Recently, we were contacted by a student who had won a competition we ran previously. He was applying for PhDs and while he had gained places at two universities, unfortunately he had been unsuccessful at securing competitive funding through the usual channels. He asked whether we had any suggestions for funding opportunities through charities or organisations that help people with SPLDs/SEN – we did! Here are the funding opportunities currently available:
We hope you enjoy our Guest Blog by Holly Scott-Gardner, a 25-year-old blind student, blogger and Youtube creator.
"As far back as I can remember my life has revolved around books. When I was a child I would eagerly await deliveries of heavy volumes of braille in the post, relishing the distinctive crackle of Velcro as I pulled open the bags they were stored in. A new book meant a new world to explore. I was sustained on a steady stream of library books and the audio books my family bought for me. But at times I lamented how few books I could read. So few were available in braille or audio and I sat on the side-lines as friends shared new discoveries I didn't have a hope of reading.
- Ensure that effective assistive technology is readily available. This should be designed for employment or enterprise and be able to access your networks or the applications your company uses. The Government's Access to Work scheme offers advice, practical support and grants for eligible personnel.
- Be open to making reasonable adjustments and be sensitive about how assistive technology is applied, to ensure those who need it can use it without feeling like they 'stand out'. If you are still unsure, talk to an expert such as a Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) or one of the assistive technology expert at Dolphin.
- Ensure all digital services are accessible to every employee by utilising these guidelines on Government accessibility requirements.
- Schools and universities could allow students to take their assistive technology with them when they move from education into work, this can help make the journey simpler, as they will already understand the technology they use. It might also save the student money.
- Companies providing assistive technology could allow employees who use it to take their equipment or software with them when they move department or jobs. This will help make the transition into a new role or department easier.
If you have identified ways that the students and pupils you support struggle to access the curriculum - and think that they might benefit from accessible textbooks - the RNIB Bookshare together with the Dolphin EasyReader app can help.
The Dolphin EasyReader app will help reduce difficulties which some pupils might experience when reading printed materials, whether this is caused by visual impairments or neuro diverse learning needs - and it works with the RNIB Bookshare Education Collection - a library that offers talking eBook editions of thousands of textbooks - for students of all ages.
Which products and services?
The new directive sets out the common standards that need to be achieved, and outlines what needs to become more accessible, such as ticketing machines, ATMs, PCS, smartphones, banking services, eReaders and eBooks, eCommerce services and transport services.
According to the RNIB "every day 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK. As of 2015, more than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives, such as not being able to drive".
Clearly, as we get older one of the main conditions that can affect us is problems with eye health. Sight loss can be frightening and confusing at first and this sometimes leads to self-isolation or depression, particularly if combined with other age-related health conditions.
In addition, senior people might find their social circle shrinking, which can result in a feeling of loneliness that might compound their physical problems and mental health issues. It is important to understand that there is lots of help and support out there - which can have a really positive impact on wellbeing, communication and mental health - as well as guidance on how to deal with the practical and medical aspects of sight loss.
Assistive technology can help people adapt to their changing sight requirements, and there are lots of options available, even for those with no previous experience of computers. Complete this simple questionnaire and we will help you identify the technology to help empower people experiencing sight loss to regain their confidence and continue to live life to the full.
Sight loss affects people of all ages, but as we get older we are increasingly likely to experience sight loss. Almost 1.5 million people aged 65-84, and a further 580,000 aged 85 and over, are living with sight loss in the UK.
Assistive technology is one crucial way for older people to stay living well, safely and happily at home, yet they can be nervous to try new technology and quick to give up if it seems challenging to use.