Demystifying the Process of Engaging with the Disability and Dyslexia Service in Higher Education

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This paper reflects upon a recent collaboration between students and staff on the Creative and Therapeutic Arts degree and the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) at the University of South Wales, where students raised concerns about challenges in accessing specialist support for their learning. As is commonly noted on creative courses a relatively high percentage of students on this degree identify as experiencing additional or specific learning needs. As part of a pastoral support initiative, it was recognised that a high percentage of students were eager to engage with DDS but perceived that they had experienced difficulties in doing so. By establishing monthly meetings between the Course Leader and the Manager of DDS, and consulting student records, with students’ full consent, it emerged that there was a significant misunderstanding between students, academic staff and support staff about the process of engaging with DDS and securing specialist support. The collaboration between students, Course Leader and DDS Manager unearthed that, as well as differing perceptions of disability, there was a significant lack of accessible guidance for engaging with this process, echoing the Welsh Assembly Government’s findings that complexity was a barrier to engagement with such provision nationally (WAG, 2017). As a result, an infographic was created to guide students and staff through the complex process of engaging with DDS to secure specialist support. The intention is that this resource will support students, academic staff, support staff and colleagues in other departments to understand the process involved in accessing specialist support and thus support students in this important journey.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-58
JournalJournal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education
Issue number10.1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019


  • disability
  • inclusion
  • higher education
  • ableism
  • support
  • specific learning difficulties


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