Going to University with dyslexia? About the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

Who is eligible?

Higher education students living inEnglandwith any of the following:

  • disability
  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia (or other SpLD)

What is it?

A non-means tested, non-repayable grant to cover specialist equipment and non-medical helper support.

In dyslexia terms this usually means:

  • specialist 1:1 support from a dyslexia-trained professional
  • assistive software such as text to speech or mind-mapping applications
  • digital voice recorder

How can I apply?

You must have a full diagnostic assessment report done since you were 16 by a specialist assessor with an assessment practising certificate – either a specialist teacher (STA) or an educational psychologist (EP).

Exam Access Arrangements reports are not enough. Your school or college may be able to advise, or you can find a list of specialist assessors through the Hampshire Dyslexia Association or PATOSS.
Try to book early – many assessors do not work over the summer.

 

A full diagnostic assessment will give an up-to-date insight into your pattern of strengths and weaknesses and clearly state whether you have dyslexia. Assessments typically cost between £350 and £600; STAs are usually cheaper than EPs.  If you also have any medical condition it will help if you get medical evidence from your GP and add it to the same application.

The application process

This can seem a bit daunting – but it is worth persevering.

If you are applying to Student Finance England (SFE) for your student loan, you will also apply to them for DSA and you can use the ‘short’ DSA1 form.
Part-time, self-funded or postgraduate students must use the ‘full’ DSA1 form.
Health Sciences students with an NHS bursary apply to the NHS for DSA.

 

 

Typically:

  1. Send your application to SFE with a copy of your full assessment report.

 

  1. If your application is accepted, they will tell you to book a ‘needs assessment’. The Wessex Needs Assessment Centre covers the local area: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/edusupport/wnac/

 

  1. Your needs assessment report, outlining the support you will need, will be sent to you and to SFE. Check your emails!

 

  1. SFE will send you a letter or email telling you what funding they have approved and give you instructions for ordering your equipment.

 

  1. SFE will pay suppliers direct – you do not have to get involved in that side of it. The NHS will credit your account and expect you to order, pay and send them the receipts.

Accessing support at University

Whichever university you go to, it is essential that you register with the dyslexia support services as soon as possible after you enrol.
Take your diagnostic and needs assessment reports with you.
If you have already arranged your DSA, the specialist advisors will be able to help you book specialist 1:1 support and also make arrangements for additional exam arrangements. If you have not been able to get a full diagnostic assessment, they should be able to arrange this – take your old reports with you. The cost may be cheaper than ‘going private’ – it depends on individual university policy – but it is unlikely to be free.

Useful websites:

 

Jane Warren, MSc (SpLD), AMBDA, APC

Specialist Dyslexia Practitioner and SeniorTeachingFellow
University ofSouthampton

Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments 2013/14 JCQ Regulations

Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments 2013/14 JCQ Regulations
document is now online. http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration/regulations-and-guidance/access-arrangements-and-reasonable-adjustments-2013-2014

Following concerns over  abuse of the allocation of 25% extra time (see below), the regulations have become much more prescriptive and demanding. Centres must be satisfied that candidates have an impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect, giving rise to persistent and significant difficulties.

 

GCSEs: ‘extra time’ rule overhauled to stamp out abuse
Published on August 22, 2013.
http://schoolsimprovement.net/gcses-extra-time-rule-overhauled-to-stamp-out-abuse/

Going to University with dyslexia? About the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

Who is eligible?

Higher education students living in England with any of the following:

  • disability
  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia (or other SpLD)

What is it?

A non-means tested, non-repayable grant to cover specialist equipment and non-medical helper support.

In dyslexia terms this usually means:

  • specialist 1:1 support from a dyslexia-trained professional
  • assistive software such as text to speech or mind-mapping applications
  • digital voice recorder

How can I apply?

You must have a full diagnostic assessment report done since you were 16 by a specialist assessor with an assessment practising certificate – either a specialist teacher (STA) or an educational psychologist (EP).

Exam Access Arrangements reports are not enough. Your school or college may be able to advise, or you can find a list of specialist assessors through the Hampshire Dyslexia Association or PATOSS.
Try to book early – many assessors do not work over the summer.

 

A full diagnostic assessment will give an up-to-date insight into your pattern of strengths and weaknesses and clearly state whether you have dyslexia. Assessments typically cost between £350 and £600; STAs are usually cheaper than EPs.  If you also have any medical condition it will help if you get medical evidence from your GP and add it to the same application.

The application process

This can seem a bit daunting – but it is worth persevering.

If you are applying to Student Finance England (SFE) for your student loan, you will also apply to them for DSA and you can use the ‘short’ DSA1 form.
Part-time, self-funded or postgraduate students must use the ‘full’ DSA1 form.
Health Sciences students with an NHS bursary apply to the NHS for DSA.

