How Personal Assistants Can Help Students’ Academic and Daily Living Skills

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Student and personal assistant

How Personal Assistants Can Help Students’ Academic and Daily Living Skills

For many students, balancing their academic and daily living responsibilities can be a challenge. Personal Assistants are becoming increasingly popular for those with special needs who may have academic difficulties and issues performing daily tasks. It allows them to find success both inside and outside of the classroom. There are many ways Personal Assistants can help students’ academic and daily living skills, which leads to a better life overall.

The Disability Office in Further and Higher Education Colleges assesses the requirements of each student and provides the necessary aid based on those needs. Not only do they help to improve their academic performance and daily living skills but they also help to develop their discipline, dedication, and self-confidence.

Academic Support

When it comes to providing effective academic support, colleges must ensure that all students are given equal opportunities to succeed. This includes those with disabilities who may require additional assistance to navigate the challenges of college life. With the right support, they can thrive academically and reach their full potential. Academic Support can be provided by working one on one with those in need of assistance in the form of:

How Personal Assistants Can Help Students' Academic and Daily Living Skills
Identifying strengths and weaknesses
How Personal Assistants Can Help Students' Academic and Daily Living Skills
Creating personalised study plans
How Personal Assistants Can Help Students' Academic and Daily Living Skills
Providing additional instructions

Identifying strengths and weaknesses: They can help with identifying their strengths and weaknesses by working closely together and tracking their progress. Students can then prioritise those areas that require more attention.

Creating personalised study plans: They can improve their study habits through advice and personalised study plans made for success. By tailoring study schedules to the unique needs of each student, they can help them maximise their academic potential while minimising stress.

Providing additional instructions: By supporting them through extra guidance and support, whether it’s breaking down complex assignments, providing a clearer understanding of concepts, or reviewing material before exams, it makes a significant difference in a student’s learning experience.

Servisource has the Right People to support students with their education and daily tasks.

Personal Assistance with Servisource

We can match the right people with the right skills and knowledge with each student every time, to assist with duties such as:
• Retrieving books
• Carrying bags
• Notetaking
• Navigating the campus
• Assisting with personal care

Servisource Education Support provides a range of qualified and experienced Educational Support Workers (ESWs) to support those with disabilities to have equal access and participation in Further and Higher Education Colleges. We provide Academic Personal Assistants (APA’s), Personal Assistants (PAs) and Note Takers (NTs) to individuals who have been allocated these supports by the Disability Office. Servisource has an understanding of their educational needs and is committed to delivering superior professional support nationwide.

Did You Know?

Figures from the National Access Plan show that 6% of students who accessed disability support in 2020/21 have a physical disability/mobility impairment.  
This demonstrates the importance of a personal assistance in the life of a student.

Daily Living Support

Those with disabilities may face unique challenges in their day-to-day routines. Fortunately, there is a range of daily living support services available on college campuses that can make their lives easier and more manageable. They can help by providing guidance and support in a number of different ways through:

Health and personal assistance
How Personal Assistants Can Help Students' Academic and Daily Living Skills
Self care and personal assistance

Health: As students embark on a busy journey of classes and extracurricular activities, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can prove to be quite a challenge. That’s where Personal Assistants come in, by providing assistance with food shopping and meal planning. They offer invaluable support to those who may lack the time or knowledge to make healthier life choices.

Transport: It can also involve specialised transportation to campus. This is aimed at providing equal access to educational opportunities and making life easier for the student in general by helping them get to their lecture halls easily and without stress.

Self-care: Students often get caught up in schoolwork and extracurricular activities or may be unable to take care of personal and medical care because of a disability or illness. Special assistants can help with these needs and allow them to focus on their studies knowing that their well-being is taken care of.

How Personal Assistants Can Help Students' Academic and Daily Living Skills

Having this extra layer of support ensures that they are able to make the most out of their time. By offering short-term benefits, they provide more lasting life skills as well. Students will find themselves much better equipped to take on the challenges that lie ahead as it is an invaluable step towards lifelong success.

Want to know how our Education Support Services can assist you?

What is Special Education Support and Why is it Important?

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SEN worker and young boy

What is Special Education Support and Why is it Important?

