Learn more about the tools, equipment and interventions to support disabled students.
Did you know that neurodivergent students, those with long term mental health or medical conditions, or have visual or hearing impairments, are eligible for a government grant called the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)?
Following a short application via their Student Finance portal, students get the opportunity to meet with an assessor either in person or on-line so that they can find out what support would be most useful to them. 968 of our students at Bath receive DSA funding to support their studies which equates to 28% of those students disclosing a disability.
As well as funding weekly 1:1 specialist support for the duration of a student’s degree, the DSA can fund a range of useful assistive technology software. Here are six examples of the software provided free of charge by the Disabled Students’ Allowance.
- TextHelp Read and Write enables students to listen to their research materials read aloud which can help them to process, understand and retain the information.
- Scholarcy can save students a lot of time with their research. This is an online article summariser tool that reads research articles, reports and book chapters in seconds and breaks them down into bite-sized sections so that the user can quickly assess how important the document is to their work. It also creates useful flash cards.
- Students struggling with planning and organising their assignments may benefit from MindView, a flexible mind-mapping tool that enables the user to prepare visual plans of their essays and attach notes and research materials.
- For those students that attend lectures which are not routinely recorded, they may benefit from Glean which enables them to make recordings directly onto their laptop or phone and align the slide, the notes and the relevant part of the audio recording.
- Time management and organisation can often be a concern and the app Booost allows users to log tasks with due date, priority level, and reminders.
- Brain in Hand is a digital self-management support system for people who need help remembering things, making decisions, planning, or managing anxiety. It's not condition-specific, but is often used by people who are autistic or managing anxiety-related mental health challenges. Combining practical human support and digital self-management technology, Brain in Hand helps people live more independently.
For students with sensory impairments, the DSA funds radio aids, braille notes, video magnifiers and screen readers.
For those with long term pain conditions, the DSA can fund ergonomic furniture such as height adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs and specialist keyboards and mice, all of which can create a much more comfortable workstation. The allowance can also fund taxis if students struggle to use public transport for disability-related reasons.
Anyone interested in finding out more about DSA or applying, can speak to the Disability Service or find out more information on the government website. If students aren’t eligible for DSA for any reason, they can book in with a disability adviser to discuss alternative support.
This article was first published as part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2023 at the University of Bath.