Dysautonomy. Coeliac disease. Dyspraxia. Dyslexia. What do they all have in common? Answer: Immanuel Masih, a second-year Computer Games Technology student at ARU.
Coping with any one of these conditions would be tough on a university student, but Immanuel’s positivity and drive to overcome these so-called ‘shortfalls’ is awe-inspiring. Only diagnosed in his late teens, Immanuel endured a secondary education being bullied by his peers; stuck with incorrect labels by his teachers for his shortcomings in class.
Although he may have failed to impress in his written exams and coursework, Immanuel proved his intelligence by scoring highly in his science subjects. Not a particular favourite of his, he explains, “But it was multiple choice so all I had to do was circle the right answer!”
Having battled through to college, Immanuel managed to pass and was accepted into university in the Midlands. Here, his conditions were finally recognised but it was too late to make amends and Immanuel was dealt the crushing blow of failing his first year.
With no job and without a place to live, he couch-surfed and sometimes sleep rough.
At ARU, Immanuel has finally received the support he needed. He intends to run his own company once he graduates, developing games that can help others with disabilities.
Immanuel was approached by the Prince’s Trust and, from the quiet victim of bullying and debilitating physical and mental disabilities who would stutter whenever he spoke, he became an ambassador there, contributing to interviews and public speaking events.
Through the charity, Immanuel seized the opportunity to visit PlayStation London where he met the software team and the Vice President of PlayStation Europe, an experience which only served to feed his ambition to work in the gaming industry. With his confidence restored, Immanuel decided to give university another try.
At ARU Immanuel finally received the support he needed, from extra time and a private room for exams to a Student Support counsellor who he meets periodically. He also received computer equipment to help him manage his disabilities, such as software that allows him to read with a darker background, which helps with his dyslexia.
Based in Compass House in Cambridge, with its dedicated computer science and gaming labs, Immanuel spends much of his time with like-minded people, none of whom have singled him out for being 'different' or treated him as anything other than an ordinary student.
Immanuel, inherently a generous and selfless soul, intends to run his own gaming company eventually, developing games that are educational and that can help others with disabilities.
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