The term ‘SEN’ or ‘SEND’ (special educational needs and disabilities), is used to describe learning disabilities that make it difficult for a student to learn. It is an essential part of the education process as it provides educational assistance for students with disabilities and learning disorders. Designed to help students receive educational opportunities, it allows them to reach their full potential. Knowing what special education support is and why it is important, allows families and schools to recognise it and provide the educational support needed.

Types of learning difficulties requiring special education

There are various types including physical, cognitive, behavioural and social. Below are the most common that are found in learners with SEN needs.

  • Cognition and Learning: when a child has difficulty with all learning or difficulties with specific activities such as reading or spelling. Trouble understanding instructions is also common and carrying out tasks as well as memory difficulties.
  • Communication and Interaction: may have difficulty talking to others or understanding conversations. May have difficulty with interactions with others, such as not being able to take turns.   
  • Physical and Sensory: might have hearing or vision loss, difficulty with sensory processing and being under or over-sensitive. Might also have a medical condition which affects them physically.    
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health: could display behaviours such as having very low self-esteem or being very anxious. Might display challenging, disruptive or distressing behaviours and have underlying conditions which affect their mental health.  

Support can come in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of the individual. It may include specialised learning materials such as assistive technology (braille equipment, modified software), or in the form of classroom modifications (ramps instead of steps for wheelchair users), or involve working with a specialist teacher to create personalised educational plans (a plan designed to work around the learner’s specific difficulties). SEN is essential for the success of students with specific learning needs for the below reasons:

Allows participation in the classroom

Support is essential in ensuring that every student can participate fully in the classroom. With the right accommodations, students with different abilities and learning styles can feel included and valued in their educational environments. Incorporating various teaching methods and materials can help to keep students engaged. Different learning styles, such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic can be used to do this. You can read more about these on our previous blog Dyslexia Support: Strategies and Resources for Students and Teachers.

Allowing participation in the classroom is not only about accommodating differences but also about fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment. When all students have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive, they can maximize their potential and contribute to a more diverse and equitable classroom.

Did You Know?

Almost one in every four pupils now has SEN, with a handful of schools educating 200 or more children.

Enhances confidence and self-esteem

This kind of support plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s outlook towards life. It not only enhances their knowledge but also improves their confidence and self-esteem. It empowers individuals to make informed decisions and provides them with the necessary skills to succeed in life. Knowledge gained from education not only fosters intellectual growth but also helps instill a sense of self-worth and purpose.

When individuals feel confident in their abilities and knowledge, they are more likely to pursue their goals and achieve success. This support provides a platform for individuals to explore their potential and ultimately build a strong foundation for their future.

SEN with Servisource

Servisource Education Support provides appropriately qualified and experienced Educational Support Workers (ESW).
These assist individual students with disabilities to equal access and participation during their studies in Further and Higher Education Colleges.

education support worker and student. What is Special Education Support and Why is it Important?

Servisource is in a unique position in that our department is stand alone and staff within the department work solely on requirements for our clients in educational facilities. Our technology enabled systems allow us to recruit and place the right people quickly and efficiently using an online roster completion, submission, verification, and approval system. Allowing us to provide the support right when you need it.

Builds partnerships between educators and parents

Effective support is crucial for building meaningful partnerships between educators and parents. When teachers and parents collaborate, students tend to perform better academically and behaviorally. This partnership involves strong communication, mutual respect, and a shared sense of responsibility for the child’s success. Engaging parents in their child’s learning journey not only strengthens the relationship between home and school but also ensures that students receive continuous support and guidance.

It is also vital for educators to make the effort to understand the cultural backgrounds of their students’ families, be mindful in their approach and tailor it accordingly. By working together, parents and teachers can create a positive learning environment that benefits the entire educational community.

Child and two women. What is Special Education Support and Why is it Important?

It is evident that learning support plays an incredibly important role in our educational system. It provides individuals with disabilities access to education that otherwise may not have been available. Through various teaching support methods, these learners are able to learn at their own pace and achieve success beyond what they thought possible. It can teach learners the importance of confidence and resilience and build a bond between educators and parents.

Every student who is eligible for such services should get the support they need in order to succeed academically and socially. With the right resources available, any student can reach their full potential.

Want to know how our Education Support Services can assist you?

