Workshop Explorer

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We see neurodiversity and disability as a balance of individual skills, abilities, strengths and learning differences.  With individualised assistive tools and strategies in place, life-enhancing results are possible. Our workshops promote this vision, focusing upon two main areas of collective knowledge, lived experience and expertise:

  • Assistive technologies, strategies and approaches– bespoke workshops designed to introduce how Assistive Technology (AT) software/Apps for computers, and smartphones/tablets can support enabling strategies for inclusive practice. We have developed an integrated approach, weaving tailored strategies with assistive technologies to enable individuals to flourish in work, education, and complete everyday tasks and activities with confidence and independence.  
  • Equality, diversity, and inclusive practice – bespoke workshops focusing on understanding legislation, disability and neurodiversity, reasonable adjustments, and inclusive practice 

As a neurodiverse and disabled-led organisation we understand the importance of good training; harnessing and integrating tailored strategies, and assistive technologies can be transformative.  Our workshops are delivered by D&A staff, who use, integrate and rely on the strategies they teach, trial, and test.

If one of the workshops listed below interests you click here and fill out our workshop booking form.

Alternatively, if you have a specific idea for a workshop, let us know! You can call our freephone number on 0800 978 8303 or email us at hello@diversityandability.com.

Assistive technologies, strategies and approaches:

Amazing Apps: Accessibility for the Road Ahead

The workshop will introduce attendees to the world of amazing assistive apps. Smartphones and tablets are increasingly becoming ubiquitous and everyday technologies for students and professionals. This workshop provides an overview of how study strategies can be integrated with a range of Apps for Apple iOS and Android tablets/smartphones.

This workshop also explores how low-cost Apps and software can complement traditional DSA provision. These AT alternatives can be used to help address the imbalances that that many learners face when restricted from accessing AT support via the DSA. We have tried and tested a wealth of apps/software which encompass many facets of studying and university life.

We have tried and tested a wealth of apps/software which encompass many facets of studying and university life.  We have explored tools for: 

  • Planning and composition (mapping and voice recognition)
  • Reading & research (text-to-speech)
  • Scanning and conversion (OCR), 
  • Revision (flashcards)
  • Note-taking (recording) 
  • Organisation
  • Time and task management
  • Spelling and proofreading
  • Presentations and inclusive assessment
  • Well-being and mindfulness

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Secret Strategies! The Hidden Assistive Technology Features of Microsoft 365 and/or the Google suite

Almost all of us use Microsoft 365 or the Google Suite on a daily basis however we might not be using these programs to their fullest potential. Both Microsoft and Google have built their suites to include programs that work better together. By understanding how each program complements the other, users can start working more accurately and efficiently. 

Features are added all the time to make Microsoft 365 and the Google suite an excellent AT tool for students. This is a hands-on workshop will bring these to life,  focusing on the most important underused features. 

We will also share and discuss the ways in which these features can be used as part of wider assistive strategies for assignment writing.

Universal Tools for Improving Accessibility: Free Assistive Technology and Strategies

The workshop explores the integration of study strategies and a range of excellent free, open-source and cloud software.  Part presentation, part seminar with opportunities for hands-on exploration weaved throughout!  A range of free, open-source and cloud software is available for anyone to use at no cost. 

Assistive software can be unaffordable for students in Higher Education who cannot access Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), those in Further Education, and those in Primary and Secondary education. However, we think Assistive Technology should be accessible to all and this workshop gives you the knowledge and tools to make this a reality!

  • The strategy focused workshop will introduce software:
  • To help with reading, planning, writing and proofreading
  • For managing time and tasks
  • To support memory and organisation  
  • To take the stress out of referencing and bibliographies

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Empowerment in your Pocket: Mobile Assistive Technology

Smartphones and tablets are designed with text-to-speech and voice recognition built into the operating system, and free/low-cost mind mapping and note-taking applications are widely available. This workshop is a hands-on exploration of how these mobile assistive technologies can support study strategies.  

