Chloe: My experience as a disabled student at Herts
Hi! My name is Chloe. I am currently studying BSc Psychology and work as an Ambassador for the University of Herts and SCO for LMS. I am diagnosed with an invisible disability called Autism, and I am also diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD).
For those of you who are unsure of what Autism is, Autism is a developmental disability caused by many differences in the brain and how it functions. Everyone who has Autism is different and experiences different things. For example, I have sensory issues with how things sound, which can be overwhelming. In addition, I find it difficult to make eye contact and adjust to new routines. I was diagnosed when I was 10 years old, and I have come to embrace it since it makes me who I am, and I am proud of it!
I feel like, when I came to the university, seeing the diversity of all the staff and students helped me to embrace who I am further and further and has helped shape me into the student I have always wanted to be. I have had a lot of support and assistance from the University of Hertfordshire from when I settled in until now, and I am here to tell you about the support you can get if you have a disability too.
I found out that there was a therapy dog, Poppy, on College Lane, which made me super happy, as I have a passionate interest in animals (especially dogs). It's really easy to book a session with her. She can really help if you feel down, overwhelmed or anxious. I tend to get anxious quite a lot so, it was definitely the right choice for me.
Aside from this, I work as a Widening Access and Student Success (WASS) ambassador. I have had a lot of support from the staff, where we talk about my condition and what I need.
The staff across the University are always here to help too, if you're not looking for formal support and you just want to talk to someone. The wellbeing team, offers support such as counselling options, a 24/7 helpline and events, which I have found very helpful.
There are even more ways you can get support during your time here. Another, I would include, is the financial support you can get from the Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). Whether you're a full-time undergraduate student or a part-time post-graduate student, you can apply for this! This allowance provides you with up to £26,291 for support including specialist equipment such as a computer, travel assistance and any other support you may need.
Everyone at Herts is welcoming to all students from different backgrounds and experiences. I believe that my experience so far has been very inclusive. It feels like home for me. I have loved every minute of my experience here and the support has made it even better.