Personal Assistant Support
What is a Personal Assistant (PA)?
A Personal Assistant is a person employed to help a disabled person carry out tasks they cannot do for themselves. This includes help with toileting, eating and drinking, retrieving material as well as help navigating the college environment.
Can I Avail of a Personal Assistant
Personal assistant support is available on the recommendation of a Disability Officer. Personal assistance is generally offered to students with physical disabilities and students with visual impairments. Your disability officer will discuss with you what you need a PA to do and for how many hours a day you require them as a result of that need. It may be possible that PA availability is limited by the funding available to the Service.
What is the difference between a PA and a SNA?
The role of a third level Personal Assistant is very different to that of a Special Needs Assistant. A PA is there to assist a student in the tasks that cannot do for themselves. It is beyond their remit to help students with their academics or act as an emotional support. The PA is not expected to contribute in class- they are simply there as an extra pair of hands. By contrast, a secondary school Special Needs Assistant has more of a pastoral role and can to some extend support students with their academic studies.
If you require PA support outside academic hours and outside the academic year we advise you to make contact with the Disability Manager in your area. We would also advise you to make contact with Independent Living Movement Ireland.