Disability & Dyslexia: What to Expect

Illustration of shapes, by Augusta Akerman, 2015
Illustration (Shapes) by Augusta Akerman, 2015 (MA Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts 2014)

The Disability Service provides advice and support to students who are disabled, and to students who are dyslexic or have another Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD).

This support includes:

  • confidential advice by phone, email, drop-ins and appointments
  • assessments of students’ access and support needs
  • help to access disability related funding
  • help to access equipment and assistive technology
  • arranging support, such as specialist study skills tuition, mentoring, communication support, practical support and note-taking.

The Disability Service also arranges screenings and/or assessments for students who have, or think they may have, dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difficulty.

Students said:
"UAL run a fantastic Disability Service"
"The Disability Service is definitely helping me through my BA"
"The fact I'm entitled to all this stuff is amazing its helped me so much"

Access, support and facilities

For full details of the University’s current provision for disabled students please read the 'Access, Support and Facilities for Disabled Students at UAL' PDF below:

How the Disability Service works

Each student has a named disability adviser, who is their key point of contact throughout their studies. Disability advisers are available to meet prospective and current students and operate from a range of locations across the University.

They keep in touch with students throughout the period of study, reviewing support arrangements and changing them if necessary.

First appointment with a disability adviser

The first appointment a current, or prospective, student has with a disability adviser typically involves:

  • discussing the impact of their impairment or condition on their studies
  • identifying barriers and obstacles
  • agreeing the adjustments, equipment or support needed to overcome these barriers
  • identifying funding they are eligible for and helping them to apply
  • creating an Individual Support Agreement that sets out required adjustments and agreeing who it will be shared with at the University
  • agreeing the next steps to put support in place.

Students said their Diasbility Adviser was:
"Proactive and helpful"
"Patient and accommodating"
"Helpful, kind and patient"
"Great!"

With consent, disability advisers help to communicate each student’s needs to other staff that need to know. This could include the course team, technicians, Library Service, or Accommodation staff. This enables students to access adjustments, e.g. extended library loans and adjustments to assessments such as coursework.

Disability advisers can also signpost prospective and current students to other relevant support services at the University and externally.

Please note that students will be offered a face-to-face appointment for the next available slot with their disability adviser. A quick or immediate appointment may not always be available. Email or telephone enquiries may not be responded to immediately, although every effort is made to reply as soon as possible.

Medical and diagnostic evidence

The Disability Service usually requires medical and/or diagnostic evidence of the student’s impairment, condition or Specific Learning Difficulty to establish their entitlement to disability support and funding.

Prospective and current students can provide the evidence to the disability adviser in their first appointment, or email it to the Disability Service at disability@arts.ac.uk.

This guidance explains the type of evidence that is required and the details it should include:

Physical, sensory or long term health conditions

A written statement or letter from a doctor, or appropriate qualified medical professional, which confirms that the impairment, or condition, has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the individual’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

The letter should be signed and on headed paper. It should include details of:

  • the diagnosis and date of commencement,
  • expected duration of the condition or impairment, or confirmation that it is ongoing,
  • the impact on normal day-to-day activities,
  • potential difficulties when using public transport, where relevant,
  • details of side effects of prescribed medication, where relevant.

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Mental health conditions

A written statement or letter from a doctor, or appropriate qualified medical professional, which confirms that the condition has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the individual’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

The letter should be signed and on headed paper. It should include details of:

  • the diagnosis and date of commencement,
  • expected duration of the mental health condition, or confirmation that it is ongoing,
  • the impact on normal day-to-day activities,
  • potential difficulties when using public transport, where relevant,
  • details of side effects of prescribed medication, where relevant.

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Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) such as dyslexia

A diagnostic report from an assessment conducted after the person’s 16th birthday.

The report must be written by either:

  • a registered psychologist; or
  • a suitably qualified specialist teacher, holding a SpLD Assessment Practicing Certificate.

The University offers further guidance and a diagnostic service for students who have, or think they have, a Specific Learning Difficulty.

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Autistic Spectrum Disorders

A written statement or letter from a doctor, or appropriate qualified medical professional, which confirms a substantial and long term adverse effect on the individual’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Alternatively, a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) issued by a Local Authority can be given.

Those having difficulty obtaining the appropriate evidence should contact the Disability Service at disability@arts.ac.uk for advice.

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