Non-Medical Help Services

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1 Non-Medical Help Services Reference Manual /SF_England

2 CONTENTS Part One: Introduction and background 3 The development of the framework 4 Who is this guide for 5 Part Two: User Guide 6 Using this manual 6 Activities and Activity Titles 6 Descriptors 7 Qualifications and Training 7 Using the framework 7 Exceptions 8 Part Three: Details of activities within each cost band 9 Band One Practical Support Assistant 10 Library Support Assistant 10 Reader 11 Scribe 11 Workshop/Laboratory Assistant 11 Sighted Guide 11 Proof Reader 12 Band Two Study Assistant 13 Examination Support Workers 14 Manual Notetakers 14 Band Three Communication Support Workers 15 Electronic Notetakers 16 Specialist Transcription Service 17 Mobility Trainer 17 Band Four Specialist Mentors 19 Specialist One to One Study Skills Support 19 British Sign Language Interpreters 21 Language Support Tutor for deaf students 22 Assistive Technology Trainers 22 Part Four: Summary of Cost Bands 24 2

3 PART ONE: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND Student Finance England is a service provided by the Student Loans Company. We provide financial support on behalf of the UK Government to students from England entering higher education in the UK. This Reference Manual has been produced based on research commissioned by us into the area of non-medical help provision funded under the Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs). In developing this manual, we were advised by our Disabled Students Stakeholder Group (DSSG), a group consisting of a wide range of stakeholders who support and advise us on issues related to DSAs. The overall purpose of this Reference Manual is to provide procurement guidance for our DSAs team to use when assessing needs assessment report recommendations for non-medical help services. This manual provides a framework for us to compare services and help provide value for money of DSAs funded non-medical help services. To ensure that students receive a consistent level of non-medical help services, this Reference Manual provides a coherent framework of cost bands with: a list of services/activities provided by non-medical helpers allowable within DSAs regulations; Activity descriptors for each activity title; the training, range of qualifications, type/level of experience and professional standards required by the individual providing the service; and the range of expected costs for each activity. DSAs are designed to cover the cost of extra support that is required by individual disabled students to enable them to participate in Higher Education (HE) on an equal basis to other students. Over the years, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and providers have developed a rich and varied range of different types of support. This manual should not reduce or constrain the necessary flexibility of an allowance which is aimed to support a wide range of individual need. However, there is a very wide range of activity descriptors and costs in the market and there is a general recognition that there requires to be a common, national framework to ensure that all disabled students, wherever they might be studying, have equal access to good quality and cost appropriate non-medical help support. It is this framework which this Reference Manual aims to provide. 3

4 DSAs are not the only source of support for disabled students in HE. All HEIs and further education colleges funded by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) receive a funding allocation to widen access and improve provision for disabled students. HE providers also have specific duties under the Equalities Act to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students. These duties should anticipate individual needs and apply to all disabled students, not just those receiving DSAs. The development of this Reference Manual has been informed by a research study which involved a detailed review of documentary evidence, wide consultation with disabled students and approximately 150 stakeholders involved in the delivery of DSAs funded services. This manual is complimented by the Non-Medical Help Charter developed by the Medical Helper Co-ordinators Group. The development of the framework The research undertaken in developing the framework analysed more than 100 different non-medical helper job titles and descriptors, the type of support provided and the rates charged per hour for each type of service. The outcome of this analysis was a framework with four cost bands. The non-medical help activities were consolidated into the minimum number necessary to cover the full range of support functions required. They were then allocated to the appropriate cost band according to the activity undertaken and the level of training or qualification required. The activity titles and activity descriptors included in this Reference Manual have been drawn up in accordance with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Guidance on Disabled Students Allowance which states that DSAs are provided to support disabled students in their learning but are not intended for the costs of academic tuition or support in the main subject(s) area being studied as institutions should normally meet these costs as part of providing the course. (para.97). Subject specific academic support cannot be funded by DSAs and is not included in the framework. The activities and descriptors in this Reference Manual are, in the majority of instances, generic descriptors which focus on a student s access to learning rather than using a disability led medical model. 4

