believe the whole process took around five months. So I would advise everyone to apply early. My equipment assessment was remote. I was shown the equipment (software) through short videos and had to decide which ones I wanted to apply for. The assessor wrote a report that was sent to the DSA team who approved or declined items. I was extremely lucky and everything that I applied for was approved.

Getting a dyslexia and dyspraxia diagnosis as an adult

The disability team at Kingston University helped me get the assessment with an educational psychologist. The assessment was funded by Student Finance England. The whole process took around two months. The team was very helpful to me through the whole process and when I was applying for DSA.

The assessment itself took one and half hours and consisted of me doing reading and memory tasks while being observed. The educational psychologist was very kind, and it did not feel like a typical assessment.

After I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia I applied for DSA and got:
1. Printer and ink allowance per year (if I spend up to 180 on printing ink, I get a refund after sending invoices).
2. Dragon software that you dictate to, and it writes down the text. It takes a long time to get used to your voice but once it does it is very intuitive to use.
3. Read and Write - a software that reads things for me. I like specifically the screenshot tool as not all text is selectable for read-aloud software.
4. A laptop because mine could not support the equipment. I paid £200 for it but was refunded by the university.
5. Study skills with a qualified skills tutor once a week.

However, what you get as part of DSA is decided case by case and I just sharing my experience on what I received.

After my ADHD diagnosis, I received mentoring for one hour per week. The mentor is a qualified counsellor who helps you with matters to do with your studies. You can also receive mentoring for mental health problems.

Please feel free to ask any questions

Hristiana (Kingston rep)
(edited 1 month ago)

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