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New addition to the DSA training team

Photo of Alan Duncan

Alan Duncan has joined the Sight and Sound Technology DSA training team very recently so we caught up with him to find what brought him to Sight and Sound and about his work with students. Once he has settled in, Alan will deliver training to students with learning difficulties or vision impairments in third level, further or higher education.  

DSA (Disabled Students Allowance) provides extra help for students who have a disability, a mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty, like dyslexia or dyspraxia. Each student undergoes a DSA needs assessment and comes away with recommendations for equipment and training.  

“My background is in software training but I worked for an Assistive Technology service provider for 14 years until recently. I worked with students but also built up a client base for workplace needs assessments while I was there.” 

The possibilities that are opened up through access to assistive technology are huge but without follow-up support and training, students can really struggle to get the most out of their equipment.  

“My first conversation with a student is to ask if they are struggling with anything in college or university and if so, what that is. They will have already gone through an assessment process and will have been allocated equipment based on their needs and training hours, which Sight and Sound Technology deliver. This training is provided through a Government fund so it’s a fantastic resource. I find that students won’t get the best out of their technology until they start training.” 

While student training was delivered in person before Covid, it’s now primarily delivered remotely, with in-person training available when needed, particularly for complex cases.  

“For each student, we look at what they need to achieve and look at the best way forward based on their needs. We’ll figure out what programme to start with so that the training is not too overwhelming. It’s important to give them enough time between each training session so that they can try out their programme and then we can revisit things if needed. Access to assistive technology through DSA is fantastic but training and support are essential if students are to get the most out of it and succeed in their studies.” 

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