Will Johanson (Ref: 3899)
I'd just really like to thank Iona and my assessor for making the DSA process not only really simple but just by being really understanding, helpful and attentive it's really made me feel reassured that the necessary support is tailored well to me and allowed me the time to focus on uni whilst the application went through. I felt and still feel in really good hands and am massively grateful again for their support. The assessor was brilliant and the ease of the process has made me feel positive not only about the support we've put in place (including mentoring, equipment and learning software), but also about academic life over the rest of my degree.
Robert Fletcher-Jones (Ref: 3862)
The entire assessment process was unlike any I have experienced prior. Throughout my journey through disability; both dealing with and trying to rebuild my life – I have encountered a number of “assessments”. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and various others for differing things but those two are important to note. The idea of being disabled is something only the person and their immediate family can fully understand. It is not a case of being unable to walk up stairs because your back hurts, no. It is the removal of what you and everyone else can do and then being left with the responsibility to find your own way to continue living. Anyone who has gone through the aforementioned will know that there is no support or independence in either; both can feel smothering, restricting, and like you must stay in a clearly defined box or else face losing months of work. My assessor was an individual that not only reminded me that The Department of Work and Pension’s way of doing things was not how all assessments are carried out. But, also that it is possible to find a trained, qualified, and caring individual that is interested in hearing what you have to say, the difficulties you face, and how they can help. Help is the keyword as individuals that face a life of disability will require help, it doesn’t have to be in the form of funding or benefits. It can be as simple as feeling like what you are saying is being heard. Some people lose their voices when faced with a life of disability, they lose their smile, and they lose their ability to look to the future with hope – and this is an aspect of disability that no one talks about. The IONA Institute supplied me with only the highest quality of service. Whether it was organising the most comfortable way in which for me to communicate with them, which is via e-mail as talking over the phone is very difficult for me, or the most comfortable place for me to be assessed which for me was at home. Throughout the process I was given a choice which was refreshing rather than feeling dread at a place, time, and date I *had* to be at or else. I truly believe that this assessment process is how it should be done and I think it essential for individuals to know that care, compassion, and understanding are not just buzzwords used to make people on the outside think they are doing a good job. These are actual things I have experienced both in my dealings with IONA and the assessor. Finally, I want to say that the assessor was a wonderful individual to spend time with. At no point was there ever a feeling or resentment at having to do a home visit, or like there was a time limit on how long it would take for me to fully convey my issues. I was listened to. I was heard and it is because of that I can confidently say that I am glad to have been assessed by IONA and particularly by the assessor.
My assessor has consistently gone above and beyond. I had repeated problems with DSA-imposed delays and missed deadlines, and at every point the assessors intervened on my behalf to ensure everything was organised and in place as rapidly as possible.
The report the assessor wrote was incredibly thorough and in-depth, and meant that all the equipment recommended was approved - I have no doubt that this was due to all the work they put into my report.
Even after my assessment when I've had teething problems with the technology, the assessor has consistently provided support and researched alternatives.
I cannot compliment Them more highly, and I recommend them to everyone."
Darren Duffield (Ref: 3250)
I would definitely recommend IONA for a DSA assessment. The process from beginning to end was fast and efficient. I filled in my details on the website and was then contacted by the office to go through my details and book me with a suitable assessor. A range of appointments was offered and I was able to choose one on a Saturday which was ideal. I was also prompted by a text reminder to submit the further information required. The Canterbury centre is up on the University of Kent's campus and is well served by buses and there is a car park in front of the building too. As it was a Saturday, the assessor had texted me to let me know that there was no reception staff and that I should call him on my arrival. The 'assessment' itself was very thorough and it was extremely helpful that the assessor himself was familiar with online distance learning. I felt that I was able to get across the issues that my disability can lead to and I had confidence that the assessor understood them. All-in-all it was a very positive experience.
Dammy (Ref: 2987)
The assessor was super helpful in helping me to understand my condition and contextualise how it affects me on a daily basis. I felt at ease, and everything discussed only aided this. The assessor carefully broke down the next steps of my DSA application and answered any and all questions I had. I was particularly impressed that the assessor was knowledgeable about my degree subject and was able to weigh in on it. I would definitely recommend !