We want our students to reach their highest goals. At Kingston University, there have been countless students who have proven that with a positive attitude and a little support you can overcome almost anything.
A Kingston University postgraduate Architecture student has proven disability is no obstacle when it comes to his passion for filmmaking. Oliver Lam-Watson recently won second prize in the national Business Disability Forum competition, which challenged students to create a film about technology and disability.
Oliver's film, Why I make my life so hard chronicles the challenges he has faced using crutches and carrying heavy technical gear.
The 24-year-old Londoner was born with the rare congenital vascular disorder Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome in his left leg. While his films grow in popularity - he has nearly 6,000 YouTube followers - Oliver also takes part in gruelling obstacle courses, known as 'spartan' races.
Whether filmmaking, photography, or improving his skills as an athlete, Oliver said his aim was always clear. "I want everyone - whether disabled or not - to live life to the full," he said. "Don't let anything, or anyone, hold you back." Oliver's love of learning through making has seen him successfully graduate with a first class degree in Architecture from Kingston University in 2014.
Read Oliver's full story.
The following students share their stories and advice with us:
"My mental health difficulties have impacted my time at university and ability to cope with day to day tasks. I was very open about my disability with the University from the start. The support I received from my mental health adviser has been invaluable. She was very understanding and patient and was only an email away. My tutors have been timely, thorough, kind and professional in their support of both academic and personal issues.
"My advice - don't shy away from talking to your faculty staff. Your tutors and professors are there for you to talk to. Also, make use of the Student Life Centre, and any other support available. You won't know what's available to you until you start reaching out."
"During my course, I found myself struggling to cope, and was soon diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. I was provided with a support plan, stating the relevant adjustments and support put in place for my time at university and during my placement. The staff in the Student Life Centre were very supportive with communicating my diagnosis and support needs to the relevant members of my faculty. My disability adviser provided the right support in my preparation for the transition from university to employment".
"My disability would have impacted my studies without the support I have been given. After disclosing to a disability adviser, the process of getting support was simple and quick. I was provided with a note-taker, a regular interpreter and have ongoing support from the Teacher of the Deaf."
"I have borderline personality disorder and severe depression which has a huge impact on my motivation to go to classes and study. I disclosed when I first started university to all my lecturers and the disability team. My disability adviser was incredibly helpful in appointments and I was also able to go into the drop-in clinics when I couldn't cope. My adviser made me feel comfortable speaking to her about life inside and outside of university.
"My advice - If you have any kind of disability, even if you believe it to be 'small' or 'not very important', alert the disability services as soon as you can rather than waiting for it to affect you."
"I have bipolar disorder, which can impact my studies in a number of ways. This can affect my motivation, concentration levels and carrying out daily tasks.
"I disclosed my disability in my application to the university and as a result had support available from the beginning. I was offered counselling which helped ease the transition into uni life. I found the process of applying for Disabled Student's Allowance fairly easy and was allowed extra time in my exams as well as being placed in a smaller room to decrease my social anxiety. My disability adviser has been a fantastic help and I know I can rely on their support when I needed them.
"My advice - be open about your disability and access help whenever you need it".
"I have a genetic disorder and as a result I am a wheelchair user. Due to this I require some additional assistance with taking notes. I disclosed on my UCAS application which allowed me to manage my accessibility requirements. I was provided with a helper to assist with typing for tests and assessments as well as having extra time in exams. I found the process of applying for Disabled Student's Allowance easy and received fantastic support from the staff.
"My advice - trust the system and never hesitate to ask the team for anything".
"My disability made it difficult to attend lectures, work in groups and give presentations. Once I contacted the disability team, I received specialist support and the relevant assistive technology I required to complete my course. I was offered one-to-one mentoring with a member of the disability team who was easy to contact and helped with any issues I was having.
"The DSA process was fairly simple. I applied with supporting evidence from my GP and after an assessment the correct measures were put in place. I found it reassuring that I had arrangements in place for exams and deadlines. I received consistent support from friendly and caring advisers when I needed it.
"My advice - Always speak to the disability team, they can provide help where you may not even realise you need it. It will make integrating into university life much easier".
We aim to make sure that all pages published on the Kingston University website are fully accessible for visitors with a disability.