At Clarion UK we support over 900 students from across the country who have specific learning disabilities, mental health issues and sensory impairments. We work with a network of professional partners to give students the tools they need in order to reach their full potential.
We recently caught up with Laura from City, University of London after her final year at University. Here’s her story:
My name is Laura and I am profoundly deaf with two cochlear implants. I have just completed the final year of my BSc. Speech and Language Therapy degree at City, University of London. I chose to study this course (having already completed a BSc. Psychology degree at the University of Sussex) because I had developed an interest in children’s language development and, ultimately, I wanted to become a Speech and Language Therapist to put my communication skills to use to support those with speech and language difficulties. I decided to live at my family home in Essex and commute to London 4 days a week, having already experienced the independence of university life first time around. This suited me well as I could continue with my part-time job at home and also had the social support around me for what would be an enjoyable but very demanding three-year course!
Throughout my time as a Student Speech and Language Therapist I have found it extremely rewarding working with young children and love the opportunity to be creative with resources to create enjoyable and engaging Speech Therapy sessions. Also, I like how I am able to empower parents to facilitate improvement in their child’s communication, working to support those around the child to develop their full potential. I have recently been offered my first Speech and Language Therapist job working in the community with Preschool and Primary School children who have speech, language and communication needs, and am excited to get started in a couple of months (with a hint of nervousness!). Eventually, I would like to specialise to work as a Speech and Language Therapist in the field of hearing impairment as I feel that my personal experiences would make me a positive role model for young deaf individuals, giving children and their families optimism of what can be achieved despite having a communication difficulty.
I have been extremely grateful for the support I have received to access my Speech and Language Therapy course. Prior to starting, I applied for Disabled Students’ Allowance and was put in contact with Clarion UK to arrange support based on my needs; I had already completed the needs assessment process on my previous course, so I was more aware this time of the kind of support and adjustments that I would benefit from having (e.g. Electronic Notetakers, Rogen Pen Radio Aid, separate room for exams and learning resources provided in advance of lectures).
"The Clarion UK Education Team have been invaluable in arranging my notetaking support, with friendly and approachable staff who have always responded to my queries promptly and have taken into account my personal requests."
I used electronic notetakers in lectures and group sessions. This involved a notetaker typing notes on a laptop which was screen shared to a second laptop or iPad (also provided by them) so that I could view and follow the notes live in the session. These notes were then edited and emailed to me soon after the session so that I could refer back to them if needed. Whilst I did take some of my own notes as well, the electronic notes were extremely helpful as they took the pressure off me to get everything written down and increased my capacity to listen and speech read.
It helped for continuity to use two regular notetakers throughout my course. This meant that we became familiar with how each other worked and they would write my notes exactly how I liked them, with as much detail as could be captured and not in lengthy paragraphs. Also, the notetakers became familiar with the subject-specific terminology over the three years which enhanced the accuracy and detail of the notes provided.
The notetaking support that I have received has enabled me to participate in group discussions with confidence, something I might not have done had the notetakers not been there. I sometimes find it difficult to determine who is speaking in a group situation and by the time I have figured out who it is, I have missed most of what they have said! The live notes have therefore allowed me to follow exactly what is being said in group sessions at university and have given me the confidence to say what I want to say, knowing that it is a relevant and hopefully worthwhile contribution.
If anyone is putting off going to university because they are worried that they will not follow in lectures and keep up with the course demands, then I would encourage them to reconsider their decision. Whilst studying at university with a hearing impairment is not without its challenges, the experience has certainly been worth it for me.