Carrie writes about her experience as a disabled student going to a university

My name is Carrie Aimes and I graduated in 2011 with a BA (Hons) Art & Design and English Literature. During my studies, I chose to commute from home, rather than accessing university accommodation, as this was easier for me.

Though ideally, I would have preferred to study elsewhere, I attended my local university, situated only an hour away. This was a practical decision based on my personal care needs.

“I utilised my note-taking assistants in other ways – mainly as baggage carriers – since I studied art!”

My Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) funded wheelchair accessible taxi transportation, as well as brand new IT equipment.

Though the university did not offer PA services, they did provide “note-takers”. However, as I do not struggle with handwriting, I utilised my note-taking assistants in other ways – mainly as baggage carriers, since I studied art!

University life presented many challenges to me, as a non-ambulatory wheelchair-user. Certain teaching spaces were inaccessible, taxis were often late and unreliable, at times there was a lack of communication and understanding of my needs, and socialising was difficult since I was unable to drive –  everything I do requires planning. I couldn’t spontaneously go out drinking for the evening.

“However, it is now almost a decade since I graduated, and I am aware that support for disabled students has greatly improved.”

However, it is now almost a decade since I graduated, and I am aware that support for disabled students has greatly improved.

If I were to go back, I would definitely reconsider my choices, ask more questions, and not opt for my local university purely through practicality.

Carrie Aimes (BA Hons)
Disability & Lifestyle Blogger: A link to Carrie’s wonderful blog is below.

http://www.lifeontheslowlane.co.uk/

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