Student Disability Service

Information for parents and family carers

Background information to help parents and family carers of students access relevant help and support at the University.

Please be aware that support arrangements do not happen automatically!

The best thing you can do is to encourage the student to make contact with the Student Disability Service as soon as possible.  It can often be helpful to discuss any issues or concerns before applying to study at the University.  Otherwise, your young person should be encouraged to speak to someone in the Student Disability Service as near to the start of the semester as possible.

The transition from school

Often the parents/family carers of young people with a disability or unseen health condition ( e.g. M.E., mental health conditions) have had to work closely with the school to ensure appropriate support is put in place.  Similarly, for young people with Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (AD(H)D), or Asperger Syndrome, family carers are likely to have been very involved in their child’s education.  We realise that sometimes family carers have had a struggle to have the needs of their young people recognised and adequately supported.  However, once they have left school, most students are regarded as being in charge of their own support.  This means that we cannot respond directly to family carers, and can only work with the student.

What can parents and family carers do to help?

The transition to university is a big step for all students, but particularly for those with additional support requirements.  It can be difficult to find out what needs to be done and the appropriate times to do so.  We want to ensure that every student is adequately supported, and hope that you (and they) find the information on our website helpful.

Although we are pleased to give general advice, it is best if the student contacts the Student Disability Service to discuss their support requirements.

Who can I speak to for information?

We are happy to provide general background information to family carers.  However, we are bound by Data Protection Law and must respect a student’s confidentiality.  This means that we cannot discuss your young person’s progress with you unless we have written permission from them to do so. Even with the student's permission this will be at the discretion of the Advisor at the Student Disability Service.

Information for parents/guardians and carers attending student appointments

Parents, guardians and carers are welcome to accompany their student to our offices and with the student’s permission may attend the first 10-15 minutes of the student’s appointment.  However it is generally recommended that students attend appointments independently unless there are exceptional circumstances precluding the student from doing so.

What can I do if I have serious concerns about my young person’s wellbeing?

If you are worried that your young person is not coping well with their studies, and you consider they are seriously unwell, please advise them to contact their GP in the first instance.  You can also encourage them to come to the Student Disability Service to speak to an Advisor.  The links below might also provide helpful background information, depending on the specific circumstances.