Solingen 93

Domestic Violence and Abuse

An introduction to the Disability Advisory Service

I initially went to the Disability
Service with a dyslexia diagnosis but through working with the service, they
helped me get the autistic diagnosis, which was hugely life-changing in terms
of how I understood myself, how others understood me and how the college or
university could support me. Contact the Disability Service early because it could be that there are things they can help you with which you haven’t actually
thought of yourself. The role of a disability advisor is essentially to
work with students to explore the type of support that they need when they’re
studying here at the university. They always send you a form, in which you
have to describe your disability. I can understand that it’s not always
easy to talk about the things that you have difficulty with, but my
advice would be overwhelmingly that you need to be honest and say ‘actually, this
is what it is, and this is how my disability affects me,’ and that will
help the Disability Service to help you. We wouldn’t disclose that information
unless the student had actually provided consent. When they have provided
consent, we would liaise with a disability contact at their college and a
disability contact at their department to ensure that reasonable adjustments
have been put in place for the student. We then encourage the student to apply
for a Disabled Student’s Allowance and, once that application is made and they
are deemed eligible for support, we would invite them to come in to have a study
needs assessment. That is sent to the funding body for funding approval. I think the most helpful thing for me with my studies has been having specialist tuition from someone who’s an expert in dyspraxia, and who can help me every week. We have a really great relationship I feel like I can talk to her about anything
I’m struggling with with my work. Because I had tutors from different colleges
which were actually quite a long way away from St Peter’s that
accessing those might be difficult, straight away my academic advisor in
college arranged for all of my tutorials to be held in St Peter’s. My Italian tutor last year amazed me. She asked me if she could have a copy of my disability
report, if I wouldn’t mind sharing it with her, so that she could read through
it and understand exactly what my disability is
and how it affects me, which kind of blew my mind. I didn’t expect someone to
really care that much or want to know that much about how I learn. I think when you’re just arriving in Oxford, it’s a good idea to go and talk to the Disability Service
because, even if you decide not to pursue anything after that, you would at least
be given all the information, and you’ll have someone as a supporter who can help
you navigate the Oxford system. Come and talk to us. Come and talk about any
support that you feel you might need. If you’re not sure that you need any
support, still come and talk to us. Get to know us and we can explore things together.

Cesar Sullivan

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