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Specialist Support from Learning Services: Home

Do I need Specialist Support?

The transition to Higher Education can be very demanding, especially for those students who have previously relied on the support of their educators. Many students develop coping strategies while in compulsory education but sadly these strategies may no longer be adequate for the challenges of University.

It is sometimes the case that students develop such great coping mechanisms while at school that they can actually mask an underlying disability.

Although our aim is to encourage all students to move towards independence it may be necessary for a student to access specialist support. In Learning Services we are able to help those who struggle, particularly with understanding essay questions and assessment criteria. We can also help you to structure your essays and to write in a more academic style with correct referencing. If you need help please do not hesitate to make an appointment.

If you feel you may have an unseen disability we would encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. If you know you are working harder than others but your results are still lower than you expected, you may have a learning disability.

Everyone with a disability is affected differently, for example two people with dyslexia may have entirely different learning difficulties. In Learning Services we can tailor  the support we offer to each individual allowing every student to reach their own potential. Our support is flexible and on- going so please do not be afraid to get in touch

I know I have a learning disability - what do i do?

If you have already been diagnosed with a learning disability please go to see student services as soon as possible with a copy of your assessment report.

  • If you were diagnosed before 16 years of age you will need to have a new assessment. This can be organised through Student Services.
  • If you have a post 16 assessment student services will be able to put reasonable adjustments in place and will help you apply for DSA.

What if I think I have a learning disability?

Step 1

If you feel you may be at risk from having a learning disability please go to The Infozone and ask for an Adult Questionnaire.   Or talk to an Academic Skills Adviser who will be able to help. 

Step 2

Once you have completed the questionnaire please return the form to The Infozone. Your completed Questionnaire will be given to our specialists and they will email or call you to book a screening.

What is the difference between a screening and a full assessment?

A screening is carried out to establish whether or not you MAY have a Learning Disability and takes approximately an hour. If the Assessor feels there is enough to suggest you may be at risk, reasonable adjustments can be put in place. However you will not receive support from the DSA and you will not receive a detailed report. This is a free service.


A full assessment is carried out when there is sufficient evidence to suggest a learning difficulty exists. A full assessment takes approximately four hours and post assessment you will receive a detailed report. If the assessment reveals a learning disability this report will enable you to apply for Disabled Student Allowance (DSA).

Do I have to pay for a full assessment?

The cost to you is £100 and is payable in advance of the assessment.
You are of course welcome to have a private assessment and these generally cost between £350 and £450.

What is DSA and how can it help?

If your report gives a diagnosis of a learning disability you are entitled to claim DSA. Student services will help you to complete the procedure to apply for DSA. You will meet a separate assessor who will go over the report with you and  suggest various types of support. The assessor will then apply to the DSA on your behalf. You should receive notification within six weeks as to whether or not your claim has been successful. some of the ways the DSA can help are:

  • Extra Tuition
  • Text to speech software
  • Speech to text software
  • Spelling and Grammar Software

You can find out more about the type of support available here

What do I do when I hear from the DSA?

Once the DSA have received both your diagnostic and assessment reports they will decide on what to award you.

You will receive notification by email from the DSA and you will also receive an email from the University inviting you to make an appointment to come in to discuss your needs.

Please read your email carefully, we suggest that you print it, as it will tell you what you are entitled to and how to get your entitlement. The DSA DO NOT organize this for you, you are expected to contact supplier and contractors yourself


Booking Appointments

To book an appointment with Student Services or Learning Services please contact your local campus

For University of Suffolk Ipswich, 


Tel: Infozone 01473 338833

For University of Suffolk at West Suffolk College


Tel: 01284 701301

For University of Suffolk at Lowestoft College


Tel: 01502 525191

For University of Suffolk at Great Yarmouth


Tel: 01493 655261


How and Who do I make an appointment with?

 Anyone can make an appointment to see an Academic Skills Advisor you DO NOT need to be receiving DSA.

If you do receive DSA and your claim was processed before April 2016 you can see any Academic Skills Advisor.

However if you received your DSA for ASD/ADD after April 16 you can only make an appointment with;

When you attend your first appointment you will be offered an individual learning plan (ILP), this will be a bespoke programme of work that will encourage and motivate you to not only stay on top of your studies but to learn to enjoy and get the most from your lectures. If you are in receipt of DSA you will also be asked to read and sign a contract.

If you don't want  a learning plan that is fine too. We work to your needs not ours. As Academic Advisors we are able to help you with your writing skills; learning an Academic style of writing ( using the passive and third person as well as sophisticated discourse markers),  We are not able to help with the content of your work.

As  Specialist Study Advisors we are able to help you decipher text and  manage your time as well as writing skills, again we cannot help with your content . 


What happens when I make an appointment?

When you make an appointment through the Library pages you will be asked to provide some information so that your advisor has an idea of how they can help before you arrive. 
You will also receive a confirmation email, this will tell you the time of your appointment and who this is with. If you don't receive an email contact the library to make sure your appointment has been processed. You will receive a second email 24 hours before your appointment as a reminder.

Where do I come for my appointment?

Please arrive on time for your appointments and report to the help desk in the library. They will inform the advisor that you are waiting and  direct you to the waiting area. If you do not report to the HELP DESK your advisor will be unaware that you have arrived.

What if I don't want anyone to know I am receiving support?

That's fine, many people prefer to keep this confidential. When you make your appointment you will be asked to provide some information in order to inform the advisor. Here you should write that you wish the appointment to be private. The advisor will contact you to arrange a suitable location.

How can I make an appointment if I am on placement?

For appointments on placement please follow this link.

What if I want to cancel my appointment?

When you receive your confirmation email you will see a link enabling you to cancel if you need to. Simply click on this link and you will be asked if you are sure you want to cancel. Simply click yes and the appointment will disappear from the advisors calendar and they will will receive a cancelation email.

ALL cancelations  must be made at least 24 hours prior to your appointment unless there are extenuating circumstances. You will receive a reminder email 24 before your appointment this email wil also give you the option to cancel.

If you miss two consecutive appointments without notice we reserve the right inform the DSA. 

What if I have a complaint about the service?

If you are unhappy with your provider you should try to speak to them about your concerns first. If this does not resolve the situation please follow our complaints procedure. Click to link