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How we can help

Coronavirus update

Our offices are closed, but we are still providing support. The following information addresses some of the main questions and concerns you may have about your studies during this time. 

appointments

  • We are currently offering telephone appointments, Monday to Friday, for students and applicants while our offices are closed. 
  • To book an appointment with your advisor, please  or call +44 (0) 20 3907 077.

Supporting medical evidence

  • You will still need supporting medical evidence for your disability, health condition or mental health condition. Please be aware that GPs, consultants and other NHS professionals may only be responding to emergency situations and queries at present.
  • If you have any concerns about getting supporting medical evidence, please or call +44 (0) 20 3907 0700.

Dyslexia or SpLD diagnosis

  • We are not currently offering screening for dyslexia or Specific Learning Difficulties. If you would like a screening, please so we can let you know once the screenings become available again.
  • Once you have been screened, we will then assist you in arranging a diagnostic assessment.

Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

  • You can still apply for a Disabled Students' Allowance through their website. 
  • Part-time or postgraduate students will need to email us the completed form so we can complete Section 5 and send it to Student Finance England. As DSA is administered by Student Finance England, we have no control over how long it will take for your support to be confirmed. It may take longer than usual. 
  • If you have concerns about being without support, please  or call +44 (0) 20 3907 0700.

Specialist computers from the DSA

  • If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your DSA-provided computer, please contact your computer supplier (details will be on your entitlement letter). They will provide remote support.
  • If you continue to experience problems, please arrange an appointment with your disability adviser.
  • If the problem cannot be resolved before your summer examinations, you should inform your department, read the no detriment policy and mitigating circumstances guidance, and complete the mitigating circumstances form
  • If you have a specialist computer from the DSA but have not received the assistive technology training, we strongly recommend contacting the training provider in your entitlement letter. Most providers are offering this training remotely, and it will be especially helpful whilst studying online. 

Low distraction home working station

  • Log in to your Moodle account for information on creating a low-distraction home working station.

Online class support

  • If you feel you are not able to fully access your online learning due to disability-related barriers, please to arrange an appointment with your disability adviser, or call +44 (0) 20 3907 0700.
  • If you are struggling due to IT-related issues, please look at the Knowledge Base which features a library of how-to documents and guides to help you get to grips with the core software and services provided by Birkbeck. 

Study skills support

  • If you have Specific Learning Difficulty study skills funded by the Disabled Students' Allowance, this can usually be provided remotely. You will need to contact your provider to check if this is possible.
  • If you have DSA-funded study skills support, but have not taken this up, we strongly recommend you do so. The study skills tutor can teach you strategies to enhance your ability to study online and support you as you prepare for your summer examinations. You should contact the provider on your entitlement letter to arrange the support. 

Additional support

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. 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.

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). If you are not in receipt of the Disabled Students' Allowance, but you can provide diagnostic evidence of your SpLD, we may be able to provide College-funded specialist study skills support. Email the Disability and Dyslexia Services team or call +44 (0) 20 3907 077 to make an appointment with an advisor.
    • 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

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  or call 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.