Participants in this workshop are required to bring their own Apple iOS iPhone/iPad, or Google Android smartphone/tablet to explore AT on their devices hands-on.  Participants will be sent instructions on how to install the software prior to attending the workshop. The workshop balances practical exploration and discussion of how mobile AT can reinforce and support agile and integrated study strategies. You will explore:

  • Text-to-speech
  • Voice recognition
  • Note-taking 
  • Mind mapping

Recording for Learning: Using Audio Assistive Tech for Agile Note Taking

This workshop will reveal the often-overlooked strategies enabled by the recording equipment and software that students have in the palm of their hand. We will look at how students can make high-quality recordings that are indexed and annotated so that they are truly valuable for revision and learning. 

Participants will gain the knowledge of how to implement and share strategies such as adjusting recording settings to suit the environment, matching audio up to lecture slides, using colour to make meaningful multisensory annotations, and tagging files by date and course module. Furthermore, the workshop will look beyond the desktop and the dictaphone to combine these strategies with the latest phone and tablet apps.

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Zotero: Pain-free Referencing!  

Zotero is a program that allows students to gather, organise and insert references into their documents. Among its many benefits are:

  • Students can collect bibliographic information with the click of a button instead of typing it up 
  • This easy reference collection method encourages students to gather references as they research – instead of at the last minute  
  • Zotero automatically styles references according to Harvard or Chicago or whichever style the student chooses 

This hands-on workshop will give students the knowledge to use Zotero effectively. This includes both how to use Zotero to demonstrate it to students, and how to add your institution’s referencing style to the list of those available in Zotero. 

Two-day Comprehensive Assistive Technology Workshop

This two-day workshop will provide hands-on training with both the leading DSA software packages and the latest smartphone and tablet apps. This workshop can take place at your institution or at our Brighton training suite where accommodation can be organised as part of the cost. 

The DSA programs will include: 

  • Text-to-speech: ClaroRead, TextHelp and free alternatives 
  • Mind mapping: Inspiration, MindView and the free package XMind
  • Speech recognition:  Dragon Naturally Speaking 

Together, these packages form the core of DSA provision for SpLD students. But this won’t be one for the techies: our focus is on the enabling strategies these programs facilitate and the AT skills needed to employ those strategies. 

We will also see how free and low-cost apps can complement traditional DSA provision. These AT alternatives can be used to help address the imbalances that many learners face when restricted from accessing AT support via the DSA. With learning landscapes dramatically changing, forging forwards we must ensure that support provided encompasses all diverse learners in Higher Education, including those ineligible for DSA, keeping it agile and inclusive to all!

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Making Content Accessible 

This workshop provides an introduction and hands-on exploration of how to ensure documents and digital content are accessible for students and service users. The workshop provides:

  • A legislative context for making content accessible 
  • An understanding of Assistive Technology software that students/service users may use to access document/web content
  • A hands-on exploration of how to ensure your documents are accessible using MS Word for students/service users 
  • Exploring the accessibility of PDF documents 
  • Understanding website accessibility for students/service users 
  • Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and accessibility

The World of Evernote: The Most Helpful Elephant in the Room!

An introduction to using Evernote, including a variety of simple techniques for improving organisation, aiding memory and managing anxiety. The workshop will feature a hands-on exploration of this cross-platform tool: laptop, MacBook, iPhone/iPad, Samsung/HTC, smartphone/tablet – all are welcome!

Evernote has entered the common lexicon, featuring on many “Top Apps” lists and is highly praised by technology experts. It is being used by many students, some of whom find it pre-installed on their DSA computers. But with all its potential, approaching it can seem daunting, especially if trying to advise a student on the best ways to use it.

This hands-on workshop is here to help! We will look at how Evernote can augment the existing strategies that you and your students already use, with powerfully enabling results. During the workshop, you will explore the features and functions of Evernote both on a Windows PC/Apple MAC, as well as a variety of additional interconnected smartphone and tablet applications that make Evernote an invaluable tool for both study and everyday tasks.

Attendees are required to bring at least one compatible device (laptop/tablet/smartphone – the more the merrier) with Evernote installed. Diversity and Ability will provide easy-to-follow guides to install the application on various devices, and create an account.

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Prezi: Unlocking the Potential of Presentations

Prezi is a new and innovative way of making presentations. Instead of the linear structure of PowerPoint and Keynote, Prezi is a canvas on which you can paint your ideas, and then create a route for the presentation to zoom or slide to each significant point. With more and more institutions favouring this engaging approach to presenting, giving your staff and/or students the chance to learn the ropes could be a fantastic way of helping them to keep up with these developments.