5 Who the guide is for This Reference Manual has been developed not just to benefit us, but also for HEIs; external providers of non-medical help for disabled students; DSAs assessors and disabled students themselves. For us, it provides a more transparent way of ensuring that the costs of non-medical help services are comparable and represent an appropriate cost for the service provided. This is key to ensuring value for money. It includes broad activity descriptions for the wide range of support activities and services allowable under DSAs guidelines. This manual will promote greater equity and value for money in the provision of non-medical help services. For HEI Disability Advisers and external providers of support services it provides guidelines on the types of non-medical help services and activities which may be funded under DSAs, the cost bands within which each activity is located and the appropriate qualifications and/or skills and/or training required to undertake each activity. For Non-Medical Helpers this manual provides a clear picture of what support they are expected to provide within the particular recommendation and the appropriate qualifications and/or skills and/or training required to undertake each activity. For disabled students who employ their own non-medical helpers it provides a clear indication of the type of work that their non-medical helpers should undertake and the appropriate qualifications and/or skills and/or training required to perform each activity. In addition, all disabled students, whether or not they are employing their own non-medical helpers, can use the manual to understand the kind of support they can expect to receive and feel confident that it falls within a national framework. For assessors this Manual provides information on how non-medical help work should be described and categorised when recommended and charged to us. This will help assessors formulate their assessments in accordance with a national framework. 5

6 PART TWO: USER GUIDE USING THIS MANUAL The framework: Bands functions and costs In this Reference Manual the various support activities which are permissible under DSAs have been grouped into four bands, based both on type of activity and cost. A major finding of the research study was that the rates charged for the same type of non-medical help services varied considerably for a variety of legitimate reasons. Detailed analysis of the way in which the costs of non-medical help services were calculated identified variables such as the employment status of the non-medical helper, whether salaried or hourly paid /sessional, employed or self-employed, contracted through an HEI and offering in-house provision, contracted through an external service provider and delivering outsourced non-medical help or various combinations of both, or whether employed directly by a disabled student. The cost components included in the rates charged included further variables related to, for example: pay rates; employment on-costs; the allowable additional costs in arranging and administering non-medical help support; VAT and London weighting. The breadth of the cost bands are therefore relatively wide to allow for these legitimate variations. Where there are particular factors that have a direct impact on the cost of a specific non-medical help activity, these are described in Part Three. Activities and Activity Titles The activity titles which have been used in this Reference Manual are those generally agreed to be the most widely used and understood and should be the ones referred to by providers when communicating with us. However, individual HEIs and external providers may continue to use their own preferred titles within their own particular context, if they wish. It is acknowledged that while some non-medical helpers might be employed specifically to carry out one particular activity, e.g. notetaking, others might be employed to carry out a range of different activities. 6

7 Descriptors The activity descriptors detailed in Part Three provide a succinct description of the key purpose and tasks which make up a particular activity. Providers may have their own more detailed activity/job descriptions. Qualifications and Training Activity descriptors are followed by a brief note on the qualifications, training and competencies required for each activity. In some areas there are nationally recognised qualifications for staff undertaking non-medical help activities and in these instances staff would be expected to have these qualifications or perform at a standard of those who hold them. However, there are many areas where there are no formal qualifications and where experience and also soft skills such as interpersonal skills which are not necessarily formally accredited are particularly important. Several HEIs and external providers currently provide a generic level of training, monitoring and support for all non-medical help workers and also activity specific training where the activity requires this. This training may or may not be accredited by the institution. This Manual works on the assumption that all non-medical helpers should receive some kind of generic training. Using the framework We expect DSAs claims to use the activity titles listed in this Manual and that the non-medical helpers fulfil the duties described under the relevant activity title. This does not preclude any organisation or individual from using their own preferred job titles in their day to day work. During the first phase of the implementation the cost bands show indicative costs only and will be used to benchmark costs for future years. We ll monitor invoices against the appropriate cost bands to assess whether rates remain largely within the parameters expected. In future years the expectation will be that non-medical help claims will not exceed the appropriate cost band maximum. We don t expect to see the rates previously charged for non-medical help services to increase without reason, even when they fall below the band costs in the framework or when they are well below the upper limit. We ll put in place measures to monitor this situation. There will be occasions where a student s assessed needs require support that falls into more than one band. On occasion the support may be delivered by a single non-medical helper that is qualified to deliver more than one type of support for example notetaker and reader. 7

