Help urged for disabled students
Thursday 3rd October 2013, 6:20AM BST.
Universities are not doing enough to help disabled students on campus, a charity has claimed.
Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers, its young campaigners’ network, carried out a study into 100 UK universities and found that only half of them could confirm that all teaching rooms, study rooms and libraries were fully accessible for students who have mobility difficulties.
Half of the 100 universities said that not all inter-campus transport was accessible and only a quarter said they considered disabled students when planning information for freshers’ week.
Trailblazers’ University Challenge report also found that some institutions are failing to provide disabled students with vital information on accessible university accommodation or on how to get around campus, for those who use wheelchairs.
Tanvi Vyas, Trailblazers project manager, said: ” Flying the nest for university can be daunting for any student. It is really positive that an increasing number of disabled students are entering higher education.
“However, we continue to hear about how many universities are still missing the mark when it comes to helping people planning on entering higher education – and helping them to complete their time there.
” There are plenty of simple measures that universities can take. Providing inclusive freshers’ guides, handy information on accessible transport and buildings and support networks can all make a huge difference to students adapting to campus life.
“We also need the Government and local authorities to examine the issue of relocating care packages, which continues to be an enormous struggle for many students studying away from home.”
Recent graduate Matilda Ibini, 21, from east London, said her first year at London Metropolitan University was so difficult she considered dropping out.
She said: ” Information about support was mostly geared towards funding, care and equipment – it completely overlooked disabled students wanting to get stuck in to campus life like everyone else.
“To make matters worse, I went to my university through clearing and I was so worried about getting the right care and support in place, that I missed out on valuable social opportunities.
“In fact, it wasn’t until my third and final year that I actually felt like part of the university community. Going to university has definitely grown my confidence in my capabilities – it’s just such a shame that it took such a long time to get to that point.”