 

 

Typically:

  1. Send your application to SFE with a copy of your full assessment report.

 

  1. If your application is accepted, they will tell you to book a ‘needs assessment’. The Wessex Needs Assessment Centre covers the local area: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/edusupport/wnac/

 

  1. Your needs assessment report, outlining the support you will need, will be sent to you and to SFE. Check your emails!

 

  1. SFE will send you a letter or email telling you what funding they have approved and give you instructions for ordering your equipment.

 

  1. SFE will pay suppliers direct – you do not have to get involved in that side of it. The NHS will credit your account and expect you to order, pay and send them the receipts.

Accessing support at University

Whichever university you go to, it is essential that you register with the dyslexia support services as soon as possible after you enrol.
Take your diagnostic and needs assessment reports with you.
If you have already arranged your DSA, the specialist advisors will be able to help you book specialist 1:1 support and also make arrangements for additional exam arrangements. If you have not been able to get a full diagnostic assessment, they should be able to arrange this – take your old reports with you. The cost may be cheaper than ‘going private’ – it depends on individual university policy – but it is unlikely to be free.

Useful websites:

 

Jane Warren, MSc (SpLD), AMBDA, APC

Specialist Dyslexia Practitioner and SeniorTeachingFellow
University ofSouthampton

Tough new GCSEs may disadvantage SEN students.

Jean Hutchins has raised our awareness on BDA forum:

Times Educational Supplement, Friday 22 March 2013, pages 12 and 13.
Tough new GCSEs may disadvantage SEN students.

Students with dyslexia and other special educational needs … may need
supervised rest breaks to cope with the longer exam papers.

Sue Flohr, from the British Dyslexia Association, said: “We don’t think
rest breaks will solve the problem for dyslexics, who will be penalised
for their short-term memory and speed of processing. Breaks could
actually exacerbate these problems because they will make exams even
longer and pupils will find it difficult to refocus.”

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6325554

Plans for an English Baccalaureate Certificate dropped

Jean Hutchins posted this on BDA forum:

Plans to end GCSEs in key subjects in England and replace them with an English Baccalaureate Certificate are set to be scrapped by ministers.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21363396 >

The Daily Telegraph also has it, and there have been 388 comments already!
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9853770/Major-U-turn-as-Coalition-abandons-plan-to-scrap-GCSEs.html

So no English Baccalaureate or only one exam board for each subject, but:
Under new plans, GCSEs will be overhauled with a focus on longer essay-style questions, traditional end-of-course exams, curbs on coursework and “extension papers” for the brightest pupils in maths and science.

Adult Dyslexia Report

In the 40 years that the British Dyslexia Association has been campaigning there has been many changes in the world of dyslexia, some of them good.

In light of this milestone, the British Dyslexia Association has produced a report looking back at the last 40 years and has made recommendations for the future.

In partnership with The Dyslexia Foundation and after consulting 100 organisations, this report is a wide ranging and comprehensive assessment of the current provision for adults with dyslexia.

The link to the full report is here:

http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/news/adult-dyslexia-report.html

Lack of evidence puts the brakes on SEN reforms

See this link to the Times Educational Supplement: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6304966

Edward Timpson, Minister, admits pilot work on the changes is still ’embryonic’. There is particular concern about the costs of implementing this important new legislation and on seeing the effects of the first education, health and care plans as they are coming into fruition nationally, in the pilot schemes.

The Minister  announced the extension of the SEN and Disability Pathfinders for 18 months to run through to September 2014. The Minister made this statement while giving evidence to the Education Select Committee on the proposed SEN and disability reforms.

The Minister stated that “the overwhelming view is that we are moving in the right direction, but we want to get this right and if that means listening for a little longer, then we will do that.

The Minister also assured the committee that families’ current protections under the existing statementing system will be carried through to the next system. This includes the right to request an assessment, which within the provisions will be extended to GPs also.

Introducing ClaroRead for Mac V5 and news for Assessors!

ClaroRead for Mac V5 is the latest version of the  reading and writing
support tool for Mac. ClaroRead for Mac is designed to support individuals
who struggle with reading and writing. Users of any age and level of
ability will have a world of information unlocked through ClaroRead.

New In ClaroRead For Mac

Nuance Vocalizer Voices
ClaroRead for Mac now includes 8 high quality Nuance Vocalizer Voices. To
hear examples of the voices go to
http://www.clarosoftware.com/faq_info.php?cPath=333&tab=x#3

“The rise and fall of the voices, as well as the tone, is better and
sounds even more natural.” Alasdair King MD Claro Software LTD

Support for Apple Pages ’09
ClaroRead for Mac now supports Apple’s Pages word processor just like
Microsoft Word. Key features supported include Homophone support, visual
highlighting tools and font features.

Check Anywhere Feature
The Check Anywhere feature allows users to spell check any text in any
application, whether it is a web page, document or PDF.

Improved In ClaroRead For Mac

Check Window Feature
The Check Window feature now includes extras such as a dictionary
definition of the chosen word and context box. The Check Window also
displays the meaning and synonyms of a chosen word.

