Over the years we have seen many brilliant clients who unfortunately have been unable to complete their academic studies due to a lack of support that an autism diagnosis would have allowed them access to. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential which is why we are offering a 10% discount on Autism Spectrum Condition diagnostic assessment for higher education students and those considering an application to university for the 2024 academic year.
*Offer valid until 10th December 2023
We know that transitions to the next stages in life can feel daunting at times for most, but for those with Autism Spectrum Condition, the changes to environment, routine and daily demands can feel overwhelming. The right support can allow individuals to flourish.
Challenges autistic students face at university, are often not due to their academic capabilities, which is why access to Disability Student Allowance (DSA) and reasonable adjustments can make a meaningful difference for so many people.
We spoke to the team at Diversity and Ability; a social enterprise led by and for disabled and neurodiverse individuals about the wonderful work they do. They too are passionate about ensuring students receive access to the support they deserve, and have seen first hand, through either their own lived experiences or through the work they do with their clients the positive impact access to DSA can have.
"Having Mentoring support at university will really help me in the future. Being autistic means my brain sometimes learns in different ways to others. I've been using the skills I've been taught every day and I feel infinitely more confident in myself. It's removed a lot of guilt around my way of learning and helped me understand my brain better." - A student reflecting on their DSA support from Diversity and Ability
University application deadlines for UCAS are fast approaching (31.1.2024) and it is often most beneficial to have support in place in advance, not only to help make transitions easier to manage (along with managing any anxieties you may have about starting the next chapter) but also to reduce the barriers you may have to learning, so that you can concentrate on what is important to you and building the future you deserve.
What is DSA?
Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is a grant provided to those who meet the criteria studying in Higher Education allowing individuals who need it to gain access to support and to help remove barriers to learning.
This includes undergraduate courses, Open University courses or Post Graduate courses of study. It is a grant (meaning it does not need to be paid back) and can provide access to:
Alongside this, students can also obtain other practical support such as an additional 25% time allowance for examinations.
“You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you live in England and have a disability that affects your ability to study, such as a:
You must also:
How to apply:
If your ability to access your studies is affected, those with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition are eligible to apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) through Student Finance.
If you do not need Student Finance, you can still apply for DSA by completing a DSA1 form (which can be downloaded here: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-forms).
If you are applying for Student Finance, or already receive Student Finance, you will find a section on DSA in your "to do list."
You will not automatically receive DSA, you need to provide “proof of eligibility.” In terms of Autism Spectrum Condition, this could be either a copy of your diagnostic report or a letter from your doctor or consultant. Or you could complete a Disability Evidence Form (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disabled-students-allowance-evidence-form)
Once your application has been approved, you will receive email confirmation from Student Finance England. It is important to keep this email and follow the instructions to arrange an appointment to assess your needs. The assessment is paid for by Student Finance England. It is important to note, that this is not a test, but an opportunity to discuss your individual needs without judgement.
If you would like to know more about the needs assessment, you can always call or email the assessment centre you have booked your appointment with and they will be happy to answer your questions to the best of their ability to help relieve any anxieties you may have.
You may find it helpful to prepare a list of things you have struggled with previously, and where applicable, accommodations that have been made for you which you found to be helpful. Likewise, if there is something that you think would have been helpful for you, but you did not have access to, what was this?
After your assessment, the assessor will draft a report and send you a copy of it. If you are happy with the report, they will then send a copy to Student finance England.
You will be provided with a letter detailing the support you will receive and the contact details of DSA suppliers who will be providing the support outlined. Once you have contacted them, they will begin putting support in place for you.
A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition does not mean that someone will automatically receive DSA, and you will need to provide confirmation of your diagnosis if you are applying for DSA on the grounds of being autistic.
A note from The More You Know Autism Services:
We know advocating for yours or a loved ones needs can be exhausting, but you are not alone. With a combination of lived and professional experience, the clinicians at The More You Know Autism Services are dedicated to making the world a more accessible place for the neurodivergent community. If you would like to access our free resources, click here. Or if you would like to learn more about our student offer, follow this link. Our phone lines are always open if you need any guidance or advice.