There are many assessment centres throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The student can find the information on the UK Government website or can investigate the North London Regional Access Centre (NLRAC), which has listed many assessment centres in its database.
If the student experiences trouble with the booking process, they can request assistance from the disability advisor from the university or college, or contact NLRAC or the area-specific Student Finance company. When applying for a DSA (Disability Student Allowance), the funding company will need the expertise of a qualified assessor at a DSA assessment centre to compile a support package for the student.
An experienced assessor will have a relaxed one-on-one session with the student as they conduct the study needs assessment. This will identify the kind of support the student will need for the duration of their course. One of the qualified assessors will approach the assessment in a relaxed manner.
Before going through the assessment process, the student needs to be prepared and bring the medical reports from the specialists and GPs, case assessments, samples of written work and any other supporting documentation relevant to the student’s disability.
As the session continues the student usually relaxes when they realise the assessor is not inspecting the medical reports, analysing the sample written works or any other document, but having a discussion over any difficulties and challenges the student may have faced as a result of the disability.
The assessment centres are well equipped to assist students with every disability and demonstrate various types of software available during the assessment that is best suited to the individual DSA student. They will provide factsheets and any other material that will best be suited for students who may have dyslexia, a physical disability or autism, including voice recognition.
Students can attend the assessments on their own or they can conduct the assessment with a friend or family member to accompany them as long as the guest/s presence does not prevent the student from speaking freely and being actively involved in the assessment.
“The assessments at the DSA centres are intended to help students determine their best course of action and solutions that will assist in overcoming study-related difficulties that have been experienced due to the disability, long-term health conditions, impairment, mental condition or learning disability,” said Lauren Gardener, Director, of Access for Students.
All recommendations made during the assessment may include equipment, software such as voice recognition and one-on-one individual support. The assessor’s report is confidential and once a support package has been agreed upon between the student and assessor, the report will be sent to the funding company, a copy to the disability advisor, for approval.
Access for Students has assessment centres in Newport, South Wales and in the South West of the UK to assist disabled students to obtain a government allowance to further their higher education. The team of assessors will assess and provide advice to the student and work out what help will be needed to help them. The Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) fund support to provides assistance to cover any study-related costs due to mental health problems, long-term illness or any other disability. After completion of the needs assessment, the funding body (Student Finance Wales or England) will determine how the monetary support will be granted for the student to receive the much-needed DSA funding. Visit: https://www.accessforstudents.co.uk