Meeting with the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS)

This section gives information about how to access the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS), a confidential service providing advice and support for disabled students at the University of Sheffield.


Under the Equality Act 2010, universities have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that  disabled students are not placed at a disadvantage. Reasonable adjustments enable you to access and participate in learning, assessment, university facilities and services.  This includes exam or assessment adjustments and support workers, such as 1:1 mentor support sessions.  Further information about the types of support available through DDSS can be found here.


The Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) at the University of Sheffield is your main point of contact for any disability related queries throughout your studies.  DDSS is responsible for recommending and coordinating your academic support or adjustments.  You will have a named Disability Adviser within DDSS and you need to have contact with them to discuss your individual requirements before any support can be put in place for you.  You can have contact with DDSS before your start you arrive at university, to help ensure that support is in place from the start of your course.  This contact can be via email, a phone appointment or if it’s convenient for you to travel to the university, a face-to-face appointment with your Disability Adviser.


If you completed the disability section in your UCAS application when you applied for university, this means that you have told the university about your autism.  DDSS will receive your information and will be able to contact you in the summer before you start university to begin discussing your support.  We will also ask you to send medical evidence of your autistic spectrum condition.  Our ‘providing medical evidence’ page outlines the kind of disability evidence we require and also provides guidance on how to obtain this.  Please also provide us with any emails you’ve received which relate to your application for DSA.


If you didn’t disclose a disability on your UCAS form, it means that DDSS will not receive any information about you so we won’t be able to contact you.  You can contact DDSS directly to let us know that you would like to access support – we would recommend that you do this before you start your course.  You can still make an appointment with DDSS once you’ve started your course but this is likely to mean that there will be a delay to some of your support starting as it will take us some time to set this up.


Your Disability Adviser will be able to advise you about applying for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA), if you are eligible to apply.  If you are not eligible to apply for DSA then you will be advised about the support that you’ll be able to access through the University.


During July, DDSS runs a one day ‘Introduction to University Support’ event for autistic applicants.  The aim of the event is to support applicants to prepare for university by providing information about university support and services.  Current autistic students will be at the event, providing information about what it’s like to be a university student and advice about making the transition to university.  If you have disclosed that you have an autistic spectrum condition on your UCAS form then DDSS will email you to invite you to the event.  If you didn’t disclose on your UCAS form, you can contact DDSS to ask for information about the event.

How could this affect me?

The Disability and Dyslexia Support Service are responsible for recommending and coordinating your academic support or adjustments. Adjustments are put in place according to your individual needs so your involvement in this process is essential.  You need to have contact with DDSS before any support can be put in place for you.


It can take time to arrange and implement any support you may require so we would encourage you to contact us early in the summer prior to your arrival so that we can ensure you have everything in place at the earliest possible opportunity.  This is especially important if you think you will need orientation support before you start your course – orientation support is aimed at helping students to get used to the University environment and finding their way around it.


If you decide not to contact DDSS prior to starting your course you are still welcome to contact us at any point throughout your studies.


If you access support through DDSS, this support can be reviewed at any time during your course if you find your needs have changed or if you don’t think your current support is really working for you.  To review your support, contact the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service to arrange to meet with your Disability Adviser.

What to do next?

Contact the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service

Practical tips

Picture of Alfred Denny Building

Contact details

Disability and Dyslexia Support Service
The Hillsborough Centre
Alfred Denny Building
Western Bank
S10 2TN

Tel: 0114 2221303


Your Disability Adviser will be your main contact within DDSS – this will either be Phil Simpson or Clare Thompson, who are the advisers for students who have an autistic spectrum condition.


Questions to think about

Your Disability Adviser will structure any appointments and ask you questions to help you to think about your support needs but it might be useful to think about the following, to help you prepare for your first contact/appointment with DDSS:

  • how you would like to describe your autism to your tutors and anything you think would be useful to share with them
  • any educational support you have received in the past – what has worked well and what hasn’t worked for you
  • how you plan to travel to university from your student accomodation
  • your experience of teaching sessions, what helps you to gain an understanding of a new topic or task
  • how you have found note taking and researching for assignments
  • how you have found assessments in the past, e.g. exams, essays, presentations, etc.
  • how you feel about group work, placement and practical tasks
  • how you feel about presentations
  • how you organise your independent study time/homework and whether you have had any help to meet deadlines

You are welcome to make notes of anything you’d like to speak with your adviser about and take these into your appointment.  If it’s useful to you, you can also email the adviser in advance with a list of the things you’d like to discuss.  If you meet with your Disability Adviser before you start your course, it is your choice whether you bring a parent/carer with you to the appointment but you are welcome to do so.

Additional information and links