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Special Education Needs Assessors - Is your toolbox effective enough?


This week, my oldest daughter attended a special education needs assessment with a DSA (Disabled Students Allowance) Needs Assessor.
She was delighted to find that the assessor felt that she needed a range of equipment and software to support her studies for university when she starts in September.  She will also get some one to one study skills support too.

I feel proud to live in a country where we can offer this kind of support to students.  But I do have concerns about what is being given out and how appropriate the software is at times.

My concern is that whilst hardware is pretty standard in terms of laptops, tablets and dictaphones etc in supporting conditions such as dyslexia, the complementing SEN software is not.  Many software products support the same category of needs but are designed in such a way as to meet different aspects of those needs.
Free software available for Dyslexia assessors and tutors, Click4more.

So here is my concern.  

We are human and live busy lives and when you are an assessor for the DSA it seems that there are endless special educational needs assessments to be done and on top of that loads of report writing with tight deadlines.  I would imagine that it feels like one would never quite catch up.
So how does a DSA special needs assessor get the time to check out new products that may meet certain needs more appropriately and sometimes at a lower cost to the DSA?  Is there not a temptation to recommend software to students because the assessor knows it well and is comfortable with it and because they do not have time to get to know other DSA authorised software? Is there a chance that the student could be missing out on a more appropriate piece of software that will support them more effectively in their studies? Is the expenditure on SEN products with the DSA higher simply because our assessors are simply not aware (or have the time to explore) other options?

What are your thoughts?

Please comment below or send me a tweet to @DyslexiaBlogger and use the hash tag #SWDBlog so that others can see it.

John Hicks
The Studying With Dyslexia Blog


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