8 The hourly rate charged should fall within the appropriate band for the specific support that is being provided. For example, a single non-medical helper might primarily fulfil the activity of electronic notetakers (band three) for three hours a week but might also act as a reader or scribe (band one) for an hour a week. In this case, the claim would be three hours at band three and one hour at band one. An exception to this would be where the study needs assessor has recommended a study assistant. In such cases the support would fall within band two, we expect this to be uncommon. Students are entitled to expect good quality and consistent standards of non-medical help support that adheres to the specifications in this Manual. All non-medical helpers need to have the required level of knowledge, skills, training and qualifications (where appropriate) to deliver the support competently and to meet professional standards. The use of the framework should not impose constraints on the flexibility necessary to meet disabled students requirements. Where students needs change over time or in response to changes in the course requirements or context, they should be reassessed as at present. Exceptions It s expected that the majority of claims will be able to fit into the bands and activity descriptors presented in this Reference Manual. However, there may be rare cases when an individual exception to the use of these bands needs to be made. Included within the anticipated exceptions are four additional activities which are within the scope of DSAs but which only occur infrequently. These are: Lip Speaker: who conveys a speaker s message to lip readers accurately using unvoiced speech; Deaf Blind Support Worker: who, through the Deafblind Manual Alphabet, relays at appropriate speed what is said by a third party to a deafblind person; Speech to text reporter: who produces a verbatim record of everything that is said (including references to laughter etc.) which is shown instantly on a monitor or screen; and Specialist Braille Transcription: a specialist Braille reader who will translate between text and Braille. At this stage there are insufficient data or other evidence to allocate these particular activities to the cost bands. Since these activities occur very infrequently in practice, they will be dealt with as exceptions. 8

9 PART THREE: DETAILS OF ACTIVITIES WITHIN EACH COST BAND This part of the Reference Manual provides the overview of each band with: band number and cost; generic band title; band descriptor; and functions undertaken within the band. Following on from this, for each activity within the band, further detailed information is provided on: activity titles; activity descriptors; knowledge, skills, qualifications/training required for each activity; and any specific costing factors. Band One Support Assistants: This band includes activities which provide practical assistance for students. Staff carrying out these activities have the skills and competence to work effectively, at the direction of the student, in their own particular context. Functions undertaken by Support Assistants include: Providing practical support around the campus Providing practical support in the library, laboratory or workshop/studio etc. Reading aloud Scribing Text checking (pointing out errors but not providing corrections) Roles which might provide this support include: Practical Support Assistant Library Support Assistant Reader Scribe Workshop/Laboratory Assistant Sighted Guide Proof Reader 9

10 Practical Support Assistant Sometimes referred to as: Mobility Assistant; Personal Assistant; Non-Medical Helper (Physical Assistance); Campus Orientation; Ongoing Mobility Assistance; General Support Worker (Carrying); Buddy Campus Orientation; Social Support; Activity: This activity can have several aspects. It may include providing practical and mobility support to assist a student with a physical impairment in manoeuvring around the campus. This could include helping to manipulate a wheelchair, carrying books, IT equipment etc. It could also include general orientation and finding out where things are located for students whose disability means that they have problems with orientation. It could also include social support in order to ensure access to the wider aspects of student life, for example for a student on the autistic spectrum who had difficulty with social interaction. While some of these tasks, such as carrying equipment for a student with mobility difficulties, will need to continue throughout a student s course, others, such as general orientation, should decrease as the student becomes more able to manage independently. In all cases the assistant will need to liaise with the student in order to arrange locations/times etc. and to hold regular reviews with the student to assess how well the support is working. Skills required: Some experience/understanding of providing support for disabled adults; thorough knowledge of the campus; good interpersonal skills. Qualifications/training: Generic non-medical help training. Those whose support activity includes supporting wheelchair users will also need to have had specific health and safety training relevant to the physical demands of their activity. Library Support Assistant Activity: To help students search library catalogues, locate materials, collect materials, photocopying etc. Skills required: Good working knowledge of the library. Qualifications/training: Generic non-medical help training; understanding of the HE context. 10

11 Reader Activity: To read aloud for a student whose disability makes reading or other forms of accessing text impossible. Skills required: Clear reading voice; sufficient skills to cope with the demands of the text including any technical jargon. Qualifications and training: Generic non-medical help training; some understanding of the HE context. Scribe Activity: To write down or type what a student dictates. Skills Required: Clear handwriting and/or accurate keyboarding skills; good spelling and punctuation; sufficient skills to cope with the area of work being followed by the student including any technical jargon; understanding of the boundaries of this activity including personal integrity and an awareness that the scribe s activity is to write down exactly what the student says and not to make any amendments or changes to content. Qualifications and Training: Generic non-medical help training; competency in English; understanding of the HE context. Workshop/Laboratory Assistant Activity: To support a student in gaining access to the practical aspects of their course, e.g. in the laboratory or in a workshop/studio situation, e.g. technical workshop or dance studio. Skills Required: Knowledge and experience of the particular educational setting, e.g. laboratory or workshop. Training/qualifications: Generic non-medical help training; sufficient knowledge in the requisite practical area; health and safety training relevant to the particular workshop context. Sighted Guide Activity: To provide one to one mobility assistance to a student with a visual impairment helping them navigate their way around the campus. Skills required: Thorough knowledge of the campus; good interpersonal skills. Qualifications/training: Generic non-medical help training; training in techniques and etiquette for guiding people with a visual impairment. 11

