Disability at University

I think I’m lucky. The University of Derby takes disability into an enormous amount of consideration, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect; they still have to stop their delivery vans from blocking disabled bays, but they’re very supportive.

When you look at universities, there should be a Disability Team that walks you through all the support that they can offer you. Each Uni is different and so is every experience. However, I can say Derby is always happy to help. In Mid 2016, I was diagnosed with anxiety, something I suffered from as a young child but had no way of describing it to people until my diagnosis. I would freeze up and wrench if I saw a sign of an insect. I wouldn’t physically be sick, but the movement pulled on my stomach. It hurt. I couldn’t stop it and I couldn’t move for a period of time. It would happen at restaurants too, especially if it was crowded and somewhere I had not been before.

I called the University up in the summer to see if they offered a Cognitive behaviour service, and they offered a similar one. I took it and started having sessions, within a few weeks, the symptoms lessened and I hardly have my anxiety attacks now. I get them occasionally, but they’re much better now and don’t prevent me from doing something for longer than a minute.

When I looked at universities, I looked at one of the University of Creative Arts campuses, and they told me one of the rooms they used for the course had no access by lift. That meant I would have had to use a winding, narrow set of stairs. The rooms were cramped, including the bigger rooms so the university did not strike me as disabled friendly. However, their Disability Support staff were nice.

So make sure you shop around. Ring the university up, tell them your needs, the things you struggle with. See what they can do to help you and what support is available. Maybe search some blogs for student experience when dealing with that universities support team.

One of my closest friends, Sophie, owns a blog primarily on this topic.

Coping at University with a Disability.

This one is hard to talk about. Everyone has different needs and obstacles that they need to overcome, but I have found that my disability doesn’t affect me at university any more than it does in my daily life.

However, there are things that I do have for academic help such as deadline extensions and a specialist support mentor. Most my issues at the university have been none-disabled related because of the disability support the university had in place before I arrived on campus.

If the correct support has been in place, then you should be fine. If you do come across any major errors along the way, let student wellbeing know, I am sure they will be more than happy to help you solve the issue.

Other than that, have fun.

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