Tag Archives: assessment

The Personal Touch – With Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology or ‘A.T.’ is specialist technology that helps support those with disabilities and learning needs. It can be either software or hardware and can be awarded through either Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) or Access To Work (ATW) schemes.


Designed to help students and employees overcome any difficulties they may have, for example with dyslexia, ADHD, or autism, Assistive Technology comes in a number of different forms depending on requirements.


However, since everyone is unique, Vocendi believe that any Assistive technology support should be matched to the needs of the individual, rather than seeking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, as is favoured by some other providers.


In fact, Vocendi offer one-to-one training sessions where an individual’s needs can be assessed so that the best solution can be found for each person. This holistic approach offers users a unique experience tailored for them rather than trying to cut corners to get as many people on board as possible without actually doing much to really help.


Vocendi make sure that our trainers have the rights skills and experience to offer this personal touch when it comes to Assistive Technology. With this in mind, we have implemented a competency framework to monitor and assess our team to ensure that service users have the best possible experience.


We believe that everyone has the right to reach their full potential and that far from being a burden, those who require Assistive Technology have a great deal to offer just as long as there is the help required to achieve this potential.


Of course, the Equality Act means that discriminating against someone in the workplace because of a condition like dyslexia is illegal and reasonable adjustments are expected to be made by an employer to prevent this.


The same can be said for those who are studying, with Disabled Students Allowance designed to help people be all they can rather than being side-lined due to disability or a learning difficulty.


You can find out more about our services and how they can help you right here on Vocendi.com – don’t settle for less, be all you can with Assistive Technology and support!

The Dyslexia-Friendly Workplace

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a current or prospective employee based on their dyslexia, while the 2010 Equality Act means that all publicly-funded companies must implement a three-year rolling programme to address and eliminate discrimination based on disabilities.


This means that employers should make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help dyslexic employees to work effectively, but what sort of adjustments are these?


There should be a written disability policy within the workplace and any company-wide information should be produced in alternative formats such as audio or in a larger font.  Employees should also be able to choose different coloured backgrounds, overlays and fonts to aid their comprehension. Employers may also consider bringing in assistive technology and software – which is something Vocendi can help with!


Aside from using technology, employers should also seek to bring in specialist one-to-one training or tuition for dyslexic employees in order to assist in matters such as time management., memory improvement, concentration and organisation.


However, before any of these can be implemented, employers need to assess the needs of their employers. This means finding out more about dyslexia and creating a culture of acceptance within the workplace. Employers should identify workplace problems and encourage a support among employees as well as making sure that communications are disseminated in a way that doesn’t exacerbate or ignore any problems encountered by dyslexic workers. Of course, a company should also look to create a dyslexia-friendly interface for customers too – or else risk losing business!


These adjustments needn’t be huge or overly demanding to make, but they can have a real benefit to a business. Not only does a dyslexia -friendly environment create a better level of service for customers and clients but can help bring out the strengths of the workforce.  These measures will also help reduce absenteeism, stress and staff turnover, creating a more dedicated and unified workforce.


Showing you care as an employer and making the right adjustments will not only improve how effective employees are, but can also improve company morale, motivation, and loyalty – not to mention keeping in line with the Equality Act!

Understanding ADHD

There is a degree of uncertainty about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) – including exactly what it is, how you may come to have ADHD, and how best to deal with it.  Symptoms of ADHD include having difficulty in staying focused, problems with controlling your behaviour, and hyperactivity.


You have probably heard of ADHD, but did you know that it is actually made up of three main sub-types?


These are, predominantly inattentive type, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type, and combined inattention and hyperactive impulsive type.


Predominately inattentive means that those with the condition are less likely to misbehave or have problems getting along with others, but it can mean difficulty in paying attention. This type is easilt overlooked or confused for simply not paying attention.


However, most people show the combined version of ADHD, but this can be managed in school, work, and in life in general with the right support. However, ADHD is no measure of your intelligence and does not mean that you are likely to have a learning difficulty, however the difficulty in focusing can have a knock-on effect in things like education.


