DMU Centre for Accessibility Needs (DMU-CAN)
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Our assessment centre is accredited by the Disabled Students’ Allowance Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG). 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.
**We will be offering Saturday appointments in September, October and November
Including a limited number on Welcome Weekend Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September **
What you need to know:
How to arrange an assessment of needs
Preparing for your appointment
How to find us
What is an assessment of needs?
The assessment fee
After the assessment
Beat the jargon
Once you have received the approval letter from your funding body asking you to book an assessment of needs, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0116 257 7354 to book an appointment.
Alternatively, please complete the form at the bottom of this page and we will get in touch with you.
We are open throughout the year: 9am -5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4.30pm on Friday, except for bank holidays and university closure days.
Appointments are typically available within 15 working days from the day you contact us.
The time taken for assessments can vary, but they average around two hours.
- 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 CAN@DMU.ac.uk, deliver or post them to The Student Gateway in Gateway House.
- 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.
How to find us
De Montfort University Centre for Accessibility Needs (DMU-CAN)
The Student Gateway
Campus map (Gateway House is number 14)
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
If you need to get a taxi from the train or bus station, this should cost around £5.
There is no direct bus service between the train station and Gateway House. Several buses from the bus station go by the DMU campus. The nearest stop is a 6–7 minute walk from Gateway House. Bus routes 48, 49, 84, 86, 87 and 88 stop nearby on Oxford Street. Plan your journey.
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.
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.
You can find further details about the assessment of needs process here.
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/medical evidence you have provided and discuss your disability-related needs with you. You can download more information on the assessments here.
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.
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.
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.
Here are some abbreviations or acronyms you might encounter as part of the funding process.
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)
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 / Difference
We really value feedback from students, as it gives us the opportunity to improve the service we offer. Please complete this survey to tell us about your experience.
In addition, DSA-QAG, the quality assurance group for assessment centres, run their own feedback survey and would like to make you aware of the following information:
Student feedback plays a critical part in the evaluation, development and enhancement of the quality of the DSA experience for disabled students. We would greatly appreciate if you would take the time to complete our survey.
If you are not happy with the service you have received, please let us know so that we can address your concerns appropriately.
Read our complaints policy.
You can contact us by calling 0116 257 7354, emailing email@example.com or by visiting or writing to:
De Montfort University Centre for Accessibility Needs (DMU-CAN)
The Student Gateway
We are open throughout the year: 9am - 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am - 4.30pm on Friday, except for bank holidays and university closure days.