Applying for disabled students’ allowance (DSA) could mean that you’re entitled to new equipment and cutting-edge software that will help you get the most out of your studies, plus you will receive support such as assistive technology training sessions and if needed, specialist tuition. So, if you have a condition that could be entitled to DSA, it’s important that you get assessed.
If you are planning on going to university and need to be assessed, you can do so before the course begins, which can be easier as funding for your assessment, equipment and support may not be available until the second term of your course.
This could mean that you may need to fund the initial assessments yourself, so if you wish to be reimbursed you will need to get in contact with your university early so you can have an approved assessor.
Arranging a Diagnostic Assessment
Applying for DSA can be a lengthy process, however you will be able to get support through your university’s dyslexia or disability support advisor. Your advisor will be able to offer a list of qualified assessors who will examine your condition. When being assessed, the test could include oral language, phonological skills, reading fluency, writing and spelling, plus skills that could include social capabilities and articulation.
Sometimes you may have to fund your own assessment, however in most cases your university will fund it.
Discussing Your Diagnostic Assessment
We understand that sometimes your diagnostic results may leave you with more questions than answers, that’s why it’s integral that you discuss it with your Disability Support Advisor.
They should be able to help with any questions you may have, so you are able to fully understand the report and the implications of how your condition will affect your course.
Once your DSA eligibility is confirmed, you should arrange a needs assessment. This will cover what equipment and support you will need during your course. It’s important that you understand your diagnostic assessment so you can clarify your requirements.
The assessor will then calculate the costs of what you need by consulting with Student Finance (SF) or Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS), who will then decide on the best supplier for your requirements.
Once you have received your needs assessment report, we advise that you discuss it with your disability support advisor, as they will be able to see if your needs have been fully addressed and ensure any appropriate revisions.
In our third and final part of our blog series, we will talk about assistive service providers (just like us!) and how we can help provide your equipment, assistive technology training and help you upgrade.
If you’ve missed our first blog on the different conditions and disabilities that are entitled to DSA, please click here.