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Hi, I am Melanie, ask me questions about being a disabled student now

melaniethorleymelaniethorley Posts: 73Volunteer community advisor Courageous

Hello, my name is Melanie and I am a disability outreach officer for a university. My work involves preparing disabled (includes dyslexia and autism spectrums; long term health conditions; and mental health difficulties) students with their transition from school or college into university. University can be a scary thought for the majority of students and disabled students can prepare for the realities of higher education if they are given realistic information. I can answer questions such as :

What are the Disabled Students Allowances (DSA)?

When should I apply for DSA?

What sort of support can I get at university?

Should I tell the university about me disability?

Can I have extra time in exams?


  • jobshunt567jobshunt567 Posts: 3Member Listener
    hi there my name is brad and i am 16 years old i also have dyspraxia i am seeking jobs but when i ask for them no jobs will accept me i wonder is that because of my dyspraxia 
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Posts: 73Volunteer community advisor Courageous
    Hi Brad and thanks for the question. You would be better asking an employment advisor rather than me as I only know about accessing college and university. I do know that it is not legal to give somebody a job because they have dyspraxia.
  • MaiaB123MaiaB123 Posts: 6Member Listener
    Hello Melanie, my daughter recently started college, it's a post 16 placement at an Independent specialist college for the visually impaired, my daughter is sight, hearing and touch impaired, she will be 17 in April, is she entitled to DSA and can she get extra time in exams?  a consultant recommended the extra time for exams, but it has been ignored thus far.  Thank you. 
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Posts: 73Volunteer community advisor Courageous
    Good afternoon Maia and thank you for your query. The DSA is only for higher education courses recognised by Student Finanace England (SFE). However, if a consultant has recommended extra time in exams, the college is being churlish by not providing this. You might want to explain to the staff that extra time in your daughter's exams is likely to produce better grades, and therefore making the college look successful. If she is going onto higher education in 18 months, it would be a good idea to start looking now. Let me know if I can help further and good luck in getting this sorted.
  • MaiaB123MaiaB123 Posts: 6Member Listener
    Thank you Melanie :-) We're assuming that she will attend the same VI college, as you can attend until 25.  However our LA might object and try to put the blocks in regarding this.  We have a place currently until she is 19, but she is playing catch up.  She was never taught in a way she could learn until September last year.  Kind regards, Maia.
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Posts: 73Volunteer community advisor Courageous

    Good afternoon Maia and apologies for the delay in replying. It would be cruel for the LA to send her elsewhere, especially as she has only been given the opportunity to learn since last Septmber. I hope it all goes well. in the meantime, she can join our transition scheme (even though she might not be going anywhere) which prepares disabled students for HE. More info and the link can be found at www.gre.ac.uk/aap.

    Best wishes


  • DominiqueDominique Posts: 16Member Connected
    Hi Melanie, please can you tell me how long it takes for your DSA assessor to visit from when you've applied, and from then how long does it take to come through? 
    • Thanks, Dominique
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Posts: 73Volunteer community advisor Courageous


    Good morning Dominique. I think it depends on where you live and availability of assessors. I have copied the link to the needs assessors. If you contact them, they should be able to give you an estimate.

    hope this helps


  • DasiydoDasiydo Posts: 94Member Courageous
     I don't think you can help I think return back to college but as well dyspraxia I now half deaf I want free Crouse I fed up paid active I doing I paid £58 for 2 hours do cooking which I enjoyed and my computer was £2.25 then lost AOl connect and now £8.70 plus 50p for card. I study brush up English Crouse at Cannock college but in ten week Cannock college close down pass English assistant but fail the exam. I be back to Stafford college Stafford libbary and new wolerhamption university in Stafford if run English Crouse level 2 and all said no Now feeling lost could be lose my ESA if don't find volunteering job or Crouse. Have find some Staffordshire with Animals but it farm recovery for mealth health only promble I bully because of half deaf and can't get rid of this person.
  • DasiydoDasiydo Posts: 94Member Courageous
    If do return back to college would be able have etex time in Exam would be able get support for college?
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Posts: 73Volunteer community advisor Courageous

    Good morning Daisy. It does sound like you are having a difficult time. I would suggest you make an appointment at your local JobCentrePlus - they have advisors for disabled people and can assist with sourcing courses or training.  They may be able to source free courses as well, or can sort out funding with you.

    You could also try and see the SENCO or Additional Learning Support people at your local college for their advice

    Also, you need to let the organisers who sorted out your placement with the animals - they would not like to hear you have been bullied, especially as the place is for people with mental health difficulties.

    I hope this helps


  • DasiydoDasiydo Posts: 94Member Courageous
    Thanks you sorry for not get back to you but I had cold and I had cannel the holiday 
  • ChuppachupsChuppachups Posts: 10Member Connected
    Hi Melanie
    Can I please ask for some advice?
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Posts: 73Volunteer community advisor Courageous
    Of course Chuppachups - Hopefully I can point you in the right direction

  • jordankjordank Posts: 1Member Listener
    Hi, I have mental health problems and I am on ESA, pip, housing benefit and council tax support. I am about to start college and looking for financial advice on tuition fees and day to day costs? Thank you. 
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Posts: 73Volunteer community advisor Courageous
    Good morning @Jordank and thank you for your query. there will be finance people at the college and your local council. You might also find Mind, or a similar organisation, can point you in the right direction. And as always, scope and DisabilityRightsUK have information on this. Good luck in your studies - what subject will you be studying?
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