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How we can help

At Birkbeck we welcome students with disabilities. Our commitment is to help you meet the challenges and seize the opportunities that study at Birkbeck presents.

About the Disability Office

We aim to provide all of our students with a study environment that enables them to participate fully in our courses.

What we do

  • Our staff are experienced, understanding and welcoming. We are here to support you during your Birkbeck experience and to enable you to access a studying environment that suits your needs and allows you to fulfil your potential.
  • We handle the following:
    • arranging support and recommendations/referrals for support with other departments for students with disabilities
    • arranging support and recommendations that the College may make to ensure that you are not substantially disadvantaged as a result of your disability
    • helping you to apply for support, including the Disabled Students' Allowance.

Who we support

  • If you have a condition that impacts on your ability to study, we are here to provide you with advice and support. We are experienced in providing support to students with a range of conditions, including: 
    • specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
    • sensory impairments (such as blind/partially sighted, deaf/hearing impaired)
    • mobility conditions (such as repetitive strain injury, arthritis, neck, back and knee conditions)
    • medical conditions (such as HIV, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, cancer, or chest and respiratory conditions)
    • autism spectrum conditions (such as autism or Asperger’s).

Disabled Students' Allowance

  • If you have a disability and are studying either an undergraduate or postgraduate course, you can apply for the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). The DSA is government funding to meet the cost of disability-related study costs, including help towards the purchase of a computer, supportive staff a non-medical helper (such as a note-taker, dyslexia tutor or a mentor), and additional travel costs.
  • Receiving the allowance makes it significantly more likely that you will complete your course and achieve grades that reflect your academic potential. 
  • The application process can take up to three months, so we advise you to apply once you have accepted your offer of a place on a course. The DSA is not means-tested, and you can apply at the same time as you apply for other student loans.
  • Once you have applied for your Disabled Students’ Allowance and Student Finance England has confirmed you are eligible, they will ask you to book a Needs Assessment to discuss your study needs and the demands of your course. You can arrange to have a Needs Assessment on campus. Doing this at Birkbeck means you’ll be able to speak to a needs assessor who has a detailed knowledge of the College. 

Birkbeck Access to Learning Fund

Additional funding support from Birkbeck

  • You are able to apply for financial support to contribute towards your studies. You can contact our Student Advice Centre by or on +44 (0)20 3907 0700.

Library and IT services - assistive technology

Restrooms and accessible toilets

  • If your condition means you need a safe space to rest between lectures, we have a restroom on the fourth floor of Birkbeck's main building. Please ask a member of staff at reception for the key.  
  • We have accessible toilets in our buildings. Most require a RADAR key, which can be obtained from reception in any of our buildings. 

Emergency evacuation plan

  • In the event of an emergency evacuation, we want to be able to support you. If you have a disability that delays your recognition of the fire alarm or your response to it, please contact Health and Safety Services by email or on +44 (0)20 7631 6218 to arrange a personal emergency evacuation plan. We operate a vibrating pager alert system for deaf staff and students in the main Birkbeck building. If an alarm sounds, these pagers will activate automatically.