Assistive Technology

Succeed in education, and beyond

As Needs Assessors, we are constantly demonstrating and learning about all the amazing assistive technology (AT) that’s available to help students succeed in their studies.

One of our most important roles is identifying which tech will best suit you and your unique requirements and we do that with in-depth knowledge of all the latest assistive software

Finding the right software can make a huge difference to your studies, allowing you to work faster and more effectively. It’s a set of tools to help you get the most out of school, college or university and skills to eventually take into the workplace.

Did you know that the software and hardware you get with DSA funding is yours to keep forever? 

Specialist software such as ClaroRead and Sonocent Audio Notetaker are examples of well-known programs recommended by assessors, but Student Finance England recently approved four new applications. Check out our reviews of Claro Writing Helper, TalkType Dictation, TalkType Caption.Ed and Text Aid by ReadSpeaker to find out what they’re all about and how they can help you achieve more in higher education. 

If you’d like to discover more software that could boost your learning and help overcome any barriers you may face when studying, jump to our comprehensive guide where you can use the filter option to find the software that best meets your needs.

Did you know that Assistive Technology training is included in your DSA funding?

A frequently asked question from the students we assess is how they get to grips with all this new tech once their recommendations have been approved. Helpfully, one-to-one and/or online training packages are included as part of the DSA funding so you can find your way round your new ‘toolkit’ at a time and pace that works for you. You’re then ready to use the software to its fullest potential, giving you more confidence and control on your journey through higher education. 

If you’d like to find out more about the DSA or how assistive technology could help you, call or email Ultima Education today.

Make studying remotely work for you

2020 freshers are facing a very different university experience with a mix of face-to-face and digital learning and many social events taking place virtually, but how does this impact disabled students?

Remote learning can present far from ideal studying conditions such as balancing a laptop on your knees, sitting on a chair that aggravates a health condition, trying to concentrate in a busy common room or not having access to a printer. 

If you have a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, a specific learning difficulty like dyslexia or ADHD, or long-term health conditions like diabetes and hypermobility which affects your ability to study, your university will offer support and other reasonable adjustments for you. 

But did you know there’s an additional support package available which can provide you with equipment to make studying remotely work better for you?

The Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs for short) provide funding and support which is individually tailored to your specific requirements.  Support available can include specialist equipment, non-medical help such as study skills and mentoring support, and travel costs for placements and study trips.

If you’re a UK student with evidence of a disability, you are likely to be eligible for the DSA – find out more with our in-depth guide.

No more working at the kitchen table

Once your funding body has approved your application for DSA, you will be asked to book a needs assessment where an assessor will listen to the challenges you experience and demonstrate software and equipment that can best support your difficulties – find out what happens in a needs assessment here. This is a great chance to say what you think will be most useful, you are the expert here!

Examples of equipment you could get include specialist ergonomic seating, a specialist keyboard and mouse, a height adjustable desk, a laptop with monitor stand and other items such as a printer, recording equipment and an external monitor. Here’s a more detailed list of what is available with this support.

A bespoke learning experience

In terms of studying itself, there are many software programmes that can offer ways of working that work for you. Your assessor will show you examples of specialist software such as text-to-speech, voice recognition and audio recording, all of which can help you fulfil your academic potential. 

All students may get access to a few sessions of study skills advice or counselling, but students with DSA funding can receive specialist one-to-one study skills and mentoring support on a weekly basis throughout their course.

This tailored support and regular contact can be hugely beneficial for students with mental health conditions and specific learning difficulties including ADHD and/or ASD, and can aid organisation, time management and the development of learning strategies.

Find out more about all the types of non-medical help available here.

So, studying off-campus can work well for everyone, with the right support in place. 

Get the support you’re entitled to

If you have any questions about the DSA or are unsure if you are eligible, contact Ultima Education to get advice on what to do next. Call or email us today!