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Coventry University offering life changing support Coventry University’s Welfare and Disabilities Office enables students to succeed in what they want to achieve by providing them with the comprehensive support service they need. The team of 13 has been successfully assisting students with disabilities, aiming to create an environment where they will be able to fully participate in the educational and social activities that take place across the campus and around the city. Over 2,000 students with disabilities receive help from the office, which second year Journalism and Media student, Sarah-Jayne Collins, describes as ‘’life changing’’. Writes Radina Choleva…

As a hearing-impaired student, Sarah-Jayne initially struggled with not being able to navigate lip-reading and note taking at university. ‘’I went to them and they gave me loads of free equipment to help me. It works on a loop system that plays the speaker through my hearing aids so I can hear [them] no matter where I am.” ‘’They are doing an incredible job, it changes so many lives with the simplest of things’’, emphasised Sarah-Jayne.

The office is constantly working to improve its services by becoming more creative in supplying students with the help they need and organising events that would better their social and study life. One of these events, which was organised for the first time last year, was a pre-induction residential for students with disabilities which “was wonderful’’, said Debra Jackson, Disabilities Adviser at Coventry University. “They get all the students to get to meet their personal tutors, talk about Students Disabled Allowance, again before that first hectic week’’, she explained. Certain courses have pre-enrollment which is of vital importance to the students giving them the opportunity to adjust with greater ease.

Along with the organisation of different social events, last year the office launched the BASE program, which stands for: Befriending Autistic Students in Education. ‘’We are trying to buddy students with disabilities, as volunteers, with students who are on the autistic spectrum to provide them with the kind of social support that they wouldn’t necessarily get because students with autistic spectrum disorder don’t tend to mix socially’’, explained Debra, highlighting that: ‘’It’s given the students with disabilities some work experience, which is very difficult to get if you’ve got a disability’’. She said that the office enables students to succeed at university. ‘’We don’t do things for them. We empower them to do their degree. We make sure they are on a path and we give them what they need’’.

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