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Can we find the missing piece? A survey of students who have received the Disabled Students’ Allowances [DSAs] Deb Viney, E.A. Draffan, Sue Wilkinson.

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Presentation on theme: "Can we find the missing piece? A survey of students who have received the Disabled Students’ Allowances [DSAs] Deb Viney, E.A. Draffan, Sue Wilkinson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Can we find the missing piece? A survey of students who have received the Disabled Students’ Allowances [DSAs] Deb Viney, E.A. Draffan, Sue Wilkinson

2 Quality assurance of processes and administration. No national evaluation of students’ experiences with the equipment and human support. 2005 - 06 telephone survey, 455 students with dyslexia. Dec 2011 to March 2012 on-line survey, 841 respondents with a wide range of impairments who have claimed the DSAs since 2007. 2 Background to the Survey

3 Only students with dyslexia (n = 455) and based on one supplier’s database; 90% of participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the hardware and the software that they received. 48.6% of participants had received training and of those 86.3% were satisfied with the training received. Majority who declined felt they were competent IT users. Did they make the most of the equipment and support? 3 The 2005 Survey

4 ?The forms of support (equipment, hardware, software, helpers and travel etc.) recommended ?Frequency of use ?Levels of satisfaction Students provided comments: Favourite AT? What would they have liked? Support? How helpful? Finally “The DSAs funding enabled me to …” 2012 Online Questionnaire

5 Twice as many women as men (66% and 32% respectively) Note: 60% of HE students are female Level of study 76.1% Under-graduates 10.8 % Post-graduates (13.1% did not respond to this question) Participants

6 Respondents’ Impairments 6

7 Comparisons with National Data 1 7 ECU 2010 UG Degree ECU 2010 Other UG ECU 2010 PG 2012 SURVEY respondents Visual impairment/ Blind2.40% 2.90%3.80% Hearing impairment/ Deaf7.10% 6.00%3.50% Mobility impairment5.20% 4.60%10.10% Personal Care0.30% 0.20%N/A Mental health issue6.10% 5.60%12.70%

8 Comparisons with National Data 2 8 ECU 2010 UG Degree ECU 2010 Other UG ECU 2010 PG 2012 SURVEY respondents Unseen condition14.80%18.90%23.30%16.30% Multiple impairments5.20%5.80%4.90%N/A Autism Spectrum Disorder1.40%0.80%0.70%3.60% Specific Learning Differences55.00%42.70%40.20%62.50% Other conditions9.20%10.60%11.80%8.80%

9 9 Impairment first identified …

10 Hardware Recommended & Usefulness

11 Software Recommended & Usefulness

12 Frequency of Use 85% of respondents had not used AT prior to their DSAs assessment

13 Way Hardware supported studies

14 Way Software supported studies

15 Favourite piece of AT hardware? Laptop 53.2% Digital Voice Recorder 17.6% Printer/Scanner/Copier 8.9% Desktop PC 3.7% Chair 1.5% Handheld Dictionary 1.2%

16 Reasons for favourite piece of hardware

17 AT training offered

18 Training 60.2% of respondents took up the training. Only 24.7% of those who took up training took up all of the hours recommended 16.6% felt they would benefit from more hours of training

19 Reasons for not accepting Training

20 Helpfulness of AT Training

21 How could the AT training be better?

22 60.6% were recommended 1:1 support and did access it 16.2% were recommended 1:1 support but did not access it Why did some students not take up the support? 7.4% felt recommendation was not necessary and did not need support 4.3% did not feel it was the right recommendation for them 4.6% stated the support was not available at times they needed it Support workers - NMH

23 Was AT used in 1:1 support sessions? 23 When asked whether they would like their AT training and their 1:1 sessions integrated… 55.2% said yes 41.1% said no 3.7% did not respond

24 Use of AT within support sessions Fewer than 25% of support workers (e.g. dyslexia tutors, mentors) used Assistive Technology within their sessions more than occasionally.

25 25 Impact of DSA on Studies When asked to complete the sentence “The DSAs enabled me to….” respondents’ comments were classified as: 87.6% positive 3.3% neutral 2.7% negative

26 “The DSAs funding enabled me to …” Row 244 [positive] “… Study my way; By doing so it has allowed me to shape my life the way I wanted it by helping me follow a dream which seemed unrealistic: completing a degree in my chosen field. People around me thought I would not be able to do it due to my condition but the DSAs funding gave me the necessary support to overcome the barriers in my environment. Thanks to the DSAs funding I will be holding my dream job as soon as I will finish hopefully; which means the world to me as I will no longer rely on benefits earn a decent salary and become financially independent.” [ female, FT UG, Year 3, chronic medical] 26

27 “The DSAs funding enabled me to …” Row 612 [mixed] “… 1) better my degree despite the year long delay i experienced with no support or help the funding and equipment helped me to finish my degree and took a huge weight off my shoulders which i couldnt possibly describe. 2) address my thoughts and to access complex degree concepts 3) in a nut shell without it i would not be in uni and probably selling myself to make ends meet and in a nightmarish situation of selling crack and doing degrading manual labor for the rest of my unqualified dyslexic life”. [bold added, male, FT UG, Year 2, SpLDs] 27

28 Row 410 [negative] “… to waste my time with endless surveys and not told me what i need to do to get the ball roling on this i am still waitting while all my class mate are sailling on by and i am just sitting the lost”. [male, FT UG, Year 2, SpLDs] Row 271 [negative] “… Have to worry about my studies as well as worrying about chasing them up a couple of times a week for something that should have been done months ago.” [female, FT UG, Year 1, SpLDs] 28 “The DSAs funding enabled me to …”

29 Continue to encourage Needs Assessments as early as possible. Needs Assessors may need to listen to students’ views more carefully – especially regarding support workers and specialist software. Focus on the marketing of the AT training and encourage more students to engage with training. Offer more flexible training, especially outside office hours for those with heavy workloads, placements, etc.. Consider a more targeted approach to AT training? Recommendations

30 More Recommendations Work on ways to repair / replace broken equipment more rapidly. Speed up the DSAs process for students on one year courses. Many students struggle to pay for consumables when they are struggling with food and rent. Some funding bodies provide an allowance up front – receipts to be received later. Increase awareness of AT in the wider community

31 Draffan, E.A., Evans, D.G & Blenkhorn. P. (2007) 'Use of assistive technology by students with dyslexia in post-secondary education', Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 2:2, p. 105 – 116 URL: Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) (2010) “Equality in higher education: Statistical report 2010” References

32 Deb Viney - SOAS Diversity Advisor and was head of the Disability Service at the University of Southampton from 1997 – 2006. She is also a Director of NADP. E.A. Draffan - Research Fellow, Electronics and Computer Science department at Southampton and was previously the Access Centre Manager at University of Sussex. She was part of the research team which produced the 2005 survey of dyslexic students. Sue Wilkinson Researcher and Senior Needs Assessor in the Assessment Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Please contact us via Thank you

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