Students, money & practicalities

Just to add a personal note:
WRITERS: My RSI worsened progressively through my undergraduate degree (R wrist, then L wrist, then R&L inner & outer elbows) but my department (Archaeology, Nottingham University) were great. I had a writer for all my exams (and it REALLY helps to get someone who knows a bit about your discipline if you can) and did fine.

PENS: My occupational therapist gave me some fat foam (a bit like insulation round pipes) for my pens which has made a huge difference. Also told me where to buy some fat-handled cutlery, which means when my hands get really bad I can feed myself rather than being fed.

MONEY: I’m now in the throes of finishing my PhD (Archaeology, Cambridge University). During the PhD the RSI spread to my hands and fingers, and I ended up being declared ‘officially disabled’ with the University. As soon as this had happened, with help from the disability welfare officer, I was provided with a powerful computer with voice recognition and an ergonomic keyboard. It’s definitely worth chasing the finance and disability options at University/college as money was available but advertising was minimal if it existed at all. So good luck, enjoy, and pursue all options for assistance. As has been said already, it can be done.

Comment: Yes, definitely worth chasing. SKILL (the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities) has produced a very good set of fact sheets about the assistance that’s available, including one on the Disabled Students Allowances. The factsheets can be downloaded from the SKILL web site at There’s also a free phone information line on 0800 328 5050 Mon – Fri 1:30-4:30.

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