Accessibility should be a given, not an added extra
My name is Becca and I’m a second-year psychology student. Throughout my life I have had mental health issues and since being at university I have been diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia and I am also seeking an autism diagnosis. Further to this, I have an invisible physical disability, fibromyalgia, which impacts me every day, making life as a university student a challenge. This is something I have developed over the past few years and have had times when it is manageable and times when I have flare-ups. Therefore, I have experience of being a university student when my physical health has been okay and also when my physical health has severely impacted my life at university. Since joining Greenwich in 2019 I have been an active member of STAART, a support mechanism for students with disabilities. Through this I have met many other disabled students and heard their experiences of being disabled at university, giving me a wide knowledge of how disability affects people’s university experience. If I am elected I want to work closely with STAART because STAART has been an important part of my journey at Greenwich, giving me the support I needed when my health hasn’t been good.
If I am elected I want to make campus a more accessible place for disabled students. As someone with an invisible disability, I have experienced many situations where people have not taken me seriously because I do not look disabled. As part of my work if I am elected I want to run an awareness campaign around university focusing on invisible disabilities, as 80% of people with disabilities in the UK have an invisible disability. Further to this, I want to encourage that all lecture resources, such as slides and handouts, are made accessible for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. During my time at Greenwich, I have found some lecturers create accessible resources without having to ask but others had to be pushed to make them accessible. My aim is to make it so that all resources are automatically made accessible so that students that are unable to fight for accessible resources do not have a disadvantage. By making campus a more accessible place I hope to reduce how much disabled students need to fight for accommodations to just be able to succeed at university. Accessibility should be a given, not an added extra.