12 Proof Reader Sometimes referred to as: Text Checker Activity: To read through the student s work and point out the types of errors that the student has made in grammar/spelling/structure etc. and to suggest ways of rectifying these in the future. The activity is not to correct mistakes for the student or to comment or advise on content. Skills Required: Fast reader but also good attention to detail; an understanding of the area of work being followed by the student including any technical jargon; an understanding of the boundaries of this activity including personal integrity and an awareness that the proof reader s role is to support the student to learn to recognise their own mistakes and is not to make any amendments or changes to content. Qualifications/Training: Generic non-medical help training with particular emphasis on boundaries of activity; understanding of the HE context. Band Two Enhanced Support Assistants: These are activities which demand an enhanced level of skill, knowledge and training to Band One activities. Functions undertaken by Enhanced Support Assistants include: Supporting students to develop their independence and autonomy in HE, for example by providing support with issues such as time keeping; organisational skills etc and can be supplemented by practical support e.g. library support, workshop support etc. Supporting a disabled student during examinations Roles which might provide this support include: Study Assistant Examination Support Worker Manual Notetaker 12

13 Study Assistant Sometimes referred to as: Education Assistant; Learning Support Assistant; Specialist Assistant; DSAs Assistant; Study Mentor; Study Buddy; Learning Support Facilitator. Activity: This role should only be recommended when the demands of the role call for a mix of enabling strategies complemented by some practical assistance. This is likely to be when the student has a range of support requirements because of their combined complex circumstances. A range of enabling support is the focus of the activity e.g. supporting the student in adapting to the academic demands of HE, providing information, helping with time keeping, helping with organisational skills etc and can be supplemented by practical support e.g. library support, workshop support etc. The intention is that this role is recommended only where the circumstances of the student mean that it would be impractical to record a number of different duties that may take place within a small time frame e.g. within the same hour. The assessor should be clear what range of activities is being recommended within the role and the period they are expected to be needed for. Providing a range of Band One activities will not elevate those activities to the study assistant role. In some instances an assessor may recommend study assistance initially, but then recommend that this is reduced to practical assistance as the course progresses and the student develops the strategies to manage independently. Skills required: An enhanced level of skill and experience of working with disabled students and an understanding of the barriers which disabled students may have in accessing learning, but not the specialist experience and knowledge of those working at Band Four, One to One Study Skills Support or Specialist Mentors; knowledge of the way the institution/organisation works and the demands of studying in HE; excellent interpersonal skills; clear understanding of issues of confidentiality. Qualifications/training: Generic non-medical help training and also a level of specialist training relevant to the demands of the activity; understanding of the HE context. 13

14 Examination Support Workers Activity: To support a disabled student to gain access to the examination and fulfil its requirements. This covers the activities of exam reader, exam scribe and exam prompter. It can include reading out the examination paper, writing down student answers using exactly the words used by the student and for some students, e.g. those on the autistic spectrum who might get very focussed on a particular question, giving a prompt as to when it is time to move on to another. Skills required: Clear reading voice; excellent spelling and grammar; clear handwriting and/or good and accurate keyboard skills; ability to cope with any specialist vocabulary or technical jargon; clear understanding of the activity and high level of personal integrity in order to not make any additions or amendments to student s answers. Training/qualifications: Generic non-medical help training; competent knowledge of English; specific subject expertise where relevant e.g. to cope with technical jargon; understanding of the HE context. NB. While some HEIs see examination support as a part of their duties which should be provided under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), others see it as a provision which should be included in an individual student s DSAs. BIS Guidelines state that while special arrangements that need to be made to enable a disabled student to take an examination (e.g. providing specialist access or a separate room) should not be charged to DSAs, costs such as those for a specialist helper do fall within the scope of DSAs (para. 97). Manual Notetakers Activity: To support students who require notes to be taken on their behalf, for example because they have a physical impairment, are deaf or dyslexic. The activity of notetaking is to produce an accurate and legible handwritten record of the content of lectures, seminars, discussions, off-campus events etc. in the student s preferred style and format. Notes should contain pertinent information from the session (and any questions and discussion if required), may include diagrams and may be referenced to any hand-outs. The notetaker must hand over notes in the agreed format within a specified time frame. Skills required: Clear and legible handwriting at speed; accurate spelling and grammar skills; familiarity with subject specific vocabulary and technical language; disability awareness and deaf awareness specifically when working with deaf students. 14

