What is a Specialist Support Professional?

A specialist support professional (SSP) is a qualified teacher trained to work with students with sensory impairments. They can support you to overcome barriers to your learning by helping you to develop strategies, effective planning and preparation to get the most out of your studies. An SSP who specialises in supporting blind or partially sighted students is known as a specialist support professional for the vision impaired (SSPVI).

How can they support you?

The support provided by an SSP is tailored to a student’s individual needs and can include:

  • Regularly assess and monitor a student’s functional vision and advise disability advisers and teaching staff of any necessary changes.
  • Assist and advise students and universities with how to modify learning materials into accessible formats.
  • Support students with the use of specialist equipment and assistive technology.
  • Help with planning workload and structuring assignments, access to research material and preparation for assessments/exams.
  • Liaise with exam boards and, where necessary, ensure the appropriate assessment methods are in place for the student.

How do you access their support?

A specialist support professional is usually provided via your Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) support package.

It is a good idea to discuss SSP/SSPVI support with your DSA needs assessor during your needs assessment to explore the options and establish whether this support will be a good fit for you.

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