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

melaniethorleymelaniethorley Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering

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?

Replies

  • jobshunt567jobshunt567 Member Posts: 3 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 Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering
    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 Member Posts: 6 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 Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering
    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 Member Posts: 6 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 Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering

    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

    Melanie



  • DominiqueDominique Member Posts: 16 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 Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering

    https://www.nnac.org/

    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

    melanie



  • DasiydoDasiydo Member Posts: 94 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.
    V.shaw
  • DasiydoDasiydo Member Posts: 94 Courageous
    If do return back to college would be able have etex time in Exam would be able get support for college?
    V.shaw
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering

    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

    Melanie




  • DasiydoDasiydo Member Posts: 94 Courageous
    Thanks you sorry for not get back to you but I had cold and I had cannel the holiday 
    V.shaw
  • ChuppachupsChuppachups Member Posts: 10 Connected
    Hi Melanie
    Can I please ask for some advice?
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering
    Of course Chuppachups - Hopefully I can point you in the right direction

  • jordankjordank Member Posts: 1 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 Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering
    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?
  • maturestudentmaturestudent Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi

    I am currently in receipt of income based ESA and due to start open university in October. 
    Would you be able to tell me if the maintenance loan, tuition fee loan and welsh assembly grant are classed as income? How much is classed as income?
    Thank you in advance 
  • Joanne_ScopeJoanne_Scope Helpline, Scope adviser Posts: 190 Pioneering
    Hi @maturestudent,
    Full-time Students are entitled to claim Income Related ESA if they are getting Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. Full time education is regarded as 12 hours per week.
    The way loans, grants or bursaries affect IR ESA and things such as Housing Benefit depends on whether the income is intended for living costs or course costs.
    Money intended to cover course costs is generally disregarded.
    For full time students, maintenance grants are treated as income although amounts for travel and books can be disregarded. If you are entitled to a loan this can be counted as income whether you actually take it or not.
    I am not sure how grants from the Welsh assembly would be treated.
    Disability Rights UK  have a disabled students helpline and they may be able to give you more detailed information. The Open University also have support for disabled students.
    I hope that this information is useful but please get back in touch if we can be of any further help.
    Joanne 
    Scope
  • maturestudentmaturestudent Member Posts: 2 Listener
  • ZaraRZaraR Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi. I would like to retain at the age of 35 but cannot seem to find any funding sources to help me. I receive PIP
  • Joanne_ScopeJoanne_Scope Helpline, Scope adviser Posts: 190 Pioneering
    Hi @ZaraR,

    You might find the link to Disability Rights UK in the post above useful.
    We also have some information about work and careers on the Scope website.

    We also have services designed to help people get the support they need to get back into employment. They may be able to give you some ideas about funding sources.

    It might also be worth speaking to your local Job Centre Plus.

    If you are on benefits and you are considering training or going to work part time then you need to be aware of how that might affect your benefits. PIP would not be affected but ESA or UC would be.

    If you would like to talk this through with someone we have a free helpline that is open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday. Our advisers should be able to give you information about how your benefits could be affected.

    I hope this is useful and you find the support you are looking for :)



    Joanne 
    Scope
  • AmandaandJoAmandaandJo Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi Melanie, I am an OU student studying sociology, but the problem is - I started studying in Feb 2019, that module finished in September 2019, I started another in oct 19, which runs to oct 2020. I have no student finance for this year at all until then. I am a disabled student as well. I need some kind of finance for this year if you could possibly help, thanks ever so much.
    Amanda
  • melaniethorleymelaniethorley Volunteer community adviser Posts: 104 Pioneering

    Hi Amanda and thank you for your message. You should be receiving four years funding for full time courses and up to six years for pert-time courses. There are also a number of charities and organisations which  provide bursaries for disabled students. You could look here:

    https://www.disability-grants.org/higher-education-grants.html


    good luck

  • AmandaandJoAmandaandJo Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Yes, I am part time, but will be full time. The funding goes from funding year to funding year, not the 3 or 6 years you are on the degree course for, and then you choose different modules for every year. I have looked at the burseries etc but can't find anything that helps my predicament, they are mostly for the uni they are based in. . I had funding from February until October 2019. But I have no funding for 2020 until October because they say I have had it already. But I haven't, because that was 120 credits for 2018/19. It leaves me with nothing from December 2019 to October 2020. All ou could offer me was a bit of my Internet costs back and ink, but I wanted student funding. 
  • JenCoJenCo Member Posts: 115 Pioneering
    edited March 6
    Hi @melaniethorley, do you have any posts about options for going back to education for mature students? 

    I'm 32, hard of hearing, BAHA user. I want to study for a Computer Science or Computer-Human Interaction MSc but have no idea how to start. Firmly believe accessible software can improve and save lives. Now I just have to go learn enough to prove it :)
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