DMU Centre for Accessibility Needs (DMU-CAN)


Our assessment centre is accredited by the Department of Education  The aim of our friendly and specialist team is to perform assessments of needs as part of the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) process.

We are open to students from any institution or region. This means you can have your assessment of needs here even if you aren’t a current or prospective student of De Montfort University. You don’t need to wait until you have started your chosen course to book your assessment.

Both remote and in-person appointments are currently available.

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Your privacy


The centre’s files are kept securely and separately from the university’s other data. We will only share your information with people/organisations if you have given us your permission to do so.


  1. What is an assessment of needs?

    The Assessment of Needs is a necessary part of the DSA application process. It is not a test. It is a meeting with one of our skilled and friendly assessors to determine how the DSA funds available for your studies can best be spent and how your university should make adjustments to assist you.

    During the meeting, you will discuss the learning strategies that you currently use, the requirements of your course and any support needs that you may have. The assessor will then suggest strategies that could be used to manage the effects of your disability on your studies. This could include demonstrating different equipment and software to show how they might help you, and discussing human support.

    The purpose of the assessment is to determine a support package that is suited to you. The assessor will ask for your opinion on the support strategies proposed and answer any questions you might have.

    How does it differ from other medical diagnostic processes?

    You may have had an assessment with an educational psychologist or specialist teacher to diagnose a Specific Learning Difference (SpLD) such as Dyslexia, or you might have had assessments with a GP, consultant or other health professional regarding a medical condition, autistic spectrum disorder, mobility difficulties or mental health difficulty.

    The assessment of needs differs from these other assessments, as its purpose is to determine how your disability might affect your studies, and to identify support strategies that could be used to help you succeed on your chosen course. To make these recommendations, the assessor will draw on the diagnostic and/or medical evidence you have provided and discuss your disability-related needs with you.

  2. How to arrange your assessment of needs

    Once you have received the approval letter from your funding body asking you to book an assessment of needs, contact us at or call 0116 257 7354 to book an appointment.

    We offer twilight appointments at 4:30pm two evenings a week.

    We are open throughout the year. The office is open 9am -5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4.30pm on Friday, except for bank holidays and university closure days. Appointments are available from 9:15 up to 4:30pm and on some Saturdays.

    Appointments are typically available within 15 working days from the day you contact us.

  3. Preparing for your appointment

    You need to allow up to 2 hours for your appointment, so there is plenty of time to discuss your requirements and options available to you.

    • Send us a copy of your medical/diagnostic evidence and funding body approval letter: Although you will already have sent your medical/diagnostic evidence to your funding body, they do not pass this or your approval letter on to us. Therefore, you need to send us these documents prior to your assessment of needs.
    • Complete your pre-assessment form: In order to identify the best support strategies for you, we require some information in advance. This includes details about your course, your disability and any previous support you have received. This will enable the assessor to do any prior research needed and consider the full range of support available. We also require information about your computer specifications, if you own one, as this gives your assessor a better idea of whether your computer will be able to run any assistive software that they may recommend. You can can email your documents to
    • Warning about purchase of specialist equipment: Please be aware that funding bodies are not likely to reimburse you for anything you purchase before they have approved the recommendations in your assessment of needs report.

  4. Assessment fees

    There is no direct cost to you. The fee for the assessment will be paid by your funding body as part of your DSA general allowance.

    Our assessment fee includes the additional needs with which you may present, and any activities undertaken by the assessor or centre to review your DSA support (for the duration of the original course for which the assessment was undertaken). This will include liaison with funding bodies, equipment suppliers, higher education institutions or other stakeholders for the purpose of review of your support needs (where permission to share data has been given).

    Students who present with an additional diagnosis (i.e. disability or condition) during their course should send their funding body a copy of the evidence. Once the funding body has accepted the evidence, they will confirm that you can have your study needs reviewed in light of the new condition(s). You can then meet again with your assessor for a free review of your needs. This will be included in the original fee.

    Students progressing onto postgraduate and PGCE study may be eligible for a formal review of their needs, funded through the postgraduate or undergraduate DSA, respectively. All reviews must be authorised in writing by the funding body in advance.

  5. After your assessment

    After your Assessment of Needs, the assessor will write a Needs Assessment Report (also called Assessment of Needs Report or NAR or AONR) recommending support strategies and outlining how they will help you on your course. Under normal working practices, you should receive your report within two weeks (10 working days).

    You can find further details on what happens next here.

    Send us feedback

    We really value feedback from students, as it gives us the opportunity to improve the service we offer.

    After your assessment, we would be grateful if you complete this survey to tell us about your experience.

  6. Travelling to DMU-CAN

    Our address is:

    De Montfort University Centre for Accessibility Needs (DMU-CAN)
    The Student Gateway
    GH0.76, Gateway House
    The Gateway
    Leicester LE1 9BH

    Arriving by car

    There are two accessible parking spaces outside the Assessment Centre that are allocated for students while they are attending their assessment. Parking spaces need to be pre-booked, so if you need one for your appointment please let us know when you book.

    Arriving by public transport

    Our campus is located a 15 minute walk from the train station. There is no direct bus service between the train station and Gateway House; however, several buses from the city centre are available. The nearest bus stop to us is a 6–7 minute walk from Gateway House. For the most up to date travel information, you can use Google Maps or similar to find the routes and public transport schedules that are most relevant to you. You can also use Google Maps to plan your journey ahead of time using its directions feature.

    You may be able to claim back your travel expenses through the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) if you have to travel outside of your local town or city to attend the appointment, or if you need to use a taxi service due to your disability.

  7. Beat the jargon

    To help you understand the process and content of your assessment of needs, we’ve put together a glossary of commonly used terms you may come across:

    • AON: Assessment of Needs – sometimes also referred to as Needs Assessment or Study Needs Assessment
    • AONR: Assessment of Needs Report – sometimes also referred to as NAR or Needs Assessment Report
    • AT: Assistive Technology
    • ATSP: Assistive Technology Solutions Provider
    • DSA: Disabled Students’ Allowances
    • DA or DO: Disability Advisor/Disability Officer
    • EP: Educational Psychologist, a qualified professional who diagnoses Specific Learning Difficulties/ Differences such as dyslexia
    • Funding Body: The organisation you applied to for your DSA and/or Student Finance
    • HEI or HEP: Higher Education Institution or Higher Education Provider (as not all courses are taught in a university; some might be via a college)
    • OU: Open University
    • NAR: Needs Assessment Report sometimes also called AONR or – Assessment of Needs Report
    • SAAS: Student Awards Agency Scotland (funding body for Scottish students). Please note that at DMU, SAAS also stands for Student and Academic Services.
    • SFE: Student Finance England (funding body for English students)
    • SFNI: Student Finance Northern Ireland (funding body for Northern Irish students)
    • SFW: Student Finance Wales (funding body for Welsh students)
    • SpLD: Specific Learning Difficulty or Difference




Contact us

You can contact us by calling 0116 257 7354 or by email at Alternatively, you can write to us at:

De Montfort University Centre for Accessibility Needs (DMU-CAN)
The Student Gateway 
Gateway House The Gateway
Leicester  LE1 9BH

We are open throughout the year from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and from 9am to 4.30pm on Friday, except for bank holidays and university closure days.