What is DSA?
DSA’s are additional funding that is available to further and higher education students who may have a physical disability, mental health condition or a learning difficulty such as dyspraxia, which may affect their ability to complete the course that they wish to do. Funding is to be used to provide specialist equipment (often computing equipment), an additional helpers allowance, and a general allowance to cover additional costs, such as for travel. Essentially, the scheme is rightly designed to remove unfair barriers to students with disabilities in the interests of maximising their true potential in training and education.
Subject to certain eligibility criteria, students applying for DSA will undergo a Study Needs Assessment by an approved DSA Assessor. Many colleges and universities have assessment centres on-site, or sometimes the student will be asked to attend one locally where a specialist practitioner will conduct the assessment. The DSA assessment centres, all of which are approved by the DSA Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG), will usually have a range of equipment for students to try out, and they will often supply this equipment to the student once funding has been approved by the SLC. A list of DSA assessment centres can be found on the DSA-QAG website.
Why is Unimouse Relevant?
In an age of information technology, a mouse is essential to the vast majority of computer users. Contour Unimouse is an ergonomic adjustable vertical computer mouse which is designed for users who may suffer from a range of upper limb muscular skeletal disorders. On a basic level this can mean that it is useful to people suffering from common mouse arm pain such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but for people with more advanced disabilities, especially those applying for DSA funding, its good design is much more important. Neutral arm posture, lightness of grip, adjustability for multiple hand sizes and high degree of programmability means that Unimouse can be an enabling device for students who would otherwise be unable to use their computer.
With many ergonomics professionals already supportive of the vertical mouse concept, Unimouse adds an extra dimension by offering a device that can be adapted to suit the individual. Unimouse is already respected by many DSA assessors and is often prescribed by suppliers who conduct DSA assessments throughout the UK. Now DSA students can confidently consider it as part of their own solution. This is why we are delighted to be added to the SLC’s list of officially approved DSA computer equipment.