Many universities provide services that focus on assisting students who experience academic difficulties. At UL we are broadening the range of services and in addition to the usual supports we have developed a programme that concentrates on social and other life skill difficulties. The ULEAD programme aims to address the requirements of students who are experiencing challenges socially, functionally and educationally.
ULEAD is an acronym for "yoU Learn Engage Aspire Develop." The programme is designed to facilitate the transition from the second level education environment to its third level equivalent. The key objective is to give students an opportunity to develop practical and functional skills which will enable them to participate fully in their third level educational experience.
ULEAD is a student centred programme. Group sessions are run to help the student gain important college skills these sessions deal with subjects like; study skill, academic writing, note taking, using the library etc. Each student is provided with a tailored set of supports to suit their requirements, including on-going sessions with the Student Support Officer and an Occupational therapist.
While ULEAD can support students with a variety of requirements it is our experience that it is particularly beneficial to students on the Autistic spectrum, students with ADD/ADHD or students experiencing issues with mental health.
Engaging with the ULEAD programme
ULEAD is available to University of Limerick students who are registered with disability services. Registration and participation is a straightforward process. The Disability Services office undertakes a needs assessment. Participants then meet with an Occupational Therapist (OT). The OT develops an occupation based assessment, individual programme plan and practical support strategies.
The programme's focus on individual student needs pervades all aspects of its operation. Meetings with the OT are guided by the student with the aim of developing organisational and social skills, goal setting and achievement abilities, and nurturing the student's personal development. the ULEAD program is really beneficial to students as it can provide support with academic work, social skills and general college life.
How can I avail of the ULEAD Programme?
Participants must register with Disability Services and registered students are guided through the programme by the designated staff.
The C-Pen Exam Reader pen scanner is an electronic pen the uses text to speech to read aloud printed text. The C-Pen Exam Reader is an orange portable, pocket-sized device that reads text out aloud with an English human-like digital voice used instead of a human reader.
This device means students who have reading difficulties such as dyslexia can independently take exams knowing that they can read and understand the questions. Students using the pen bring their own in-ear headphones to use with the reading pen via 3.5mm headphone socket. All students are given the opportunity to train on the reading pen prior to exams.
The reading pens have been used in UL for the last four years by first years through to postgraduate students. The reading pen is also available as a reasonable accommodation in the Leaving Cert resulting in more and more students entering college and university already trained on how to use the reading pen in exams.
Below is a very short video on the exam reader pen.