ADHD is not something that you grow out of as you get older, although the symptoms can lessen over time.


In fact, scientists have uncovered evidence that ADHD may be a genetic condition, although the impact can be lessened through support and environmental factors, such as a good quality home life and positive personal development.


ADHD has nothing to do with diet or parenting, but is instead down to how your brain may develop, making it a neurodiverse condition.


The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Chapter 50 Section 1 Sub-section 1 states, “Subject to the provisions of Schedule 1, a person has a disability for the purposes of this Act if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” This means that, in some cases, ADHD can be determined to be a ‘disability’ under the law.


Methods for dealing with ADHD include exercise as well as having structure and organisation to help lessen anxiety. Recognising and managing the condition is the first step in dealing with ADHD, but there lies the problem – especially for children who may be seen as just being ‘naughty.’


You can find out more about ADHD and how to get support right here on Vocendi.com.

Understanding Access To Work

The 2010 Equality Act means that all employers have to make reasonable adjustments to support employees with disabilities, health or mental health conditions. In this instance, the scope of what might constitute a ‘disability’ is pretty broad and includes anything that may affect your ability to do a job or mean you have to pay extra work-related costs.


This means that conditions such as dyslexia are included, so long as you are over 16 and working, whether that is for someone else or even starting up your own business. If this is the case, then you may be eligible for an access to work grant from the government.


This has caused confusion among some employers, who do not quite understand how this all works or what the money can be used for.


Among the possible things the grant could pay for there are adaptations to existing equipment, new equipment, fares to work if public transport is not an option, a support worker or job coach to assist in the workplace, disability training for colleagues, and even a communicator to help at a job interview.


The reasonable steps that employers take to help disabled employees needn’t be all about money either. It could be as simple as making allowances when it comes to things like hot-desking, or letting a wheelchair user work on the ground floor.


The fact is, employers are under a legal obligation to make things easier in the workplace for those with a ‘disability.’ In some instances, this help can be withheld, for example in a high pressure role where safety is an issue, such as the medical profession, it may be that your disability cannot be adequately supported while still ensuring the safety of patients.


That said, each case is different, so it is important that employers and employees understand how access to work happens. There needs to be honest and open dialogue for this to work, which means understanding what you or your employees are eligible for.


There is more information on Access To Work on the government’s website, and also right here at Vocendi. So, if you are an assessor, employer, or even feel you could be eligible for assistance don’t hesitate to contact us.


The Government Needs Your Help & Feedback With Assistive Technology

As you may already know, assistive technology allows access to computers, smartphones and tablets to those with needs in areas like vision, hearing, dexterity, mobility, language and communication skills.


These technologies include screen readers, screen magnifiers, voice input applications (where you talk rather than type), and literacy software.


If you use any of these types of assistive technology software to access Gov.UK, then the government wants to know.


They are hoping to assess what devices and software people are using so that they can ensure that your assistive technology continues to work with their digital services and website. The problem is that assistive technology doesn’t leave a trace when it goes to websites, meaning that the government can’t track which are being used and how effective it is.


To help with this you should take the short survey (link below), which will remain open until June. Your answers are completely anonymous. Not only will you be asked about what technologies you are using but also to any problems or barriers that you are facing when you visit Gov.UK – which means that you can have your say to make Gov.UK work for you.


You can find out more about the background to the survey on the Gov.Uk website, or alternatively, if you feel you are ready to get started with the survey you can do that from here.

DSA – are you claiming it?

At least 50% of the people who are eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) don’t claim it, according to figures from the last academic year.

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) can pay for extra support for students on a higher education course. The funding can cover the cost of specialist software, assistive technology, study skills support or mentoring.

Many have not heard of DSAs, don’t consider themselves disabled, feel their needs are not important or big enough or often are just too embarrassed to ask for help.

Assessment for DSA

To claim the support a student needs to show that they have an impairment or condition which affects their ability to complete their studies.  These include all sorts such as ADHD, arthritis, dyslexia, IBS, migraines and visual impairment. The individual does not need to be registered disabled but has to complete a needs assessment.
Continue reading DSA – are you claiming it?