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Two Stories Of Studying At Uni With A DisAbility

June 1, 2010

From Guardian letters:

As one of the campaigners who carried out the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s investigation into disability awareness at university, I read Afua Hirsch and Alice Lagnado’s article with interest (Victims of the tick-box approach, 25 May).

I am a law graduate from Brunel University. I had to leave two other universities before completing this course. I have spinal muscular atrophy, which means I am a wheelchair user. The problems I encountered at my first two universities ranged from segregation of disabled students into one cut-off part of halls to using different lecture hall entrances from other students, to unsupportive disability officers.

What really made the difference for me at Brunel University was the clear investment they had made in putting together an integrated support service. Their disability officers were extremely helpful, access was good and all staff were well briefed in how to make the university experience for those with a disability as good as any other student’s.

Investment in a good disability support service is essential to student retention, and so I urge all universities to make this investment now.

Tanvi Vyas

Edgware, Middlesex, London

Thank you for this article. I am hoping to graduate in 2012, 10 years after first setting out to get a degree. After being thrown off my third degree course at the end of the last academic year I decided to complain to the university, to highlight the mistreatment I felt I had experienced. It helped me to realise that it wasn’t my fault that this had happened.

I have just finished my first year of yet another degree, and this time, at Sheffield Hallam, it’s going well. I am studying education and disability studies, which is highly rewarding as it is equipping me to go on to help others who are struggling through the system. It is only by my sheer determination that I am still fighting to get my degree, because of the support and understanding that I have finally received from tutors on my course.

Lucia Coello-Lage

Sheffield Hallam University

This post is part of the Inclusion Rules! debate at Same Difference.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. lucia permalink
    June 1, 2010 9:49 pm

    hi, thanks for adding my letter to your blog. I was very proud of its inclusion in the Guardian…



  2. samedifference1 permalink*
    June 2, 2010 1:50 am

    Hi Lucia

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. But most of all thank you for writing to such a well known newspaper and raising awareness of this very important issue.

    Best with your degree



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