Disability aids, equipment and technology
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Experience of Disabled students Allowance?


  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 358 Pioneering
    Hi, do either of you have any experience of Disabled students Allowance (in its newest incarnation) particularly for potential students with complex physical disability (athetoid CP) very poor hand function and no speech (so uses hi and low tech AAC)?  We have applied and been assessed but now SFE are saying that they need more "medical evidence" of how my son;s disability actually affects his ability to study!  they seem to be questioning requests for a range of AT solutions such as special keyboard, joystick, mounts and monitors.  they have had a lot of evidence (including detailed exam board adjustment info) but say that it is not enough.  The guidance (all 92 pages!) makes specific mention of visual and hearing impairment; there is nothing about people with complex CP and no speech and so they seem to be completely off the radar..even our assessor has told us this (in writing) and suggests we contact our MP or a Minister!!
  • Andy_AssistiveAndy_Assistive Scope adviser Posts: 46 Courageous
    My experience with DSA is a little rusty but, here goes and I have more questions before I have any answers.
    Has your son been assessed by an assessor who is specialised in complex CP with AAC needs?
    Do you have any info that you can provide from your son's previous educational establishment to support him in the claim.
    Have SFE said what would be enough evidence to support the application and are they directly questioning whether your son has a diagnosed (or un-diagnosed) learning disability.
    Have SFE said if they are willing to pay for a second specialist CP assessor to review this, that's where I would be heading next a review / reassessment by a specialist.

  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 358 Pioneering
    Hi, thanks. My son was assessed by the generic assessor at Lancaster Uni centre.  There was never any mention of a speciali st assessor (though I have since head of an independent AT specialist who has been involved with some DSA assessments...)
    We have submitted detailed evidence of how his disability affects him, a speciliats AAC SALT report, a physio report, a consultants report and his most recent, very detailed statement of SEN (he did not have an EHCP)  WE have also submitted the evidence that was submitted to, and accepted by the exam boards in order to get extra time etc for his A levels.
    The general SFE guidance says that they want a letter from a medic/GP detailing the disability and how it will affect ability to study...but what GP can do that?!  It is complex and specialist and apart from the fact that complex specialist AT is not usually a GPs remit (!) my son has onely seen his GP once and so they know nothing about him apart from what they have in reports from other health professionals (which we have already submitted)
    AAC use and complex AT us just does not figure at all in any of the DSA guidance I have seen..
    Any help greatfully received..

  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    SFE are very vague about what they want. Talking in general, your GP doesn't know how your disability will affect your ability to study.

    They (SFE) were strange with me - one minute my evidence wasn't enough and the next it was.

    Is this something his current school could help with, explaining what help he currently gets?
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 358 Pioneering
    Hi, thanks we have done all that...we even submitted pictures of his work station and his very detailed statement of SEN...no-one at school now til early Sept anyway.  But it seems to be medical evidence that SFE are after...When did you deal with them?  Cos we know others who have found it OK but it was before the massive overhaul and severe cutback in provision that came in a year or so ago..
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    It was around 2014 I think.

    I know the system has changed. But I'm not overly clued up on how, now.
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 358 Pioneering
    Basically they pay for very little now...up to £5k or so of equipment over the life of the course and up to £21k per year for academic support BUT it has to be very specialist, and whilst there is more provision made for specialist support for deaf and visually impaired students, there is no mention at all of those without speech!  And so someone like my son just falls through the cracks...
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    The uni is now expected to pay for more things now.
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 358 Pioneering
    Yes, a huge amount more...
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