Support available for students with disabilities
What support is available for students with disabilities?
The Student Wellbeing Team work with students who have declared a disability, at the earliest opportunity, to develop a personalised plan of recommended support. The earlier a student contacts the team to discuss the support available the better as this allows the team to ensure the student knows about Disabled Student's Allowance and how to apply for it. Support available for disabled students includes human support, assistive software, and appropriate adjustments to teaching and assessments. The Student Wellbeing Team also provides lots of helpful information and advice on services and resources outside of the University, as well as encouraging students to maximise their wellbeing through the Love Your Mind Campaign.
Get Ahead Event for students with disabilities
Get Ahead is a two day event coordinated by the Student Wellbeing Team, which takes place in September, just before the start of the academic year. The event is for any student who has a disability, long term health condition, specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia), an autistic spectrum disorder or mental illness, and aims to offer the student the best possible start to their studies at the University of Derby. It provides opportunities for students to become familiar with the University and the local area, move into Halls early, meet academic and support staff, enroll early and ensure support is organised for the start of their course.
The Disability Co-ordinator
All Schools and Departments have a Disability Co-ordinator. They share generic duties but also have School/Department specific duties. Some of the duties include:
- Having a good understanding of their department in order to represent its views and requirements
- Be active in training and development offered by the Disability Co-ordinators Group and disseminate this
- Have enough influence to embed outcomes within their own department
- Acting as the contact person for students/staff around issues relating to disability
- Co-ordinating information relating to disability across School/Department
- Co-ordinating the provision of information and equipment relating to School/Department specific activities
- Attending the Disability Co-ordinator group meetings once a month
- Raising awareness of the University services available to students with disabilities
- Establishing and maintaining networks within the University to exchange information and share good practice
Disabled Students' Officer
Someone elected by the student body to represent the needs of all students who class themselves as having a disability. They are part of the student Union and currently there is a Disabled Students Campaign in place to represent and support those students who consider themselves to have a disability. Previous officers have campaigned on subjects such as changing attitudes towards disabilities, access needs throughout the University and more disabled friendly student social activities.
What Financial Support is available to students with disabilities?
Disabled students could be eligible for Disabled Student's Allowance (DSA). These are grants to help cover the extra course costs students might face because of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty.
For example, DSAs can help pay for:
- Specialist equipment required for studying like computer software
- Non-medical helpers, such as a note-taker or reader
- Extra travel costs a student has to pay because of his/her disability
- Other costs such as photocopying or printer cartridges
DSAs are available for students studying part time or full time and there is no age limit. The amount students receive is based upon the amount of support they require, not their household income. DSA's are paid on top of the standard student finance package, or on their own. The student does not have to pay DSA's back and they are not counted as income when working out whether a student gets benefits or Tax Credits.
How to apply for DSA
It is important that students start their application for DSA as soon as they can as the process might take some time. If a student is unsure of the process or needs help completing their application, they can contact the Student Wellbeing Team, where a member of staff can help them through the application process.
- A student applies for DSA to Student Finance England, making sure they include evidence of their disability. Examples of this may include: a recent Doctor's letter/hospital report, a recent audiogram report, a registration card (for visually impaired students).
- Once the eligibility for DSA is confirmed, the student will receive a letter asking them to have a DSA Study Needs Assessment. At this time the Assessor will discuss how study can be made more accessible to the student and identify the support and equipment required. The University of Derby has an accredited Assessment Centre and therefore the Study Needs Assessment can be carried out at the University, in order to ensure that support is in place when the student begins his/her studies. Following the assessment, recommendations will be made to the funding body who then confirm to the student in writing what they will fund.