My Experience of DSA and Warwick Disability Services
One of my biggest concerns about starting university was how I would manage as a student with a disability. I have Cerebral Palsy and this affects mainly my mobility and fine motor skills. Before starting at Warwick, for the entirety of my educational career, I had 1:1 support. This allowed me to have help with practical matters such as moving around buildings and writing over prolonged periods of time. Naturally, the prospect of not having such support available to me was daunting.
This is where Warwick Disability Services came in. Before my place at the university had even been confirmed, I met with Disability Services (shout out to George Morrell) to see what they had to offer. Although the same level of support I had been receiving previously wasn’t really practical (for various reasons) since all of my course takes place in the same building it didn’t matter so much.
Disability Services told me that I would need to fill in a DSA (Disabled Student Allowance) application. This form asks you for more information on your needs and helps you to get funding to help with any disability related expenses you might encounter whilst studying for your degree. Although the form was quite long, it was definitely worth my time as I knew it would help me in the future.
After I sent in my application, I was invited to a meeting with someone who had access to my application and we talked about the options I had in regard to equipment/services that would make my time at Warwick easier. This was very worthwhile as I learnt about (and got to practice with) software that I had never heard of before!
Sometime after the meeting, I got confirmation that my application had been successful. The email was very clear in explaining the amount of funding I was eligible for and what this would go towards. Overall, it was a very easy process. Just make sure you do it with plenty of time to spare! It should be noted that DSA is completely separate from Warwick Disability Services, although they do liaise with each other.
Warwick Disability Services didn’t just abandon me after this process was over. They helped me to put exam arrangements in place and I know that I can return to them at any point later down the line should I need to. I only have one piece of advice: DON’T BE AFRAID OF ASKING FOR HELP. If you put off making contact with them until one week before your exams start there will be little that they are able to do. It is always best to get things in place nice and early.
I hope reading about my experience has been helpful to some of you out there and don’t be afraid to get in touch if you have any questions!