Many disabled and dyslexic students were left without vital specialist equipment at the start of term.
Necessary technical equipment such as laptops, dictaphones and writing software did not arrive on time for a huge number of students, following the delayed response of the DSA. The large number of students that attend ‘Needs Assessments’ to report on their individual requirements during the summer means that many are unable to be seen by professionals until early September.
Once this initial stage has been completed, students must then await a copy of the report, which contains information on what specific equipment is required to help with study and exams, to be sent to the University and on to suppliers. This laborious process, in a huge number of cases, can take up to a month or longer – little help once term has started, as disadvantaged students can get left behind as a result of delays in support.
Often such problems can be rectified by the Disability and Dyslexia Support office, though students must give prior permission for their medical information to be shared with their institution, slowing down the process further and leaving many unsure of who to turn to for guidance.
Paul, a disgruntled third-year student, claimed that this was not the first time he had encountered delays. He said: “Last year, my exams were delayed as I got no support. If you get something for free it’s an uphill battle. The operation needs to gear up to deal with the numbers.”
Once technical material has been delivered, in most cases students are offered a training session to understand how to use them most effectively, though many are simply not offered this service.
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