Step Five: Getting Support in Place at University

Get in touch with your university’s Disabled Student Office

Each university or higher education provider will have their own Disabled Student Office (DSO), responsible for providing advice, information and facilitating support.

We advise getting in touch with the DSO team at your first-choice university and/or once you have an offer accepted. Starting discussions on what support you might need at the earliest opportunity allows you more time to explore your options.

The university will carry out their own assessment to understand how they can best support your needs. However, it is also helpful to share with them a copy of your Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) assessment.

We recommend familiarising yourself with the university’s DSO before you begin your course, so you get your studies off to the best start possible.

Know your rights at university

At university, the responsibility is on you to make sure that you receive the help you need. However, all higher education providers have a duty of care to ensure you are not disadvantaged as a student because of your vision impairment. Here are some links to external sites that talk you through rights in education and the responsibilities of your university:

Essentially, The Equality Act of 2010 states that education providers should make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled students to ensure that they are not at a disadvantage in comparison to non-disabled students.

When you meet with the Disability Support Office discuss with them what ‘reasonable adjustments’ the university can make to support you with your studies.

You may want to consider:

  • Arrangements for accessing your course.
  • Arrangements for exams and assessments.
  • Accommodation arrangements.
  • Arranging Mobility Training.
  • Guide Dogs on campus.

Watch our short video of Chris Ross, a disability adviser at Birmingham City University share some top tips on getting support in place before starting university.

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