Fri May 09, 2008 7:13 pm
Sat May 10, 2008 5:45 pm
Disclosing my disability before I even applied to Cambridge made all the difference for me.
Sun May 11, 2008 10:37 pm
Mon May 12, 2008 2:17 pm
My needs assessment was just a long interview, in which a very nice and understanding man talked to me about my areas of difficulty and the best ways to overcome them. He prepared a report on the things that my tutors could do to help me in lectures, etc. and what equipment I ought to have to make studying easier. Whoever assesses you will have read your medical reports in detail before you go to the assessment, so they won't do any new tests with you.
I don't think you sound demanding at all - those requests are perfectly reasonable. Bear in mind that universities are used to accommodating people with extremely severe physical disabilities. There's a boy here at Cambridge who is partially paralysed and wheelchair-bound. He needs somebody to wash him in the morning and help him brush his teeth. If you just state what you need simply and honestly I don't think that anybody would assume you were being pushy - they're more used to providing support than we are to receiving it.
Mon May 12, 2008 5:47 pm
Mon May 12, 2008 6:04 pm
I've never heard of lectures, tutorials or seminars going on longer than two hours.
Mon May 12, 2008 8:26 pm
Mon May 12, 2008 8:50 pm
Mon May 12, 2008 10:47 pm
Tue May 13, 2008 6:43 pm
k9ruby wrote:Thanks, I like to know whats going to happen before I do it! Out of interest, is it possible to have both a laptop and a dictaphone at uni- also how long are lectures/seminars?
I'm just worried that although a laptop is fantastic if you are talking max. of 3 hours, but I'm worried either my hands will get tired or I'll start to forget crucial things if it goes over that....
That sounds reasurring! I'm a bit worried at using kitchen items idependently... (I have left the gas on before, dropped boiling objects, spilt stuff, you get the jist!) and often need reminding to do things, e.g. get washed...
If you don't mind me asking, what support did you ask for, and how much did they allow and how you went about doing it?
I also was offered at the open day a personal mentor to help keep me organised... (well, if they like a challenge !! )
I'm also quite worried about my sense of direction, both in and around the campus- how did you overcome this? (assuming you have problems with it aswell!).
Solent reasured me by telling me that they have 600 registered dyspraxic or dyslexic people and apparently are known for their great support....sounds promising!!
Tue May 13, 2008 7:39 pm
It is possible for the people in charge of allocating DSA to give you both a laptop and a dictaphone, depending on what they think would be best for you. However, it can be difficult to get permission to use a dictaphone in lectures, as the lecture material is copyrighted. You may have to promise never to sell the tapes or share their contents with a group. In Cambridge some of the faculties get you to make this promise in writing, but this may just be because they are very eminent academics and people are actually willing to pirate and plagiarise their spoken work.
In the English Faculty here, none of the lectures are longer than fifty minutes. However, it's common to have to go to two lectures back-to-back. Then it does get tiring to type. I went to lectures in first year (I don't any more, due to problems with mental health) and if I got fatigued I would listen rather than type and compile any necessary notes afterward. Classes are different from lectures and can be up to two hours in length, but they are held in small groups and are much more interactive - when I go to a class I'm more likely to find myself having a discussion than listening and taking notes. Of course, it may be different at your university. You'd better check.
My college is catered, so I don't have to cook. It might be worth looking to see if it is possible to find catered accommodation for you within the university. If not, ask for a referral to an occupational therapist for help with acquiring the basic practical and safety skills needed to cook. My OT did this with me and she also gave me a lot of specially adapted kitchen equipment that I find extremely helpful when I do prepare food for myself - something that I will have to do on a regular basis once I've left Cambridge.
Cambridge is a collegiate university, so it doesn't have a campus. It has lots of colleges when students are lodged, fed, and taught in small groups, plus faculties devoted to different subjects where we have our lectures and seminars. I deliberately chose a college that was right next to my faculty (I would be able to see the English Faculty from the college garden, assuming the trees and the Divinity Faculty weren't in the way) so that I wouldn't have to go wandering about the city in search of lectures or my accommodation. As your university is campus-based as opposed to collegiate, the best thing that you could do is to ask for accommodation that is close to your main place of study or else get your mentor to accompany you to lectures at the beginning of the day. I had a mentor for the first two years, and that is the sort of thing that they can help with.
Make sure, however, that you are given a professional adult mentor and not just another student. Peer mentors can be great, but they are doing this work voluntarily out of the goodness of their hearts and they aren't properly trained to understand dyspraxia. I had a peer mentor to help me settle in and make friends. She helped me assiduously for the whole of the first term, even sending me a nice letter before I arrived at Cambridge to make me feel welcome, but by the start of the second term she seemed to assume that I had found my feet and withdrew from me. She wasn't to know that it takes me quite a long time to make friends and settle in, and of course she couldn't spend her whole time helping me - she was in the year above and had friends and activities of her own. If you do get a peer mentor, make sure they are ready to learn a bit about the nature and extent of your difficulties before they volunteer to work with you. I found a professional mentor much more helpful, as she was already used to working with autistic students and had a good grasp of what I was likely to need.
I also attend a support group for autistic students. I don't know if there is such a group where you are going, but you could enquire.
That does sound good. Smile Best of luck.
Mon May 19, 2008 5:29 pm
Mon May 19, 2008 5:51 pm
Mon May 19, 2008 8:58 pm
Mon May 19, 2008 9:31 pm