What is a Specialist Mentor?
A specialist mentor is a qualified professional who provides highly specialised, specifically tailored, one-to-one support which helps students address the barriers to learning created by a particular impairment. They also have experience of university life and the demands of academic study.
How can they support you?
Specialist mentors provide support that focuses on enabling the student to access their academic studies, rather than on the management or treatment of a specific condition.
Their role is to help students recognise the barriers to learning created by their impairment and support them in developing strategies to address these barriers, particularly at times of transition, for example, when starting at university or when planning to move on from it.
For some students, this support will need to be on-going while for others it might be gradually phased out or only be required at certain points of their course.
How do you access their support?
Specialist mentors are typically funded by Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) and will need to be recommended by your DSA needs assessor. Your DSA needs assessment could include recommendations for a particular individual mentor, information about the number of hours funded and how to contact the mentor.
Some universities may fund specialist mentoring as an interim measure, while students are going through the DSA application process.
If you feel like you could benefit from the support of a specialist mentor during your studies, make sure you explore this with your DSA needs assessor and disability adviser.