This post was written by a good friend of mine, Sophie. She often blogs about the struggles of a disabled student’s life.
ASK JULES’ – AGENCY ENABLING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES TO GO TO UNIVERSITY, GIVING THEM THE CRUCIAL LEVEL OF SUPPORT BEFORE AND DURING UNIVERSITY.
As part of my open day at Southampton Solent University, I viewed an adapted room, similar to one, which I would be living in. The girl whose room we saw had a similar disability to mine; and needed the same amount of help.
During our viewing, the girl mentioned the agency ‘Ask Jules’ explaining that this agency enabled students with disabilities to go to university, giving them the crucial level of support before and during university.
Julie Pool and her family run the agency. She developed it herself after trying to find support for her son who has a physical disability who was about to embark on university himself.
After realising there was no such help out there, she saw a big gap in the market and Ask Jules developed.
When I contacted them for the first time, I was pleased with the response I got. I was asked to give an overview of my needs and the support I would require.
Next I was sent a form via email for me to fill out with information of my needs and personality.
After we submitted the form we got a phone call from the agency telling us they could support me through my university life.
They asked us where we were in the university process, offering their services and support.
We told them we were having difficulty finding carers and personal assistants (PA). The agency told us they could help us construct an advertisement for a suitable carer and PA.
I was given the choice to advertise for multiple carer’s to decrease the amount of pressure that would be on mine and the carer’s relationship. We were also asked whether we wanted to advertise for the carer and the PA separately or combine the two roles.
After some thought I decided to employ one person who would act as a PA and note taker and advertise for a separate morning carer. This way I didn’t have to share my personal matters with too many people.
As part of the process with Ask Jules we had to construct an advertisement for a PA/note taker and a separate one for the morning carer.
We thought long and hard about the personality traits that we would like to see in the PA to make sure that we would enjoy each other’s company. On the academic side
I needed a PA to assist me physically in and around the university as well as to help me get my bag ready for the day. The PA would need knowledge of media to be my study assistant so they would be able to assist me with my coursework and projects as well as them enjoying the course.
I would also need them to be a note taker, to take detailed notes during the lecture, as I was unable to keep up with the speed required. This would also mean I could listen to the tutors and be able to get a better understanding of the material they were covering.
Her duties would also include toileting and other forms of personal care, as well as cooking; preparing my lunch and cleaning and tidying my room.
I felt that the job applicant did not have to have previous experience in all of the areas required they just had to be open-minded and willing to learn.
I also needed a morning carer to assist me getting up in the morning and helping with my personal needs until I went to University for the day.
Once the job roles were clear to us we had to compile all the details into a form which would be sent to Ask Jules who would write advertisement for us and the form would also be given to the possible applicants beforehand so they were prepared if we chose to interview them.
The advert went in and we waited for the applicants.
Ask Jules viewed all applicants and narrowed them down to a select few; eliminating the ones they thought would be unsuitable for the job role and for me. They shortlisted and forwarded their details on to me, including their photograph, CV’s and references. Read more