15 Qualifications/training: a standard of education to at least second year degree level, the undertaking and completion of specialist notetaker training (may be in-house training) which includes the formal assessment and evaluation of skills and suitability, the successful achievement of that assessment and evaluation. Band Three Specialist Enabling Support: These are activities which demand specific expertise and specialist training in a particular access area. Functions undertaken by Specialist Facilitators include: Making use of specialist expertise and training in a particular access area in order to facilitate a student s access to learning using specialist skills and/or equipment to represent the language of delivery into another more accessible format Using specialist skills to enable students to navigate themselves independently around the educational environment Roles which might provide this support include: Communication Support Worker Electronic Notetaker Specialist Transcription Services Mobility Trainer Communication Support Workers Sometimes referred to as Communicator, Senior Communicator Activity: To translate sign language into voice and vice versa although not at the level of competence required by a trained British Sign Language (BSL)/ English Interpreter. To work flexibly with an individual deaf student in workshop and seminar situations as well as providing general one to one support. Skills required: Competent signing and experience of working with deaf learners in an HE context; understanding of how deafness affects learning. Qualifications/Training: BSL Level 3 or 4 (old qualification) 6 (new qualification) and, at more senior levels, either a qualification in Deaf Studies, a teaching qualification or a Communication Support Worker qualification. 15

16 Electronic Notetakers Activity: This is an activity undertaken by someone who has advanced skills and a formal qualification in electronic notetaking. This support activity is for deaf students but can be used to support other students according to need. The notetaker will make a comprehensive although non-verbatim, live, typed record of the content of lectures, seminars, discussions, off-campus events etc. in the student s preferred style and format. This may include the information appearing simultaneously on the student s computer using either Speedtext or Stereotype specialist software. The laptop could also be linked to Braille reading equipment. The notes can be sent to the student within a specified time frame or will be saved by the student at the end of the session if using the specialist software described above. Skills required: Ability to touch-type to a minimum of 60wpm; excellent spelling and punctuation skills; in depth knowledge and understanding of notetaking for disabled students and the ability to take notes accurately and comprehensively at speed; for some high level, specialist subjects some subject knowledge might be required. Qualifications/training: A standard of education to at least second year degree level, the undertaking and completion of specialist electronic notetaker training, for example those provided by Open College Network London Region (OCNLR), Action on Hearing Loss, Stereotype or an equivalent in-house training which includes the formal assessment and evaluation of skills and suitability, the successful achievement of that assessment and evaluation. Equipment required: Electronic notetaking requires the provider to be the laptop owner. Using a student s laptop will negate their insurance and relies on the student bringing a laptop with them which may be inappropriate and/ or unnecessary. Where software is used to enable the student to receive the text live on a second laptop, the second laptop could belong either to the student or the service provider. Note: This activity is not to be confused with that of Specialist Transcription. 16

17 Specialist Transcription Service Activity: To transcribe lecture notes, seminar notes, oral dictation or audio files into an alternative format accessible to the student. Skills required: Familiarity with a range of specialist office packages and equipment and knowledge of how to transcribe into various alternative formats. Qualifications/training: Relevant specialist IT training. Mobility Trainer Sometimes referred to as: Orientation Coach; Mobility Coach; Rehabilitation Worker. Activity: The Mobility Trainer provides a professional assessment of the campus location and then carries out a time limited programme of training. This training is particularly applicable for blind or visually impaired students who will require an individually developed programme based on agreed assessment of needs and who will need to learn with their coach safe routes around the campus, either making use of a long cane or with a guide dog. However, this kind of training may also be applicable to other students whose disability means they have particular difficulty with orientation, for example students who have significant difficulty with orientation because of acquired brain damage. Skills Required: A worker who has the requisite qualification and proven experience in training blind or visually impaired people, or those who have significant orientation difficulties because of other impairments, to find their way independently and safely around a new environment. Qualifications/training: In many cases HEIs will contract a coach from Social Services or from a voluntary society for the blind. If a student already has a guide dog then The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA) takes responsibility for mobility training in a new environment. Professional coaches for blind and visually impaired students are likely to hold a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) in Rehabilitation Studies. Coaches of those with other disabilities will need a thorough knowledge of the disability, the way it affects a person s orientation abilities and experience in providing techniques for overcoming these difficulties. 17