DnA’s Prezi workshop will take you through the very first steps of how to create an account (with the bonuses of signing up for an educational license) and navigating the editing environment, right the way through to adding sequential animations, audio tracks and YouTube videos, in order to make the most of this tool’s multisensory potential.

During this workshop, you will also learn how to:

  • Utilise the presentation editing tool
  • Choose and customise the templates and themes
  • Add text, images, videos and audio 
  • Create and edit your presentation order
  • Share your presentation for either viewing or editing
  • Present remotely, with up to 40 different computers viewing simultaneously

Equality, diversity, and inclusive practice:

Everyone has Mental Health: Embedding a Culture of Well-being

This workshop will raise awareness and understanding of mental health and well-being. We will explore:

  • What we understand by mental health and wellbeing, challenging common assumptions and prejudices
  • How mental health problems are assessed, classified and diagnosed
  • Understanding and recognising the causes of mental health, and different models (medical and social)
  • A range of common and complex mental health conditions – recognising signs and symptoms, treatment and support
  • Basic principles of support focusing on a person-centred approach and mindfulness – including mindfulness practice
  • Managing risk and crisis
  • Embedding well-being – promoting a culture of positive mental health, wellbeing, and mindfulness

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Celebrating Diversity & Embedding Inclusivity in Education

The workshop will explore how adopting a celebratory model of diversity and inclusive practice in further and higher education can increase student wellbeing and retention rates. We will also outline the legal responsibilities as defined by the Equality Act 2010 and explore reasonable adjustments for disabled and neurodiverse students.

The workshop hopes to provide participants with the following outcomes:

  • Recognise and gain awareness of ‘hidden disabilities’
  • Begin developing a celebratory approach to diversity
  • Disability etiquette
  • Equality act legal compliance
  • Reasonable adjustments and support strategies
  • Gain a better understanding of funding available for supporting disabled and neurodiverse students

Everyday Mindfulness: Managing Stress and Anxiety for Students’ Well-being

The workshop focuses on the importance of students taking a mindful approach to their studies to manage stress and anxiety. Mindfulness is growing in popularity with the recognition of academics and professionals of the everyday benefits of embedding mindful strategies in increasing general wellbeing. This workshop draws on principles and practices of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to:

  • Explore and recognise the symptoms of stress and anxiety
  • Understand mindfulness and how it can support mental resilience and wellbeing
  • Practice mindfulness – exploring a variety of mindfulness exercises for everyday wellbeing including the three-minute breathing space, mindfulness of body and breath and moving meditation
  • Introduce assistive technology and mobile apps for mindfulness and wellbeing

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DSA Changes, and the Road Ahead: Preparing for Change

This workshop is aimed at HEI staff wanting to gain a firmer understanding of anticipatory duty and the implications of the scheduled DSA changes.

The Department for Education and the Student Loans Company (SLC) have outlined guidance of changes to Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) for 2020/21 and beyond. Guidance emphasises greater responsibility for HEIs in providing support for disabled and neurodiverse students in accordance with the Equality Duty (2010). This full-day workshop provides:

  • An understanding of the Equality Duty (2010) the public sector equality duty and the responsibility of HEIs to make reasonable adjustments
  • An overview of the proposed changes to DSAs
  • An understanding of the new responsibilities placed upon institutions
  • a facilitated discussion to explore areas for development for embedding inclusive practice

The workshop is semi-structured, part presentation, part seminar, part activities. This will also include discussion where the final goal will be to set a number of objectives for an action plan for your HEI to prepare for changes on the road ahead.

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Making the leap to Higher Education

This workshop is designed to reassure and inform disabled students of the support available to them through the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) or their university.

It is essential that disabled students know what services are on offer, and that their university is accessible, inclusive and committed to widening participation. This workshop explores different aspects of making the transition to studying at university. The key themes that will be covered include:

  • What is the DSA?
  • Who can apply?
  • What support is available?
  • How to apply

We will also discuss the practicalities of moving away from home for the first time- handy tips to increase independence and help ensure a positive experience at university! This will include some demonstrations on assistive technology, useful apps to use in the interim period before DSA support is implemented. The workshop will be delivered by a D&A Team member who also used DSA support whilst they were at university, so can share their own experiences and insight!

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