DSA Assesment – my second journey

Hi guys, sorry for not posting on Friday and Sunday, I’ve been a little busy. Today’s post is about DSA. DSA is the abbreviation of Disabled Student Allowance.

When I first started university, I had the DSA assessment and was given a bunch of equipment. Some helpful, some not so much, but appreciated all the same. My first year went successful (on the academic part, anyway). However, in second year I noticed we were given less practical work and more theory work, not only that but one of the lectures finished at 9pm.

That’s when I really started to struggle. My anxiety was at its peak and I was having frequent panic attacks. It didn’t help that the theory we covered in class was given at a surprising rate that I struggled to note it down or to understand some of the theory.

In my third year, I requested to have a specialist support mentor and my university had kindly agreed to let me have one on a temporary basis until Student Finance agrees. I also didn’t have any stragedies for noting down the theory fast enough.

This meant that I needed to have a reassessment of my DSA – and it was hard to get an appointment. First I needed proof that I had been diagnosed with anxiety, which was hard to get because as a student, and one that is disabled, I transfer between doctors a lot. The doctor that originally diagnosed me with anxiety either hadn’t noted it down or it had got lost somewhere as I transferred doctors.

Thankfully, I had seen a CBT (cognitive behaviour specialist) as recommended by my doctor at the time I was diagnosed. This was enough for my new doctor to confirm that I had anxiety on the form. But it was a slow process so my university had extended the hours of my specialist mentor. She’s been extremely helpful this semester.

Eventually, Student Finance had gotten back to me, but with it a human error – a generic letter telling me there isn’t enough evidence.  I wasn’t sure of my next step, my dad told me to contact student wellbeing and I did.  Student Wellbeing were very supportive and called student finance on my next appointment. Student finance admitted to the error and I contacted DSA.

The original day of the assessment Birmingham was covered in snow – I had to cancel the appointment but they informed me they were going to cancel anyway, so another appointment was made. I found it difficult to talk about my anxiety and how it affected me but I had my dad at my side.

It’s a weird thing, anxiety. The fear of fear.

For me, my mind sees insects, unexpected changes and stress as part of the trigger for anxiety. When I have a panic attack, I can stand frozen. I may and most likely will heave! I may be frozen and heave at the same time and it will prevent me from eating. After explaining this to the assessor, they agreed that a specialist support mentor is recommended.

Then there was the taking notes problem, but there is this software, I’m not sure what it’s called but it records the lecturers as they go through powerpoints in snippets allowing me to delete unwanted content and only keep the useful information. It shows each slide in a panel alongside the recording and my notes for each side. I’m going to give it ago, and hope it works.

Now all I need to do is wait for student finance to accept the DSA assessment and send over the equipment.  A new laptop trolly bag and whatever the recording thing is called.

I’ll keep you updated.

Thanks for reading.



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3 responses to “DSA Assesment – my second journey”

  1. I hope it goes ok for you, fingers crossed! We had the letter back from the court in December to say they have received our letter saying we want to take the DWP decision to tribunal. So it’s a waiting game here as well.

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