Disabled Students’ Allowances give disabled students the opportunity to learn and grow without barriers, just like other students. The grant provides computer and assistive technology solutions with training and support, so that students have all the tools they need to achieve their goals. In her own words, Daisy Holder, who studied at Bath Spa University, gives her own experience of the DSA:
Daisy’s Story – Going to University
When I applied to university, I was a disabled and newly chronically ill teenager. I had no idea how each university would be able to help me and was essentially applying at random, and I was too sick to go and visit most of the universities I applied to.
Everyone advised me not to go, or at least take a gap year or study in my hometown. My doctors, my teachers, friends and family all advised me not to leave home, worried I would struggle with the workload on top of managing my health needs.
But I was stubborn and even though I didn’t fully believe I’d be able to do it either, I didn’t want to be left behind by my friends. So, I prepared myself to pack up all my things and move nearly 150 miles away from everything I knew.
Applying for DSA
At that point, my occupational therapist told me about Disabled Students Allowance and, knowing it would help me with some of my new and old issues, showed me how it worked. I was concerned: after all this was new to me too, and I didn’t know what support would help! It was all well and good telling me they could provide what I needed, but I didn’t know what I needed!
I applied for DSA quickly whilst also applying for Student Finance, and soon I had a Needs Assessment in an assessment centre in my hometown to see what equipment would help me in my studies at the university.
The Needs Assessment
A lot of people get nervous about having someone bombard you with questions about your needs and disabilities, but this absolutely wasn’t intimidating or judgemental like they sometimes can be. The assessor really understood the various issues and was able to ask questions that revealed needs that I never would have thought of if I had just been filling in a form.
After the assessment, they had a whole range of recommendations for equipment that would help me, like an adjustable desk and chair for my joint and back pain, a dictaphone for recording lectures I was struggling to concentrate in and computer software to ensure I could still write essays while I couldn’t use my hands.
I was really surprised by the sheer amount of help I was given, which even went as far as funding to get taxis when I wasn’t able to get the bus!
Getting the DSA Approved Equipment
Very quickly after I moved into my new student accommodation (I lived off campus in my first year due to a lack of rooms in halls), someone come along to install all my equipment and teach me how to use it. I’ve never been a very “read the instructions” person but thankfully it was all remarkably simple.
I used all the equipment I needed for the whole three years I was at university and, with support from the university, I graduated. Without the support from the equipment and training I received thanks to a DSA grant, I would have really struggled, and that’s if I had been able to continue studying at all. I came to meet a number of people who also had received DSA grants for all sorts of varying needs, from dyslexia to lifelong serious illnesses, and they and I all benefited greatly from the opportunity to be able to study alongside peers without the worry of how to pay for the help we needed.
Iansyst Ltd are one of the approved Disabled Students’ Allowance Assistive Technology suppliers and provides all of the specialist computer equipment, AT software, support and training for students who have received a DSA grant. During the Covid-19 pandemic we continue to provide solutions for all our customers and also offer ‘contact free’ delivery, tutorial support videos and online training sessions.
Contact us for more information on the services we provide https://www.iansyst.co.uk/dsa/
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 01223 420 101
You can also find more information on how to access the DSA at the British Assistive Technology Association: https://bataonline.org.uk/news/how-make-most-disabled-students-allowances-university