How changes to DSA will impact students
Yesterday’s DSA Student
- I have to work harder than non-disabled students which means I rely more on university support and have to spend more time working at home too.
- I received fantastic support to help me overcome the challenges of my disability and some of the restrictions caused by this extra work.
- I had my needs assessed and a personalised package of solutions was identified which meant I got help with:
- a laptop with specialist technologies specifically chosen to support my needs, all installed and ready to go.
- a digital voice recorder which helped me record lectures and seminars.
- a printer/ scanner helped me work more easily at home and avoid noisy university libraries.
- a trainer came to teach me about the specialist software and make sure I knew how it can help me deal with the impacts of my disability.
- a study skills worker helped me understand which coping strategies would help me overcome my difficulties, I missed a couple of sessions because my disability affects organisation but they were always able to help me improve and make sure I’m ready for work.
- I finished uni with a degree in Materials Science, I now work at Rolls-Royce on their engineering team. I get a lot of money taken off my payslip in tax but I think about the support I had and understand where it goes to.
Today’s DSA Student
- I have to work harder than non-disabled students too but my university doesn’t support me as much as my friends’ uni support him and we have the same disability, they say it’s because they spend the money in different ways but this doesn’t help me.
- I received support too, but I had to pay £200 to access the system and get the laptop, my friend didn’t pay this, but he’s at that other university
- I had a personalised needs assessments too, but I couldn’t get some of the stuff I need:
- the software I normally use I couldn’t get, even though I paid £200, and I got cheaper software I’ve never seen before, and I’m slow using it, I felt I was running fast sometimes just to stand still.
- I couldn’t get a recorder either, they wanted me to use my phone, but I don’t have the memory on the phone to store all these recordings and the battery kept running out.
- Neither did I get a printer/scanner so I can’t do course work as much and feel I’m not productive sometimes; they said I should go to the library more, but I live away from uni and travel is difficult.
- A trainer came to teach me and I was hoping this other software was similar to the type I’m normally used to using, but it wasn’t. I ran out of time with the trainer and it was so difficult getting more hours that I thought I’d just stick with the little I know. SFE said I would have to pay for any sessions I missed which scared me out of going ahead and asking for more help.
- I had a study skills worker too, he was very good, but after I missed a couple of sessions they said I had to fill in lots of forms and I didn’t really understand what I needed to do, in what order and when and to whom. I ended up not taking any more help which stopped me getting employment ready.
- I finished uni too, I finished in the second year because it was too much so I never got a degree. I’m not sure what I want to do, I should have spent that £200 on an online learning course. I’m working at a local shop until I figure out what to do next. At least I don’t pay a lot of tax on my payslip but I could do with earning more.
Examples provided by Chris Quickfall of eQuality Learning.