Robby: If I need extra time or resources to study, will these be taken into account and how so?
Robin Hodges, DSA assessor: Absolutely. So that’s the realm of reasonable adjustment where the university is evaluating that type of stuff. So, some of these adjustments are very, very typical. So things like extra time for exams, very, very common. You can also have rest breaks for exams if there’s problems with you working for a long period of time, the extra time’s more about your rate of work and your ability to do the exam within the conventional timeframe. In terms of extra time for coursework, that can vary, depending on the university’s policies. So, some universities are very open to giving, sort of approving deadline extensions in advance, others are very reluctant to do it at all and it kind of depends on how they see the situation and how they see the rest of the support network. Because those that don’t want to do it, apart from in situations where there’s unforeseen difficulties, they take the view where they kind of expect all the other network of support and adjustments would enable a student to be able to produce the work by a deadline. So that’s, that’s a bit of a, it’s a kind of a contentious area in some respects with different universities saying different things. But in terms of resources, one of the common areas that an assessor would look at for DSA is whether a student needs to print at home for any reason. And it’s often, you know, you have to set this aside from regular printing activity, it’s all about do you need to print for, you know, say you’re a dyslexic student, or anybody that has an issue with learning, you might need hard copies for them to use visual learning strategies like highlighting and stuff like that to pick out key information, and then you’re going to need funding for paper and ink for printing to do that.
Robby: Okay, so the message I’m getting from you is a person with a disability really shouldn’t worry.
Robin Hodges: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Robby: I mean, it’s a really good vibe.
Robin Hodges: Yeah. Yeah. So through the combination of the DSA, which it’s, you could understand from a student perspective why some students can be put off from applying for DSA, because prior to applying, you would look at it, you wouldn’t know what half of the support is, you know, or the type of software that you can get for a computer, a lot of that you wouldn’t know that it even exists.
Robby: See, that goes for any student, rather than, disabled or not. You’re in school all your life and then you come to university and you’re lost and you actually don’t know what you’re entitled to. And somebody with MS isn’t entitled to more.
Robin Hodges: Yeah. And I mean I think you look at the DSA process, you know, you’ve got to put together loads of documents and evidence and you’ve got to fill in a big form, it can be a bit daunting. And some students as well don’t feel immediately comfortable with disclosing condition, because quite understandably a student might not want to feel different from everybody else. But yeah, the DSA is certainly well worth applying for and it’s, you know, I would certainly encourage any student to make contact with the disability team to look at, you know, what can be done within the university to accommodate for certain needs and difficulties.
Robby: And would you get assistance in filling in forms?
Robin Hodges: Erm… [laughs]
Robby: I couldn’t fill in a form.
Robin Hodges: Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of universities have some help in that regard. They can certainly provide advice on what you need to do and then if you have a specific issue with filling in the form, you’d expect your sort of support adviser that you – you’re usually allocated a specific kind of student support adviser that will kind of handle your particular needs – and you’d expect them to kind of help with that in some capacity.
Robby: Brilliant. Thank you very much.
Robin Hodges: No problem.
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