Dyslexia Support: Strategies and Resources for Students and Teachers

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Students in class

Dyslexia Support: Strategies and Resources for Students and Teachers

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects the way the brain processes language. It makes it difficult for individuals to recognise and decode words which affects a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. People with dyslexia often have difficulty with the ability to break down words into their individual sounds. This can make it challenging for them to understand the relationship between sounds and letters, and to recognise and spell words accurately. It is a lifelong condition that can be managed with appropriate support and intervention.

As dyslexia affects so much of the way in which students learn, it is important for both students and teachers to understand the condition properly. This gives students an equal opportunity within the educational system. There are a wide range of strategies and resources available that help provide support. We will look at some of these strategies and resources.

Multi-sensory teaching methods

Dyslexia Support: Strategies and Resources for Students and Teachers

Multi-sensory teaching methods are becoming increasingly popular in today’s classroom environment. It allows dyslexic students to better comprehend and retain information resulting in increased student achievement. When more senses are used, the more effective the learning experience will be. From a teacher’s perspective, multi-sensory teaching methods offer a range of options that make lessons fun and interactive while still teaching.

Lessons involve using visual (watching and seeing), aural (listening and hearing ), olfactory and gustatory (smell and taste), tactile (sense to touch) and kinaesthetic senses (the position and movement of the body). Students will greatly benefit from using all of these senses.

Examples of these teaching methods include:

  • Visual techniques: Paintings, posters and videos.
  • Playing with different artistic mediums such as clay.
  • Using gestures to make phonemes: The basic unit of a word sound is a phoneme. A list of gestures are used to represent the phonemes.
Student and teacher Dyslexia Support: Strategies and Resources for Students and Teachers

Advantages of multi-sensory teaching methods are:

  • Reduces stress by allowing students to learn in artistic, fun ways.
  • Offers flexibility through videos that can be easily accessed online and viewed at home.
  • Improves retention using multiple senses allowing them to make deeper connections with their learning, making it easier to recall later.
  • Increases their motivation and engagement through the excitement of creative teaching methods.

Did You Know?

450,000 people in Ireland have dyslexia (10% of the population) which means 3 children in every classroom have dyslexia.

Student reading Dyslexia Support: Strategies and Resources for Students and Teachers

Assistive technology

Assistive technology is a powerful tool for students with dyslexia, allowing them to access and process information more easily. Teachers can adapt lessons or create assignments based on specific tools, providing a more personalised learning experience for each student.

Examples of assistive technology are:

• Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Software.
• Word Prediction Software.
• Mind Mapping Software.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Software: This is technology that transforms numbers, letters, and punctuation from written documents into an electronic device.
Word Prediction Software: This improves typing speed and accuracy by “auto-completing” words that are typed.
Mind Mapping Software: This is a learning and organisational tool. It allows users to create maps and diagrams. Useful for note-taking and problem-solving. It also helps with the outlining of projects and presentations.

Advantages of assistive technology are:

  • Proven to improve written expression, fluency, and comprehension by utilizing speech-to-text software.
  • Teachers and students have an opportunity to make learning accessible to all through digital versions of textbooks and audio/video recordings of lectures.
  • It sets dyslexic students up for long-term success in the classroom by making learning easier.
  • Improves students’ self-esteem and gives them a sense of independence. Allowing them to work on their own.

Create a supportive environment

Teaching students with dyslexia requires a supportive learning environment that gives them the best opportunity to succeed. Teachers need to understand their students’ emotional needs and look beyond their academic performance. Instead, they should focus on the skills and attributes their students have in order to reach their full potential. Having patience and being empathetic to students will allow them to progress with their school work and will help them feel comfortable in the classroom.

Teachers can create this supportive environment by:

  • Offering one on one support, allowing shy students to become more comfortable with discussing any issues they may be having.
  • Allow extra time for students to complete work and activities, this way they don’t feel too stressed and panicked.
  • Provide a variety of learning materials and resources to accommodate different learning styles.
  • Watch for signs of misunderstanding or confusion from the students and address them as soon as possible.
  • Teachers can provide written assignments that are produced in larger, heavily-spaced fonts for improved readability.

There are many teaching resources available for teachers from the Dyslexia Association of Ireland which details guidelines for schools on how to use resources to best meet the learning needs of students with special needs.

At Servisource, we supply highly qualified, professional, and skilled Education Support Workers to assist students with disabilities and help them gain equal access to education. 

