Identify student user groups


User groups are made to plan support resources and activities. However, remember that assuming things about students or putting them into categories must be avoided.

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Key tips

Student abilities & learning activities

The 2011 World Report on Disability published by the WHO provides the following definition of Disability: “Disability is a mismatched interaction between the features of a person’s body and the features of the environment in which they live”.

  • Focus is on the learning activities that the student has to participate in to achieve the learning goals.
  • The goal of the student support service is removing the barriers that prevent some students from participating on equal terms.
  • The 2 main activities of the support service are supporting the students and monitoring and assuring the accessibility of the learning activities.
Duration of support service provision
  • Temporary disabilities.
    • Students who experience short-term impairment. Eg.students recovering from an accident.
    • They may need support during the remainder of the course.
    •  specific support actions for students in this circumstance.
      • Evaluate the potential barriers for the student in the remaining learning activities.
      • Arrange with teachers adaptation to accommodate the current abilities of the student.
      • Provide the student with technical aids and/or assistance if necessary for as long as he/she is affected by the impairment.
  • Permanent disabilities.
    • Students affected by disabilities from the beginning of the academic period.
    • The supporting activities can be planned from the start of the course.
  • Difference from temporary support actions.
    • The evaluation of the learning activities can be made before the start of the course.
    • Teachers can be notified and advised on how to make the learning activities more suitable for all.
Type of support
  • Minimum support.
    • Students with or without disabilities who do not need to use assistive technologies.
    • The main supporting activities are the basic ones like assuring the accessibility of the learning activities and being available for consultations.
  • Basic support.
    • Students who are users of ATs.
    • Additional activities of the supporting office are:
      • Counselling and pairing students with the most suitable AT for them and the learning activities in which they will be involved.
      • Verify that the educational materials can be used by AT users.
      • Advise teachers on improving the learning activities so that they can accommodate for greater student diversity.
  • Assistance-level support.
    • Students who will need special adaptation to overcome the barriers. Eg. a student with a hearing impairment attending a live lecture. A sign language interpreter or transcriber may be required.
    • Additional activities of the supporting office are:
      • Create the individual plan for student support carefully and in advance if possible.
      • Notify teachers of the need to adapt some learning activities and inform them of the procedures and standards for doing so.
      • Clarify with the student who is going to provide the adaptation and if necessary help them with the coordination, material provision and space they may need.
      • If the student does not have the professional assistance that they need then the supporting office may help in finding assistance and funding.
      • Some examples of student assistance are:
        • Sign language interpreter.
        • Transcription service.
        • Assistance when taking tests.
        • Accompaniment for students with reduced mobility or vision.
        • Laboratory assistants for students with reduced dexterity.