Ai-Media: 5 Things That All Deaf Students Need to Know About University in the UK

Posted on March 19, 2016

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This article has been posted courtesy of our supporter, Ai-Media.

So you’ve finished school (congrats!), and now it’s time for university.

You may be thinking that this is pretty daunting, especially as working out the best way to receive access to lecture content can be new territory for deaf and hard-of-hearing students just starting university.

Graduating from secondary school to higher education as also involves immense class sizes, lesson content with much greater complexity, and students are often left to fend for themselves.

Well, we’ve got a few must-know tips on how you can receive accessible content and be on a level playing field as you begin your journey at university!

  1. Options, Options, and More Options

It’s 2016, and you no longer have to struggle to access your own education!

There’s a whole range of different methods for accessing university content for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

These include note takers, sign language interpreters, transcribers, and live captioning.

The only option we’re still waiting on is a direct telepathic connection between you and the lecturer.

  1. What do we want? Access! When do we want it? Now!

Simply put: nothing beats the power of real-time access. For as-it-happens access, you can’t compete with sign language interpreters and live captioning.

It’s immediate access that allows you to follow along with the pace of the lecture.

But which do you choose? Like picking what kind of coffee you’d like from the way-too-many options available nowadays, this comes down to your personal preference.

  1. Mo’ access, mo’ money, mo’ problems.

“Accessible content sounds great, but gaining access to the spoken word can be expensive!” you say.

Well, don’t tell anyone, but I hear that the government has set aside some funding that can help you out.

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) provides government funding for university students living in the UK who have a disability.

For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, this means that you’ll be able to use DSA funding of up to £20,725 a year to pay for accessibility services.

  1. How about lecture recordings and chill?

What happens if you’re too sick (*cough* hungover *cough*) to make it to a lecture?

Sure, there’s a recording of the lecture that you can watch online. But wait, it’s not closed captioned (subtitled).

Most lecture capture platforms that universities use have the capability to have closed captions uploaded to video recordings.

So, it may be in your best interest to bring this to the attention of your disability advisor to request this.

  1. Your opinion matters!

You want live captioning? Good! You want sign language interpreters? Cool.

You want a telepathic connection? Well…. not yet!

The point is, you have options of what accessibility support you want to use and you have a say in what you’d prefer.

It’s your education and your DSA funding, and it’s up to you to take the first step in taking control of your education and making it an inclusive experience!

The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.

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