We reached out to Zoe, a Disability Advisor in the university, to find out more about the disability support on offer at Goldsmiths…
First things first, what can your team help with?
We’re here to support disabled students with specific learning difficulties, long-term health conditions, autism, physical and mobility issues, mental health and sensory impairments. We provide advice and guidance on reasonable adjustments and then coordinate support. Basically we’re here to remove any barriers you have to learning so that you can achieve your full potential.
How can students make an appointment with your team?
It’s really straightforward. You can make an appointment online - go to the Goldsmiths website and search for Disability. Our website will come up, and you can book an appointment there. You can also send us an email with your availability at firstname.lastname@example.org
How many students currently access disability support?
This year we’ve sent out 626 RASAs (Reasonable Adjustments). A RASA is a support plan that communicates any adjustments that a student might need to their department, to their accommodation and also to the library to make sure that they get the extended loans they need.
Are you busier at certain points in the year?
Our peak time is the autumn term, because new students are starting and setting up their support. The best thing to do in order to avoid this is to get in touch with the Disability Service before the start of the academic year.
How many students at Goldsmiths are registered with a disability?
This is a bit of a tricky thing to get stats on, because not all students disclose disabilities. At Goldsmiths we’ve got a pretty good disclosure rate, higher than the national average - and we’ve had 802 student appointments this year.
For those students who have dyslexia or dyspraxia, what advice and support can you offer?
First off, we provide screening if students suspect they have dyslexia or dyspraxia, but haven’t got a formal diagnosis. This happens a lot. The screening form is on our website. We can go through the form with you if that would be easier - you just need to book an appointment. If it seems likely that you do have a particular learning difficulty, we will give you a proper assessment. This costs £350, but you only have to pay £90 because the Disability Service covers the rest. We also help UK students to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance, which can include a whole range of support like software and technology. For international students we fund other requirements like tuition, but this is decided on a case-by-case basis, working with each student to determine what would be the most helpful.
Is there a long waiting list?
No, generally you’ll be contacted within two weeks. The only time there might be a wait of longer than that is in the autumn term. If you’ve got an urgent question, email us - we try to get back as quickly as possible, usually within a few days.
Do students need to provide lots of medical history and evidence in order to get support?
No, most of the time we don’t need your entire medical history. Usually we just need confirmation of your diagnosis and its impact on you, and any medication you might be taking. That’s important to make sure we take into consideration the side effects it has on you. We’ve got a form on the website which you can give to your GP to fill in - it’s very straightforward. For dyslexic and dyspraxic students, we do need a full diagnostic report, as I mentioned before. Of course, if you’re concerned about the type of evidence you’ll need to provide, don’t worry - we break it down on the website.
Is there funding available through the university to help with studying while living with a disability?
The main source is the DSA, and it’s provided by Student Finance England. It’s not means tested in any way and doesn’t affect any other financial support or benefits you might be getting.
Everyone is individually assessed and then the best type of support for you is recommended. It could be a mentor figure to check in with, or some important equipment like a printer if you struggle to read text on a screen.