18 Band Four Specialist Access and Learning Facilitators: These activities require advanced specialist skills, training and/or qualifications concerning how particular disabilities affect a student s access to learning and how to address these access issues. Functions undertaken by Specialist Access and Learning Support Workers include: Making use of specialist skills and training in order to: Understand the particular barriers to learning experienced by individual disabled students Work with the student in order to identify strategies to help address these barriers Work with the student to continually monitor the effectiveness of these strategies Work to enhance student s autonomy within their learning context Interpret the language of delivery, giving real time access, into another language accessible to the student Roles which might provide this support include: Specialist Mentor Specialist One to One Study Skills Support BSL Interpreter Language Support Tutor for deaf students Assistive Technology Trainer 18

19 Specialist Mentors Sometimes referred to as: Specialist Advisers; Support and Guidance Mentor; Mental Health Mentor; Mental-Health Adviser; Autistic Spectrum Mentor; Aspergers Mentor. Activity: Specialist mentors provide highly specialist, specifically tailored, one to one support which helps students address the barriers to learning created by a particular impairment, e.g. mental-health conditions, or autistic spectrum disorders. This could include a range of issues, for example, coping with anxiety and stress situations, how to deal with concentration difficulties, time management, prioritising workload and creating a suitable work-life balance. Specialist Mentors should not act as advocates or counsellors. Their role is to help students recognise the barriers to learning created by their impairment and support them in developing strategies to address these barriers, particularly at times of transition, e.g. when starting at university or when planning to move on from it. For some students this support will need to be ongoing while for others it might be gradually phased out or only be required at certain points of their course. Skills Required: In depth knowledge and experience of the particular disability (e.g. mental-health condition, autistic spectrum disorder); understanding of the particular demands of study in HE; close working relationship with other support service both inside and outside the HEI and recognition of when there is a need to refer to other services. Training/Qualifications: University degree or equivalent and also specialist training (or equivalent in experience) in a particular disability area. Specialist One to One Study Skills Support Sometimes referred to as: Study Skills Support; Specialist Tutors; Dyslexic Tutors; Specialist Tutors for Students with Learning Difficulties; One to One Support Tutors; Study Coach; Learning Support Tutor; Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) Study Coach. Activity: This one to one support addresses the issues which some students might have in acquiring, recalling and retaining information in written and spoken language as well as the range of memory, organisational, attention and numeracy difficulties that students with specific learning difficulties often face when working in an HE context. These difficulties may have been identified already but they may only become evident when a student faces the academic challenges of HE work. This support should aim to develop students skills for autonomy in the learning environment. It should be tailored to a student s individual needs and professionals delivering the support should set out clear goals and timescales for achieving these goals. 19

20 Some students will require ongoing support throughout their course; others might require less support as the course continues; while some students might need additional support as the demands of their course intensify. While many students receiving this support will be dyslexic it needs to be available to any students with specific learning difficulties including those on the autistic spectrum. In these instances the support tutor will need to have specific experience of working with students with these disabilities. Skills Required: Substantial experience of working with students with disabilities and/or specific learning difficulties on a one to one basis. When working with students with specific learning difficulties an in depth understanding of the effects of specific learning difficulties on language and learning in a HE context, and, when working with students with other disabilities, an in depth knowledge of how these disabilities affect particular areas of learning. An awareness of the strengths which students with specific learning difficulties can bring to a learning situation and the skills to help students to make use of these strengths and overcome barriers to learning. Qualifications/training: Degree and teaching qualification or, for those working with students with Specific Learning Difficulties, a recognised specialist Students with SpLD qualification (a list of Institutions which currently provide specialist training is available on the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Disabilities (PATOSS) and British Dyslexia Association (BDA) websites). It would be preferable if the tutor also held a Teaching Practice Certificate (e.g. from PATOSS or BDA) and was regularly engaged in Continuous Professional Development (such as that covered by the Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education (ADSHE) Quality Assurance Framework). It is acknowledged that there are a number of professionals who have extensive experience in supporting students with Specific Learning Difficulties which dates back prior to the introduction of specialist SpLD qualifications and that they should be allowed to continue in their roles while the new qualifications are phased in. Some HEIs have combined the two activities above into an overarching Study Coach role. While the two kinds of support listed above are individual, one to one support, there might be times when small groups of students find it advantageous to work as a group and share strategies. However, this should not be seen as a substitute for one to one support. 20

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