Fresh formula for delivering AT to DSA students
AT Solution Providers value the assistive technology equipment provision part of the DSA, not merely because it is our livelihood, but because we believe that it is central for disabled students to develop independence, and because we value the unequalled level of service, reliability and value for money that we have built up over the years in response to students’ needs. These have often been developed with other DSA professionals and become enshrined in the Quality Assurance Framework.
BIS have made it clear that they have two major objectives in the modernisation: to save money and to get high educations institutions to improve routine inclusion and so reduce the need for some of the services traditionally supplied centrally by the DSA. In discussions with BIS, ATSPs have been trying to address BIS’s agenda whilst preserving some of what has been a world leading AT programme.
I propose that DSA claimants are only be given a ‘standard’ computer for assistive technology if they need one on which to run recommended assistive technology; do not already possess one and already receive a full maintenance grant.
My proposal undoubtedly represents a downgrade on current AT provision and a compromise with traditional disability policy. But it helps to maintain the widening participation agenda. The DSA originally served primarily to provide assistive technology to help disabled students work independently.
In the last century well over 50% of the DSA was spent on equipment. It is now under one fifth. Assessment and NMH have gained in importance but we believe that good technology is as important as ever in promoting independence and must not be abandoned in the need to cut costs. If AT has value, it must save costs in the long run.
Read the proposal in full here.