Support for students with disabilities

November 26, 2007

Middlesex University. Middlesex University's London North Aimhigher Disability Programme visits schools and colleges to run information sessions for disabled pupils. Its "ambassadors" have worked with some 300 pupils and a similar number of parents.

The programme offers disability awareness sessions and attainment-raising workshops to help improve study and organisational skills and essay writing, sometimes in the form of intensive "transition schools". It also offers free resources tailored specifically to disabled students, such as the Guide for the Successful Transition into University for Students with Asperger's Syndrome and Autism, published a year ago.

Judge Sean Moran, director of UK services at the National Deaf Children's Society, said: "The team at Middlesex clearly showed the impact of their work in terms of outreach into the community, using disabled students as 'ambassadors' and an innovative three-day transition schools at Middlesex to provide disabled pupils with guidance and practical tips for progression into higher education.

"The success rate for the majority of these pupils successfully applying for university placements is proof positive of the outstanding contribution being made."

Fellow judge Alex Kemp, disabled students officer for the National Union of Students, said: "This is an innovative widening participation strategy, with strong focus on disabled students, that has produced excellent results. It showed excellent awareness of transition issues, particularly for 'statemented' disabled pupils. Inclusion of students on the autistic spectrum, an often ignored group, is very important."

Highly commended in this award category was SMARTlab at the University of East London, which develops technology for disabled people to assist in their learning and research in the university and elsewhere.

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