Tips for Deaf students at University

Kirsty Jade·6 December 2021·4 min read
Tips for Deaf students at University

Deaf students, it is that time for you to become independent and start university, and that independence comes with support for Deaf students at university, like yourself. Particularly since the pandemic has impacted how students are learning, having a drastic impact on Deaf students, making it even more important that you are aware of how you can be supported at university, what support you are entitled to, and how to look after your wellbeing.

Where do I start?

Before you even think of what university you will be going to, apply for your DSA (Disabled Students Allowance) funding up to 3-6 months in advance to avoid delays in getting your support allocated.

Once you have got your DSA and confirmed your university place, before beginning your first semester, you should be given the oppourtunity to meet the disability services team, or you can take the initiative to set up an introductory meeting. You can share what your needs are and how you expect them to be met and form your individualised support plan.

What type of support am I entitled to?

As a Deaf student under DSA (Disabled Students Allowance) you are entitled to a range of support, some types of support may be offered in-house at your university and others may be external, you do have the right to change your support providers through emailing the Disabled Students Allowance team or your advisor, if you are not satisfied with the support you receive.

Some examples of the type of support you can request are:

- British Sign Language interpreters

- Notetakers

- 1:1 English language support

- Specialist equipment (radio aids, laptop, a printer and more)

- Extra time to hold library books and alternate assignment strategies where appropriate

- Extra time in exams (25%)

Looking after your wellbeing and socialising at university

Being at university as a Deaf student can be isolating and have an impact on your wellbeing for many reasons. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed, you can contact your wellbeing team at university, if you are a BSL/SSE user or prefer to have a Deaf therapist, your university can signpost you toSignHealth or Deaf4Deaf.

One way for students to socialise at university is by joining societies, some universities have a British Sign Language society for BSL users or students wanting to learn sign language. However, for societies unrelated to Deafness, they may not be accessible to Deaf students, but one way of making positive change to include yourself and other Deaf students is to advocate for better accessibility in any society you join or you could even create your own society for Deaf students!

Likewise, you can engage with and join:

- Black Deaf UK

- Deaf Rainbow UK

- Deaf Muslim UK

- JDA (Jewish Deaf Association)

- UK Deaf Sports

- DEWA (Deaf Ethnic Women’s Association)

- EUDY (European Union for Deaf Youth)

- UEDY (Ubuntu European Deaf Youth)

You can also connect with the local Deaf centre, Deaf youth clubs near your university or the nearest city or connect with Deaf current or alumni university students online on #DeafTwitter or any other social media platforms to share your experiences, have a space where you can support each other and socialise.