Sussex Regional Access Centre

Assistive technology

What is Assistive technology?

Assistive technology is any device, software / app, or equipment that helps people work around their challenges. Some examples of assistive technology are text-to-speech and voice recognition software. Assistive technology can include low-tech tools such as coloured overlays. Some assistive technology is free or may be available through your college or university. Approximate costs are shown using the following key:-

FREE
£ - under £10
££ - £10-£99
£££ - £100-£199
££££ - above £200

Click on the headings to see examples of assistive technology that can help with studying at University.

  Reading

Students usually spend more than 50% of their study time engaged in reading activities. For those who read more slowly or struggle with reading accuracy, this can significantly impact on accessing the information needed for academic study. However, there are a wide variety of different tools to support reading at university from screen tints to text reading software. The most useful tools work across a variety of different formats and support different reading styles and abilities.

Screen reading

Text-to-speech enables text to be read ‘out loud’ to students. This can be particularly useful for those with reduced vision, reading differences, such as dyslexia, visual stress and sensitivity to computer screens. Most programs provide a selection of voices and reading speeds to choose from. Some programs allow the ‘reading’ to be downloaded into MP3.

Text-to-speech is particularly useful where students find it difficult to extract the meaning from the material they are reading or read slowly. These reading differences occur because of the complexity in the reading process which cause students’ working memories to become overloaded – this ‘overload’ vulnerability will be increased for students with a variety of conditions including dyslexia, mental health conditions, brain injury, medical conditions, etc.

Natural Reader (Free)

Natural Reader is a text-to-speech app that reads webpages, documents, and eBooks aloud. High quality, natural-sounding voices with a range of voice and speed choices. Can read from scanned images and download to MP3. Available as an online reader or phone app. 

https://www.naturalreaders.com/

ClaroRead Plus (££)

ClaroRead Plus is text reading software with a variety of additional features including screen ruler, note taking tools, highlighting, dictionary and word prediction. Reads from any type of documents and includes OCR reader, for reading photographed or scanned materials. 

https://www.clarosoftware.com/portfolio/claroread/

ClaroPDF Pro (Free or £ for Pro version)

ClaroPDF Pro is an accessible, reading and study PDF tool; mark up, listen to and save PDF files which are fully compatible with other popular PDF apps. Have accessible text PDF files spoken back to you with human quality voice & synchronized highlighting.

Annotation tool bar allows you to add notes and comments. 

https://www.clarosoftware.com/portfolio/claropdf/

Read & Write (£££)

Read & Write is text reading software with a variety of additional features, such as grammar and spelling checker, OCR reader and highlighting facility. 

https://www.texthelp.com/en-gb/products/read-write/

Equatio (£££)

Equatio works with Read & Write to read maths notation and scientific equations. 

https://www.texthelp.com/en-gb/products/equatio/

Microsoft Narrator (Free)

Microsoft Narrator is built into Windows 10 and reads aloud the text on your PC screen. It also describes events such as notifications and calendar appointments, which lets you use your PC without a display. 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hear-text-read-aloud-with-narrator-040f16c1-4632-b64e-110a-da4a0ac56917

Read Aloud (Free)

Read Aloud reads all or part of your Word document. You can use Read Aloud on its own or within Immersive Reader for Word in Windows and MacOS. 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/listen-to-your-word-documents-5a2de7f3-1ef4-4795-b24e-64fc2731b001

VoiceOver (Free)

VoiceOver for iPhone enables the phone to speak selected text or the entire screen. 

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/iphone/iph96b214f0/ios

Referencing and making notes from reading

Referencing is an important academic skill as it shows the sources you have used to research your topic, and gives support and weight to your arguments and conclusions. When writing an essay or thesis, referring to the sources you have used is an academic requirement.

Why are references important? Referencing correctly helps you to avoid plagiarism by making it clear which ideas are your own and which are someone else's; it provides supporting evidence for your ideas, arguments and opinions and allows others to identify the sources you have used.

