Information for Needs Assessors

In order to deliver maximum choice and flexibility for students and enable them to access support we deliver sessions via Skype. Delivering sessions via Skype allows us to offer students a more flexible timetable of appointments, as often the pressures of placements, work, caring responsibilities and location often preclude ‘office hours’ appointments.

Sessions are available  7 days a week from  9 am to 10 pm, all year round

We understand that (and research supports this) students with placements experience far greater pressures than students on purely academic courses. Our extensive experience in supporting ‘placement students’, as well as findings from our own research projects, allows us to better address these pressures and support these students more holistically.

We support all students but have expertise in supporting health and social care students.

Due to its versatility, using Skype to deliver Non-Medical Helper support has been beneficial to ALL people with ANY disability. Our flexible support model allows people to have sessions at a time that suits them giving them choice thus empowering them and increasing to access support as Nikhil’s video explains. Clients do not have to attend at set time nor on a specific day enabling them to fit support sessions around their academic, family and work demands. A suitable time for the next meeting is identified at the end of each session and booked into the calendar. The client is sent an invite and a “reminder” is generated that will be sent automatically prior to the session to increase attendance.

Popularity of support

Kerry Pace has used Skype as a Specialist Tutor and mentor since 2007 and founded Diverse Learners, which has seen the team providing NMH support solely via Skype, in 2011. Over the years we have supported hundreds of students via Disabled Students Allowances and practitioners through Access to Work. This delivery model has been used by Kerry for almost a decade and although many of our students have not used Skype before this is easily resolved as Catherine describes . We’ve taught 100’s of clients including CEOs of companies how to use Skype during the first Skype call and even delivered mind mapping training to 25 members of disability Services at Wolverhampton University over Skype.

All of our students comment
how easy it is to use
how much time is saved (no travelling or prep needed)
reduction of stress as they have everything to hand (cant forget anything)
money saved (no fares, petrol, parking costs nor childcare costs)

They are surprised they can do everything they would in a traditional office setting and wish they’d found us earlier. 

Our quality support and flexible delivery model has been particularly popular with nursing, healthcare, PGCE and Social Work students as well as other students with placements as they often cannot access support during office hours. The flexible nature of provision also accommodates the needs of distance and part-time learners. We have strong links with the Open University (2 of the team are OU graduates) and Oxford Brookes University who use Diverse Learners to support students who live to far away from the main campus to access NMH support.

In addition, many students, especially those with anxiety issues, have commented that Skype has allowed them to access/maintain support, whereas they had previously discontinued support due to anxieties about unfamiliar people being in their home or the challenges of attending sessions at university. Skype allows a comfortable distance to be maintained and for these students to feel safe and at ease as Julie explains.

Our YouTube channel shows Catherine, Nikhil, Tef, Chloe, Ray-Mart and others discussing our support, the flexibility of our 7 day service and that they would not be able to access their NMH support without our model of support utilising Skype.

For the benefits of delivering Non-Medical Helper support you can view our publications, our presentations at a number of international conferences on Researchgate, Linked In.

Fees and Contact Information click here

The team consists of 3 qualified SpLD Tutors (ADSHE quality Assured and Patoss TPC) and 2 fully qualified Specialist Mentors. We have extensive experience in the sector and have all worked or trained together for many years. This means there is a shared ethos and approach that will ensure consistency for our clients.

Kerry, Michelle and Pauline have all been executive committee members of the Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education (aDShe) and are all listed on the aDShe Professional Quality Assured SpLD tutors register. 

Our team is committed to continued professional development which includes monthly reviews, quarterly peer observation, team training days and hold a number of AT trainer qualifications as well as passing on good practice by delivering workshops at conferences, writing articles about inclusion and lecturing at universities.  For details of our individual Staff Members, please see our Introducing the team page.

If you think Diverse Learners will suit your client’s needs – fees and contact information here

Student reviews of our support

We have exceptional student feedback. You can view feedback from students we have supported on our testimonials page. Also, you can listen to Maria’s story and David’s experience on our Soundcloud account. We have also recorded some student feedback live during a Skype calls. This gives you a flavour of what a call looks like and student’s experiences of support from Diverse Learners and the benefits of receiving Sessions via Skype by Tef , Ray-Mart and others on our YouTube channel.

You can see over 30 recommendations on Kerry’s Linked In page

At Diverse Learners we believe that it is vital to enable students to utilise the Assistive Technology packages provided to maximise independence and so take every opportunity to use assistive technology in our support sessions.  See our students reviews of how we embed technology in their reflections on technology videos our YouTube channel.

We have more examples and images of what accessing support has enabled our students to do coming soon.

If you think Diverse Learners will suit your client’s needs – fees and contact information here

Things to consider for Needs Assessors

Assessors recommending support by Diverse Learners will need to consider equipment needs for students relating to the use of Skype:

  • That the laptop includes the provision of a webcam
  • If the student has Dragon in their DSA package the same headset can be used for Skype. If not, a headset with microphone could be provided should the student feel it appropriate
  • If the laptop has an in-built webcam that will suffice
  • If an additional screen has been provided, or a desktop computer, a webcam will be required

If you think Diverse Learners will suit your client’s needs – fees and contact information here

Articles and presentations about enhancing support via Skype

Images and Links coming soon.
Presentations about enhancing support using Skype at Ahead Ireland, RCN Education Conference, aDShe conference, British Dyslexia Association can be accessed through Researchgate or LinkedIn.
Articles in the Nursing Times and Nursing Standard – images coming soon.
Case Study available in Using Technology to Support Learning and Teaching by Fisher et al p66-68.