Before starting university in 2015, one of my biggest concerns was contacting the Disability Service. At school I had been supported due to my diagnosis of ASD, but I was worried about how this support would transfer to university. I was also worried that disclosing my disability would limit my options as a student and give me a ‘label’. However, this could never have been further than the truth
The Disability Service at Dundee University is an amazing service that offers a range of support that can be tailored to your individual needs, to ensure that all students reach their full potential while at university, despite any difficulties they may face. The support on offer is accessible for students with both physical and mental health needs, including physical difficulties such as an inability to access buildings, open heavy doors, or climb stairs in lecture theatres. Also, learning impairments such as mental health issues, vision impairments, hearing difficulties, and processing delays, all of which act as barriers to many learners, can be supported.
The first step for accessing help with the Disability Service is to arrange an appointment for an assessment. This can be done online, by a phone call, or making an appointment directly with the receptionist at the Service on campus. This is to allow the the service to identify your particular requirements and the ways that you can be best supported while at university.
In some cases, you may need to provide the disability service with proof of your disability. This could be in the form of a letter from school or from a recognised practitioner such as a doctor. Alternatively, a member of the DSA (Disability Student Allowance) may come to assess your needs.
After your assessment, the disability advisers will have gained a much clearer understanding of your struggles and therefore will be able to offer you the most appropriate support based on your needs.
Alternative accommodations can be arranged by the disability service in order to make your experience at university more accessible. These may include-
A microphone to record lectures during sensory overload. This can support students who struggle with processing.
An online programme to record notes.
Study skill support.
Extra time during exams.
Access to a keyboard.
Meetings with a regular support mentor to manage workloads. (Personally, this adjustment has been the most helpful for me)
Meetings with the disability service are confidential, and kept strictly between you and your adviser. Only information you agree to disclose is shared with lectures and other academic staff, so that they can become aware of your additional needs.
Registering with the disability service early in my first year at university was one of the best things I ever did. It meant that I had a support plan in place throughout my studies. If I ever reach a ‘crisis’ at university, I know I that the Disability Service are there to help 🙂