The Dock Icon Feature
Control the functions of ClaroRead including Play, Stop and Save to Audio
through the dock icon. Access the main features of ClaroRead even when the
application is minimised.

Prediction Feature
The Prediction feature has been enhanced and can now be used when typing in
any application, such as Safari, Pages or TextEdit.

To find out more about ClaroRead for Mac V5 go to
http://www.clarosoftware.com/index.php?cPath=333

Assessors
If you are an assessor and would like a free evaluation copy of ClaroRead
for Mac V5 please contact  sales@clarosoftware.com

Claro Training Zone
The Claro Training Zone is a free online training resource to assist
assessors. Each course has been broken down into easy to follow sections,
so that users can quickly find the information that they are looking for.

Currently available on the site are the ClaroRead for PC and Mac courses.
Each course includes a thorough user guide covering each feature in detail,
help videos and interactive tutorials.

Once the course has been complete users can take part in a ClaroRead quiz.
Completing the quiz successfully will reward users with the Claro Training
Zone Certificate.

If you are an assessor and would like to register for a free Claro Training
Zone account go to http://clarosoftware.concept-live.co.uk/

Claro Links:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/clarosoftware
Twitter – http://www.clarosoftware.com/twitter
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/clarosoftware
RSS Feed – http://www.clarosoftware.com/blog/?feed=rss2

The Future of Special Educational Needs?

On 9th March 2011,Children’s Minister Sarah Teather unveiled proposals which would mean the biggest programme of reform in the education and health support for children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities in 30 years.
Why do things need to change?
 parents find themselves having to battle their way through the current system in order to get the support they believe their child needs. This can be very frustrating.
 this often develops into an adversarial assessment process with the local authority providing the assessments and the funding needed for support
 SEN statements do not join up the education, health and care support for the child
 multiple assessments from different providers often lead to delays in getting support
 too many children are being identified with SEN. In recent years the proportion of children with SEN but without statements has nearly doubled – from 10 per cent of all pupils in 1995 to 18.2 per cent or 1.5 million children in 2010. If you include the 2.7% who have Statements, that’s 1 in 5 children in this country identified as having SEN. (source Dept of Education)
The ideas set out in the Green Paper have been informed by the views and expertise of families, teachers, local authorities, health professionals and national and local organisations working with them.
What are the aims of the Green Paper?
 high quality early identification and intervention for all children where they need it, such as the health and development review for children aged between 2 and 2½ years.
 to ensure assessment and plans run from birth to 25 years old – this will cover the awkward transition from teenage years to early adult working life.
 replace School Action & School Action Plus categories of SEN with a single Early Years setting-based category and school-based category of SEN;
 a new single assessment process and ‘Education, Health and Care Plan’ by 2014; health and social services is included in the package of support, along with education. This will replace the Statementing process but will provide the same statutory protection to parents as the statement of SEN and will include a commitment from all parties to provide their services. There is an aim to reduce the time it takes to complete this process and if there is disagreement between the Local Authority and the parents then it is hoped that the matter can be settled through mediation rather than Tribunal.
 overhaul teacher training and professional development to better help pupils with special educational needs and to raise their attainment
 local authorities and other services will set out a local offer of all services available; this will be ‘easy to understand’.
 the option of a personal budget by 2014 for all families with children with a statement of SEN or a new Education, Health and Care Plan; Key workers will be trained to advise families and help them navigate the range of help available across health, education and social care.
 give parents a real choice of school, either a mainstream or special school; they will remove the current bias towards inclusion. Preferences will be met “unless the choice would not meet the needs of the child, be incompatible with the efficient education of other children, or be an inefficient use of resources.”
 introduce greater independence to the assessment of children’s needs. There is mention of targeted funding to voluntary and community sector organisations that have a strong track record of delivering high quality services relating to assessment and support.
The 4 month consultation which began on 9 March will run to 30 June 2011. A period of testing proposals in local areas will commence in September 2011. Detailed plans should emerge the end of the year, and will form the basis for any necessary legislative changes to be taken forward from May 2012 at the earliest.

What has been the response so far?
The BDA has welcomed measures to enable earlier assessment of children, but is deeply concerned at the present severe cuts to Local Authority special educational needs teaching and assessment personnel and the impact this will have on delivery of services to Dyslexic pupils.

The BDA has welcomed the increased collaboration between health, education and social care as well as suggestions for improved transparency and parental choice. The increased participation of the voluntary and charitable sector they also welcome although funding for the latter will be a crucial issue.

This is of necessity only a brief summary of the Green Paper. Full details can be found at http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/sen/a0075339/sengreenpaper
A head teacher quoted in the Green Paper says: “If I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before in my car – I get a map. A good map shows all the routes and the landscapes and the options. Where is the map for families to use if their child is identified with SEN? Here is our chance to create a map – one that all people can understand – using common language and well explained assessments.”
Barbara Lowe May 2011