I’ve had migraines my whole life. But when I was 14, these migraines went from once or twice a year to every single day. I’ve tried several medications, doctors, MRI’s and have been diagnosed and misdiagnosed. But still, 4 years later, I am suffering from this chronic illness. This made A levels a really difficult challenge, but I was determined to manage my disability the best I could and work as hard as possible. Then, I was accepted onto a course at the University of York; somewhere I was really proud to go to.
Student Support Plan
As exciting starting a new chapter at university was, all I could think about was how scared I was to manage my disability all by myself. Especially without my parents. Yet I soon found out that I was accepted by a university that would support me from the get-go.
Before I even arrived, I was able to have a phone call with a disability officer. They set up a Student Support Plan with me. This outlined all the academic support I would need regarding attendance, extra time for deadlines and exams and more. This was more support than I ever received in secondary school and has been a big help. While my Student Support Plan isn’t a cure-all, it’s made the world of difference to my time here. Managing my disability at university has been difficult; dealing with freshers flu on top of your already existing chronic illness is tough! However, with the extra support, I’ve been able to manage things much more effectively.
Disabled Students’ Allowance
I also have Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) in place. I was really nervous about this process, but it was easier than I was expecting. All I needed was a letter of evidence from my neurologist and a needs assessment done by my student finance funding body. This allowed for equipment to be allocated to support my disability, such as a laptop. I was also given software that helps with note-taking (which can be a challenge when I’m suffering from a migraine). You can contact Disability Services at the university if you have any questions about this process.
Get the support you need
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you have any sort of disability, chronic illness or long-term health condition. Whether it’s physical, mental or both; services are there to help you and support you. The idea of managing my disability at university was so much scarier than the reality. I’m sure I’ll still have challenges ahead – but I’m also sure there will always be support there to help me.
Need to know more about what support is available at York? Check out some of our other student blogs.