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Attending university with a disability

Personal account of university from the perspective of a student with a disability
photo of a room containing a number of computers with 3 students working at them and 2 people supporting them
© University of Reading

In this Step, you’ll read an account from a current student on their experience of the application process and the support that they received both during the application process and after they started at university.

I’m a current student at the University of Reading and I suffer from a chronic pain condition, Depression and Anxiety. When deciding to come to University I was initially unsure of what help I could receive and how I would access it.
After exploring my options, when it came to submitting my application on UCAS I was also able to apply for Additional Disability Funding.
When the University of Reading confirmed my place, I received an email about attending a Disability day at the University, where me and my family could come to learn what help was on offer, how I could access it and for them to ease some anxiety about being away from home. When I attended with my mum and sister, I was surprised by how much thought the University had put into the day. I learnt a lot and it eased my anxiety and my mums too.
Advice that I would give to parents is to attend the Disability day. It’s really useful and they even have a separate talk just for parents so you can say all your worries without your young person getting embarrassed.
You can also email or phone to discuss any disability before your young person arrives to address anything you think may be an issue.
While at university, students can have regular meetings with their disability officer and they really do keep an eye on you. I’ve been able to have weekly meetings with a specialist mentor and/or an academic mentor. I know it’s your job to worry, but with all the support on offer, your young person is in good hands.
Since arriving at Reading, the services through Disability Advisory Service and the University have helped me immensely. There are so many good things I could say, but the things that stand out are:
  • Helping me stay on track with my studies
  • Picking me up from A&E multiple times because I’m so accident-prone
  • Liaising with my department in regards to my needs
  • Giving me extra time, rest breaks and a room on my own for exams
  • Having someone to turn to when all you want to do is vent
The Disability Advisory Sevice continue to help me into my third year and I am so grateful for all the support they have given me. The University of Reading has helped me achieve things I never thought I would, and I am proud of the services they have to offer.
© University of Reading
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A Parent and Supporter’s Guide to University Entry

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