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What support is available for young people with disabilities at a university?

Universities provide confidential advice, guidance and support services to students with disabilities, long term health conditions and specific learning differences. 

Who can get disability support at university?

Students who have a disability, including those with but not limited to:

  • autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger syndrome
  • dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties
  • mental health conditions
  • mobility impairments
  • sensory impairments
  • unseen disabilities and medical conditions

This list is not exhaustive – student services at the institution may be able to provide support for difficulties lasting twelve months or more.

What types of disability support could be available?

Universities can offer financial and study support for students with disabilities.

Financial support:    

For UK students only study support can be funded by Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).

DSA is paid in addition to the standard student finance package that is available if students are studying full-time or part-time. DSA is not means tested and does not need to be repaid.

If you are an EU or international student the DSA is not available to you, so please do make contact with the Disability Service at your university well in advance of starting your course so they can help.

You can get help with the costs of:

  • specialist equipment, for example a computer if you need one because of your disability
  • non-medical helpers, for example a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter or specialist note taker
  • extra travel to attend your course or placement because of your disability
  • other disability-related study support, for example having to print additional copies of documents for proof-reading.

Study support:

There is a wide range of support available at universities, depending on your course of study, particular needs and the university. The best thing to do in the first instance is to look at the website of the university to find out what support can be provided.

Disability Advisers are normally located in Student Services, Student Support or similar teams.  Try to visit campuses to double check that it is fully accessible for your child's specific needs, and book a meeting with a Disability Adviser. If you are planning for the years ahead or don’t have an opportunity to travel to institutions, you can have a discussion with a Disability Adviser over the phone.

The Disability Service offers a confidential service and can discuss with you what support could be available in specific circumstances and how to access it.

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