Our Education Support Services

Our Education Support Workers provide support through the following ways: note taking, reading, scribing, Invigilating, speed text operating and study skills support, among others.
We ensure the right, skilled people are available when you need them.

education support worker and student and Dyslexia Support: Strategies and Resources for Students and Teachers

By using the above techniques, teachers will be able to create a supportive learning environment for students with dyslexia, enabling them to better succeed in their academic studies. It’s important for teachers to assess the needs of each student with dyslexia, as well as support each individual’s strengths and abilities.

With sufficient support from dedicated professionals and reliable technical resources, students with dyslexia can learn how to tackle their educational challenges while still pursuing academic excellence.

Want to know how our Education Support Services can assist you?

The Benefits of Using Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities and assistive technology
Students with disabilities sitting together

The Benefits of Using Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities

Assistive technology refers to any device, equipment or software that helps people with disabilities to perform tasks that might otherwise be too difficult. For students with disabilities, assistive technology can play a vital role in increasing independence, enhancing communication and improving academic performance. These are just some ways in which assistive technology can benefit students with disabilities, we discuss these in more detail below.

Increased Independence

Through strategic implementation of assistive technology, students are able to gain key skills while maintaining their independence. It is clear that student independence through assistive technology can be very empowering. As students have access to the correct education tools, they become more independent in their learning environments and overall lives. It’s important they have access to the appropriate tools so students with special needs can maximise their own potential. This will ensure that they are happy and secure within an educational environment.

Assistive technology can range from providing basic assistance through to items such as:

– Talking and modified computer software.
– Adjustable desks.
– Powered wheelchairs.
– Communication boards.
– Audiology equipment.
– Touch pads.

The main factor is that everyone deserves a chance to live life to its fullest. Those who are provided with more individualised support are given the ability to thrive in today’s increasingly technological world.

educational support and assistive technology and student with disability

Servisource Education Support provides appropriately qualified and experienced Educational Support Workers (ESW) to assist individual students with disabilities. This provides them with equal access and participation during their studies in Further and Higher Education Colleges.

Our educational support workers support students with disabilities who may require an enhanced level of help to enrich their learning experience and support their participation in their chosen course of study. Examples of this type of support may include personal assistants who would assist a student with mobility and orientation, sourcing library books, and carrying personal belongings. Note takers are also available, who record detailed and accurate notes from attending lectures, tutorials, or seminars.

Enhanced Communication

With advances in assistive technology, students can now receive higher quality education and support, as well as increased opportunities for communication. Examples include speech recognition software and modified keyboards. These methods enable students to write and express themselves more easily. They can also be used to help students build their reading, writing, spelling, and math skills or simply make daily tasks easier.

Assistive technology tools can improve communication between students with disabilities and their teachers, classmates, and family members. For example, a student who is nonverbal may use an alternative communication device (AAC) to communicate with others.

University student listening to lecture with assistive technology

It allows them to communicate more naturally and effectively within the classroom environment. It gives them access to communication tools they may not have had access to in a traditional setting. Students have a variety of useful resources at their disposal that could greatly increase their learning potential in a classroom setting.

Improved Academic Performance

Today, students with disabilities have access to assistive technology that can help them reach their academic goals and it can greatly help students improve their organisation and focus. It can also facilitate peer relationships as students gain confidence and self-esteem by using the same educational tools as their classmates.

Did You Know?

The National Council for Special Education found that as many as 70% of pupils reported that their educational needs had been met by their Assistive Technology.

assistive technology and higher grades

Studies have shown that students with disabilities who use assistive technologies have improved note-taking skills. Additionally, these students have an increased ability to complete class assignments independently. These results are reflected in better academic performance overall, including test scores and grades on schoolwork. Assistive technology provides students with disabilities the resources they need to achieve success in the classroom setting, breaking down education barriers.

For example, a student with dyslexia may use text-to-speech software to improve their reading comprehension. A visually impaired student can also enhance their education by using a braille keyboard. In this way, they have the same chance of receiving higher grades just like their peers.

In summary, assistive technology can be a powerful tool for students with disabilities. It enables them to participate more fully in an academic and social setting, allowing them to reach their full potential.

Learn more about how our Education Support services can assist you.