Student Support Spotlight: Disability Advisory Service

In this month’s Student Support Spotlight, Assistant Disability Advisor Shaalinie Sivalingham outlines her own role within the Disability Advisory Service and how the team can support students with disabilities during their time at King’s. Shaalinie also fills us in on some of the special events and projects the team has been working on this year, in particular two events which aimed to ease the transition process for new students and help them make the most of their time at KCL.

I am one of three Assistant Disability Advisers (ADA) based in the Disability Advisory Service (DAS).  To find out more about DAS, please do check out our service introduction video on King’s College London YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z_WedxQRwo.

As an ADA,  my priorities as are to be as easily accessible as possible to assist with quick queries such as disability funding and applying for Personal Examination Provisions, to promoting the range of internal support available such as on line resources and group study skills workshops.  In addition, I am here to meet with students who may wish to have a chat about study-related difficulties.  Starting in the New Year, we will be offering drop-in services across the four main campuses to help answer immediate concerns.  These will mainly take place in the library Pod spaces and more information can be found at:

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/disability/howwecanhelp/appointmentsdropins.aspx

I also work on transition and engagement projects.  During August and September, our service delivered two transition events for incoming disabled students.  The first event took place at the end of August and supported students who had declared a mental health condition or autistic spectrum condition.  Seventeen students came along during the day and took part in taster sessions delivered by King’s Sport, Wellbeing, mentoring services, with around ten experiencing a night in student accommodation and enjoyed an evening social event.   This gave students the opportunity to reflect on living away from home.

DAS healthy snacking

Session on healthy snacking delivered by the Nutrition and Dietetics Society at our transition event

The later transition event invited incoming mobility or sight-impaired students to settle into their halls of residence up to a week ahead of the main enrolment period.  The two day programme included a student ambassador-led alternative campus tour, a library induction from the disability lead, interactive activities introduced by Ben Hunt, President of KCLSU and led by three societies; Dietetics and Nutrition, Magic and Hypnosis and Drama Improvisation!  Representatives from Transport for London Mentoring Service accompanied students to Blackfriars Station and shared the accessible features available and their top tips for navigating around London. The Royal London Society for Blind People gave a talk on using access technology and shared details of their London based social groups.  The option to access early enrolment was offered to both groups.

DAS umbrellas

A wet alternative campus tour led by the Student Ambassadors. We were warmed up by complementary coffee provided by Fleet Street Press!

At King’s we have approximately 2,745 students who identify as having a disability.  Just to clarify, disability for us includes students with long term medical or mental health             conditions and specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.  If you have a diagnosed condition and are experiencing difficulties but have yet to engage with the team, please do contact us to discuss possible support options to help with your engagement with your course.  Similarly, if you are experiencing difficulties with your studies, come and discuss the barriers to your engagement to see if there may be support solutions that will help.  I like to think that we are a friendly team and we offer confidential appointments in person, by telephone and Skype!

If you have questions about anything covered in this blog or you would like to share your experience of accessing support with us, please contact me through phone 020 78488571, email, disability@kcl.ac.uk.   Alternatively, if you happen to be near to the Strand Campus, pop into our office which is located within Student Services, floor minus 1, Macadam Building or come along to a drop in.

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