About the Service
Specialist mentors provide highly specialist, specifically tailored, one to one support which helps students address the barriers to learning created by a particular impairment, e.g. mental-health conditions, or autistic spectrum disorders. This could include a range of issues, for example, coping with anxiety and stress situations, how to deal with concentration difficulties, time management, prioritising workload and creating a suitable work-life balance.
Specialist Mentors should not act as advocates or counsellors. Their role is to help students recognise the barriers to learning created by their impairment and support them in developing strategies to address these barriers, particularly at times of transition, e.g. when starting at university or when planning to move on from it.
For some students this support will need to be ongoing while for others it might be gradually phased out or only be required at certain points of their course. Specialist mentors have an in depth knowledge and experience of the particular disability (e.g. mental-health condition, autistic spectrum disorder);understanding of the particular demands of study in HE; close working relationship with other support service both inside and outside the HEI and recognition of when there is a need to refer to other services.
Our mentoring Space
Gilly McKenzie our Mentor Coordinator, talks about how she set up the premises for the Mentoring Support Service.
“Our mentoring space is a place of calm and acceptance and is a source of support and advice as well as tea, coffee and biscuits for our students. The Refreshment Area is used by students for lunch, for study or for just taking a quiet moment away from campus. Students use the fridge, the microwave and toaster to prepare lunch as its a calm place to eat.
Students also use the facilities if they require a quiet place for study, mentoring session take priority however students are welcome to come and study in the mentoring rooms if they are free. The furniture in all the rooms is identical (only the colour panel on the bucket chairs and coffee tables varies) as some of our students have difficulty with colours, shapes, patterns and textures. This furniture was the best fit to avoid as many of those difficulties as I could find. The walls are coloured in a plain, neutral colour with nothing on the walls in any of the rooms, no mirrors, no decorations, no clocks and definitely no patronising motivational texts.
This is deliberate; it is so that students with ASD, with OCD and other mental health difficulties will not be distracted or feel any pressure when they are in the building. Our Information Point is a well-defined and contained area of leaflets and posters, it can be accessed if required by mentors and students without being unbearably intrusive.”
“Our service here is student centered and focused, it is the embodiment of the ethos of the company where CSW Group champions brighter futures, protecting and promoting the welfare of young people and adults.”
Gilly McKenzie – Mentor Co-ordinator
To contact us about mentoring, view our rates or to visit the University of Southampton website, please click on the links below.
Disabled Students Allowance
If you are a higher education student living in United Kingdom you can apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you have a disability, including a:
Long-term health condition
Mental health condition
Specific learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia
You must meet the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010. The support you get depends on your individual needs and not on income
Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are paid on top of your other student finance. They help you pay the extra costs you may have because of your disability. They don’t have to be repaid. How much you get depends on your individual needs – not your household income. If you’re a part-time student your ‘course intensity’ can affect how much you get.
You can get help with the costs of:
- specialist equipment, e.g. a computer if you need one because of your disability
- non-medical helpers
- extra travel because of your disability
- other disability-related costs of studying
If you are resident in the UK and think you may be eligible to apply for DSA please follow the links below;