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Frequently Asked Questions

Student in library

We've put together a list of frequently asked questions for students who want to find out more about the Anglia Access Centre and our services. If you have any questions which aren't listed below please contact us and we'll help you.

FAQs for students

Do I need to pay for the assessment myself?

The fee for your Study Needs Assessment will be deducted from your DSA, you do not have to pay anything yourself. The funding body (e.g Student Finance) will pay the assessment centre.

How should I send the documents to you; can I send photos?

Yes you can email scanned copies or send photos of your documents to us, providing they are clear to read.

What happens during the assessment?

The study needs assessment is a discussion between you and the assessor about the difficulties you are experiencing or expect to face during your course due to your disability/ies.

Depending on your difficulties, the assessor may demonstrate assistive software or equipment that could be used as part of your DSA support.

The assessor will discuss the recommendations with you and identify which are the most appropriate for your needs to help you overcome your difficulties.

The assessment lasts approximately one - two hours. There are no tests or medical assessments.

Can I bring someone into the assessment with me?

The assessment is normally conducted on a one-to-one basis unless there is a specific need for you to be accompanied. However, the decision lies solely with the person being assessed. If you choose to have someone accompany you, the assessor will primarily communicate with you, not the person accompanying you. There are cafe facilities close to all our Centres for anyone who accompanies you on the journey.
Unless you are under the age of 18 years, no-one can insist on accompanying you into the assessment.

Can I get course related software?

No, the DSA does not fund course related requirements. You should contact your course tutor to discuss your needs.

Can I park at the assessment location?

Parking varies depending on the location. Please refer to the Find Us page for detailed information. If you are a blue badge holder please inform us when booking your appointment and we will arrange accessible parking.

Does it matter if I haven't had my Needs Assessment prior to starting my course?

This really depends on the nature and severity of your disability. If you are visually impaired, hearing impaired, or have severe mobility difficulties then it is recommended that you get your assessment done before your course starts. The recommendations are likely to be vital from day one.

Don't delay things longer than you have to, as it is good for you to have all of your support in place before starting. If you start your course and realise that you need additional arrangements, it is not too late. The Disability Officer at your Institution can advise you on how to organise amendments to your recommendations.

Does the DSA cover personal care costs?

No, the DSA does not cover personal care costs, if you need personal care you need to contact the Social Services team responsible for your HOME address. They will then send a referral to the team at your term address.

Haven't I already had a dyslexia test?

This was most likely an Educational Psychologist Assessment to formally diagnose your Specific Learning Difficulty and measure your strengths and weaknesses. The needs assessment does not diagnose any conditions but uses the information in your medical evidence and from the discussion you will have with the assessor and apply it to the demands your course in order to identify a set of recommendations and strategies tailored to your particular needs to allow you to perform to your abilities and succeed on your course.

How long before I get any recommended equipment or help?

The length of time between a DSA Assessment and receiving any recommended equipment or help can vary. It often depends on the time of year. The busiest period for equipment suppliers and trainers is June - October.

What happens to the equipment once I finish my course?

The DSA is a grant. You own the equipment and you take the equipment with you when you finish your studies.
If you do not feel a need to keep the equipment after the end of your course, you can donate it to your university's support team so that they can use it to support students who are not eligible for the DSA.

What happens to the information collected about me?

The Anglia Access Centre operates under the Data Protection Act 2018.
For your application to proceed, it will be necessary for us to write a report for your funding body. This will contain your personal details and details of your disability and its effects on your studies. To assist you, we usually send the Disability Officer / Adviser at your College or University a copy of the report. However, if you do not want us to do this, you can tell us at the time of your assessment. In that case, only you and your funding body will receive a copy of the report.
Once your assessment is complete, all your paperwork is scanned and stored on a secure server. All paper based documents are securely shredded. We keep your data for 6 years from the end date of your course (as indicated at the time of assessment) and then destroy it securely. If you require further information on our data protection policy then please contact the Centre.

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Why hasn't my equipment been delivered?

It is your responsibility to order the equipment once your funding body has agreed the recommendations. You will need to contact the supplier identified in your approval letter. All contact details are included in the letter from your funding body. Do not order any equipment until you receive the approval letter, the DSA will not reimburse costs incurred prior to the issue date of the approval letter.

What if my needs or course requirements change during my studies?

If you find that your disability has changed or the structure of your course is amended, you should contact your Disability Officer to discuss how to proceed.

Will I be asked to pay the money back?

No. The DSA is a grant not a loan. The only time you would be required to pay anything back is if you received equipment/support before starting your course and then you did not attend university. If this situation occurs your funding body will contact you to discuss the options available to you.

Will there be any tests?

No, there are no tests involved during the assessment process.

FAQs for diagnosis

Can the DSA pay for the cost of a diagnosis?

No. The DSA cannot be used to pay for diagnosis or the charges made by GPs to produce letters.

How do I get an autistic spectrum disorder diagnosis?

You can ask your GP for a referral for this but this can be a long process. Search the National Autistic Society directory for private clinics and practitioners near you who may be able to offer diagnostic services.

I need to get a SpLD test, where can I go?

In order to claim the DSA for a Specific Learning Difficulty, you need to have a diagnostic report written by a qualified professional. Guidance on what qualifications are required can be found in section 10.1 of the 2019/20 DSA Guidance (New Students) (p69). A copy of this can be found at practitioners.slc.co.uk/policy

If you do not already have an eligible diagnosis, your current college may have a specialist teacher who is able to undertake this for you. If not, you can find a list of educational psychologists at www.bps.org.uk

I need to have a visual stress test, what do I do?

Visual Stress is also known as: Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, or Asfedia. It is a perceptual processing disorder. It is not an optical problem but a problem with the brain's ability to process visual information. It is usually corrected by use of coloured overlays or tinted glasses and is common in people who have a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD), such as Dyslexia. However, you can have Visual Stress without having an SpLD.

Student Finance England no longer recognises this condition as attracting funding via the DSA. Other funding bodies may still accept the condition. If you need a diagnosis you can find a list of Optometrists at: ceriumvistech.com/how-to-get-assessed/find-your-local-specialist/

Do not purchase any overlays or tinted glasses until after your DSA needs assessment. The DSA will NOT reimburse for costs incurred before the assessment.

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FAQs for parents

Can I attend the needs assessment with my son/daughter?

The assessment is normally conducted on a one-to-one basis unless there is a specific need for an escort/helper. However, the decision lies solely with the person being assessed. If your son/daughter chooses to have you accompany them, the assessor will primarily communicate with your son/daughter.

Unless your son/daughter is under the age of 18 years, you cannot insist on accompanying them into the assessment.

There are cafe facilities close to all our Centres, if you just wish to accompany them on the journey.

Can I book an appointment for my son/daughter?

Yes you can. You will need access to the following information:

  • the medical evidence approved by their funding body
  • the letter from the funding body confirming their agreement to a needs assessment
  • their contact details (mobile phone and email)
  • their timetable

All correspondence will be sent to your son/daughter.

Can I represent my son/daughter after the assessment?

The Data Protection Act (DPA) does not allow us to discuss or share information about a student's DSA with any third party without written consent from the student. This includes parents and partners. If your son/daughter wishes for you to represent them or be copied into communications, then they will have to provide us with written consent to share; this can be done during the assessment.