Starting university can be a very thrilling time in a young person’s life. Most students feel a sense of accomplishment getting into their dream university and are excited to start this new chapter in their life. But many are also met with anxiety and fear. Every new beginning is, after all, a bit tricky.
If you are a deaf or hard-of-hearing student, these negative feelings might be significant. “Does the university provide accommodations for deaf students?”, “will I be alienated from my peers?”, “will I be able to live the full college experience?” are all questions that might be running through your head and have led you to this very article.
Here are 5 ways to make entering university a little less daunting and a little more breezy.
- Do your research
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already on the right path.
Personal research is key to becoming aware of the tools and options that are provided to you, to help you with entering university as a deaf or hard-of-hearing student.
Some things you can search for are accommodations provided by the university itself, government grants that might be available to you and helpful organizations.
- Talk to other students
You can learn a lot of important information from talking to other deaf or hard-of-hearing students.
Most universities have student councils and clubs you can contact that can guide you through any challenges you may face as a deaf or hard-of-hearing student. Your peers can also give you a realistic and detailed review of their experience as a disabled student in that university, and of the quality of the provided services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
This is also a great way of meeting fellow students and becoming involved in university activities, further helping ease your introduction into university life!
- Be direct
It is also crucial that you are honest about your needs as a deaf or hard-of-hearing person, as your needs and preferences might not be the same as another student’s.
There are varying degrees of hearing loss, and a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work in most cases. Clearly stating your requirements to university consultants, disability needs assessors or in your university application is a huge step towards getting proper support.
- Apply for government grants
In most cases, the school of your choosing will already offer some accommodations for deaf or hard-of-hearing students. If the provided tools do not cater to your needs, or don’t sufficiently cover them, then you might be eligible for government grants.
The Disabled Students’ Allowance (or DSA for short) is a government grant which can help you cover costs that are related to your disability while you study. These can include non-medical support, such as notetakers and British Sign Language interpreters, equipment like portable speech-to-text devices or speak-to-type software, and other general costs.
If you want to learn more about the DSA and how you can apply, you can visit https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowance-dsa
- Look into assistive technology for deaf or hard-of-hearing students
There’s no shortage of assistive technology for deaf students. The trick is finding something that works for you.
Some classrooms provide teachers and students with microphones, personal amplifiers, and digital recorders to aid deaf or hard-of-hearing students. E-textbooks are another a great option since they provide extra visual components. There are also plenty of apps available that can be used by deaf or hard-of-hearing students during class.
A new and exciting piece of technology for deaf and hard-of-hearing students that was approved by the DSA in June is the Speaksee Microphone Kit. It is the world’s first microphone system that can accurately and immediately transcribe speech to text in group conversations. This way a student can read what’s being said and follow along.
The Speaksee microphone clips onto the collar of the speaker’s shirt and picks up their voice, cancelling out background noise. The speech data is then live captioned on your smartphone, tablet or laptop in a different color for each speaker.
This technology can be applied in most aspects of student life, including lectures, tutor groups, study sessions and important social interactions. It can even be used in the pub!
If you have online classes or meetings, Speaksee has you covered! Speaksee’s AutoCaption software live-captions all your online meetings, e-courses, and seminars. It can be layered over any program and their top-notch software encryption ensures that all your conversations are protected. The AutoCaption software is also fully approved for funding by the DSA.
If you want to find out more about Speaksee, click the link https://speak-see.com/
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