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What have been your experiences with Disabled Student Allowance

(12 Posts)
TinklyLittleLaugh Sun 20-Dec-15 00:13:31

My DS has just got his act together to be assessed for this. He has problems with his hands and his mobility and a condition that causes pain and fatigue.

He wrote to his consultant asking them for evidence of his disability and they took so long to reply he ended up paying £15 to the GP for a letter.
Student grants people decided he was eligible so he went along to the assessment centre.
Assessment centre decided he was eligible. Offered him some vaguely useful software and a PC, (due to his condition he was hoping for a Mac).
The PC is they offered is pretty low spec and he has to pay the first £200 and get it from their approved supplier. But the supplier charges £450 when it is £350 from other shops. He has therefore decided not to buy the PC.
So all in all basically a waste of time, (apart from some software).

Anyhow, the assessor just emailed DS a draft copy of his assessment report for his approval and the whole process has apparently cost about £1600. To basically supply DS with a crappy piece of software. That's a lot of money to be spent with little benefit to the student, (and that's without all the time wasting and rigmarole).

So is this normal or have other students fared better?

manontheland Sun 20-Dec-15 00:35:36

My DD has had DSA since she started her course in 2013 so is under the old scheme, it sounds like things are much worse since they've changed the system sad. She has ASD, dyslexia and various MH issues, and she was given a Macbook with speech software, plus all the usual Office software and Adobe software (as she is on an arts course and needed access to it when at home). She also got a dictaphone with microphone, printer, and some dyslexia related bits like coloured screens and pen grips.

We had a similar problem with the supplier charging well over the odds for upgrades, so she chose to accept the basic model on offer (did not have to pay the £200 fee in previous years) and upgraded it herself by buying the relevant parts from Amazon. Apparently they are now not providing Macbooks for any students, which is unfair for those on certain courses as everything is Mac-based.

She also got a weekly 1:1 session with a mentor and an additional 1:1 study skills session for learning difficulties. She gets an annual £300 allowance towards things like printing, books, taxi travel for when she can't cope with public transport (doesn't go far).

The most useful thing tbh has been an approval for deadline extensions which are given without the need for further evidence. Doesn't cost anything but it has saved her bacon more than a few times as she gets an anxiety-driven paralysis when it comes to starting assignments.

mumeeee Tue 29-Dec-15 10:09:24

DD3 started uni in 2013 she is Dyspraxic and has some other Leaning Difficulties. She has DSA. She is allowed extra time and a computer in exams. She was also given a laptop and for proof reading. A learning support mentor once a week.dictorphone for recording lectures and a couple of other things

AverageSnowflake01 Tue 29-Dec-15 10:18:45

I was assessed last year and was given a mental health mentor and extra time in exams. I was told I would get software installed on to my computer and also a dictaphone, but I never heard from DSA about these again.

mumeeee Tue 29-Dec-15 14:09:57

averagesnowflake didn't you even get an email about it . DD3 did get her assessment results emailed to her. She had to email her university the assessment so they could make sure some things were in place. Her laptop and printer and software got delivered to her but we did have to phone someone to arrange the delivery

AverageSnowflake01 Wed 30-Dec-15 08:55:09

Mummee I'm not sure. I'll have to check. I thought my uni would sort everything out for me, but I'll be back on DSA next October so will have to enquire then.

mumeeee Wed 30-Dec-15 21:07:26

DD3 was told to contact her uni once the assessment report had been emailed to her. She had to email the report to her uni and also phone them to arrange an appointment with the Disability team. Once she had done that the uni sorted stuff out for her.
Once your DSA has been confirmed for next year you will need to speak to your uni.

2rebecca Thu 31-Dec-15 13:27:09

My dyslexic son got a printer and speech recognition software. I told him to be prepared before he went in to his assessment though and have a list of the sort of problems he had and the sort of things that might help. He didn't want a computer because he already had a high spec one as a keen gamer.

MandMand Thu 31-Dec-15 13:39:07

As others have said, he needs to speak to the disabled students support team at his university to see if they can offer him any additional practical support based on the assessment, such as a note-taker or scribe, or mentoring/study skills support, and to ensure that he is eligible for extra time in assessments.

bigbluebus Fri 01-Jan-16 19:48:27

My DS got a laptop (he paid £200) a printer, additional recording hardware and voice recognition software. Although we realised the laptop was farily low spec it does what he needs for his course. He hasn't really used the additional software or voice recorder features, however, as all lectures are also on-line and he had already completed a touch typing course in Primary school (it was only hand writing that was a problem). His package included training but only one short session actually happened as there was insufficient time between the equipment being delivered and DS leaving home. The training co wouldn't go to DSs Uni City as it was too far and had not been allowed for in the quote - even though DS went to his 1st choice Uni which was included in his assessment. I was amazed at some of the costs involved to be honest but not surprised as this is a Government contract. I am not at all surprised the DSA is currently under review.

mumeeee Fri 01-Jan-16 21:44:17

DD3 got training at her halls and her uni town is about 4 hours drive from our home town. The company sorting out the laptop and stuff said they could do training anywhere.

SauvignonBlanche Mon 11-Jan-16 16:39:39

DS was slow getting his application in and whilst he got assessed before he started uni his equipment only arrived on Christmas Eve at our home address.

He didn't want a new laptop as his old one was pretty good but he was persuaded that it was 4 years old so was worth replacing. I don't know anything about the spec but DH works in IT and he approved I believe it was a Fujitsu Lifebook A55 (if that means anything to anyone), we had to contribute £200.

He also got voice recognition software, a printer and a dictaphone.

His support also includes mentoring and increased deadlines, I can't remember if he gets more time in exams. He did for his A levels and GCSEs.

It's too early for us for mr to say how helpful it's been really.

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