What is a needs assessment and how do I arrange this?
If you qualify for a Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA) you will receive a letter (DSA1) from your funding body asking you to arrange a DSA Needs Assessment. The Needs Assessment is an informal meeting to help decide on the specialist, DSA-funded support that will meet your particular needs. The session will last around 2 hours during which you will be able to take a break if required. The Needs Assessment Centre will tell you what to bring with you.
Here are the steps involved:
- Locate your nearest quality assured (DSA-QAG accredited) Needs Assessment Centre (see Disabled Students Allowances Quality Assurance Group) and make an appointment.
- Attend the needs assessment. The Needs Assessor will discuss your learning difficulty or disability and how it affects your learning. You will be able to see, and possibly try, some specialist equipment. The Needs Assessor will answer questions and explain any recommendations.
- The assessor will write a Needs Assessment Report which will list and justify any recommended Assistive Technology and specialist support; how much it will cost; where to get it from and any specialist training you may need to make best use of the technology.
- The information you give the needs assessor and the report they write will be treated as confidential in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
- You can expect the Needs Assessment Centre to send you the report in about 10 working days. They will also send a copy of the report to your funding provider and if you agree, they will send a copy to your Disability or Learning Support Keyworker.
- Wait for approval from your funding provider. They will send you an entitlement letter (DSA2), telling you what they will pay for and how to order your equipment and services. Sometimes the funding provider may refuse to agree to some of the assessor’s recommendations. If this happens, you will need to contact the Needs Assessment Centre.
For more information about Needs Assessments, go to Your DSA Needs Assessment