Referencing software enables you to keep track of all of the articles, books and reports you may want to use in your essays. References can then be inserted into your writing effortlessly. Referencing software keeps an electronic database of all of the references you use and can easily generate a bibliography and format it in whatever style is appropriate for your course.

Whilst studying at University you will probably need to read and take in a lot of information. To get the most from your reading, it is important to find an effective way to make notes.  Taking notes is a way to engage with the printed word, and can help you to retain more of the information, especially if you summarise and paraphrase it. Good reading notes will help you later on with writing essays and reports, carrying out research and revising for exams.

Zotero (Free)

Zotero is free and open-source reference software designed to manage bibliographic data and related research materials (such as PDF files). Notable features include web browser integration, online syncing, generation of in-text citations, footnotes and bibliographies, as well as integration with the word processors Microsoft Word, Libre Office, and Google Docs.

https://www.zotero.org/

Endnote (£££)

EndNote is a reference management tool that collects, stores and collates research materials and formats reference lists and bibliographies. 

There is a web version of EndNote that may be available for free through your university.

https://www.endnote.co.uk/

Notability (£)

Notability  is a note-taking, annotation, and sketching app for Apple computers and mobile devices, enabling users to create and share notes that combine handwriting, typing, drawings, audio, and pictures. 

https://support.gingerlabs.com/hc/en-us

Microsoft OneNote (Free)

Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users' notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries. Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network. 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-365/onenote/digital-note-taking-app?ms.url=onenotecom&rtc=1

Evernote (Free)

Evernote make notebooks with typed and handwritten notes, add to-do lists, photos, images, web pages, and audio. Evernote syncs your notes and notebooks across your devices. 

https://evernote.com/

ProStudy (£££)

Collate and organise research materials including web pages, screen shots, photos. Create project libraries and export research materials and references to Word. 

https://www.pro-study.co.uk/

Coloured overlays

Coloured overlay software or tinted screen filters on your computer or phone screen can improve text reading by reducing some types of visual disturbances and distortion that can be associated with eye strain, dyslexia, migraines, visual stress, epilepsy, Irlen syndrome and other visual conditions. A coloured filter can support a wide range of reading difficulties such as low reading speed, concentration times, reading accuracy, and comprehension.

Colorveil (Free)

Colorveil adds a colour filter over your screen digitally. By adding a customizable colour filter over your desktop, documents, internet browser etc. you can reduce eye strain and associated reading difficulties. 

https://www.aurelitec.com/colorveil/windows/

F:Lux (Free)

F:Lux makes the colour of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Research suggests that this can help develop healthier sleep patterns. 

https://justgetflux.com/ 

Colour filters on iPhones (Free)

Colour filters on iPhones adds a colour filter over your iPhone screen – choose from a wide spectrum of colours and adjust the intensity according to personal preference. 

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT207025

  Writing

There are a variety of writing tools available that can support the development of academic writing, writing style, vocabulary, referencing and grammar. Some of these will integrate other tools, such as spellcheckers, mind mapping and note taking.

Writing tools can be beneficial for those who want to enhance their writing skills or develop a more effective academic voice.

Mindmapping 

Mind mapping software can help you to translate ideas into a visual format that is more flexible and creative than linear notes. It is a particularly useful strategy for learners who find it challenging to get their ideas onto paper, for example when planning an essay, or making revision notes. Mind mapping in a digital format, gives students the opportunity to brainstorm thoughts before attempting to group and structure the ideas. Most mind mapping programs enable the use of colour coding in the mind map to help organise ideas effectively and to break down sections, so that the mind map does not become too overwhelming. Other documents, links to websites and images can be added to digital mind maps. Once a mind map is created, it can usually be easily converted into a structured writing frame in Word.

Many universities will have site licences for mind mapping software, which enable students to access this software for free and, in some cases, download to their own computers. There are a large number of mind mapping tools available at varying costs. Some will offer an initial trial and monthly subscriptions. Below are a small selection of the programmes available:-

Mindview (Free at University of Sussex / ££)

MindView is a professional mind mapping software that allows you to visually brainstorm, organize and present ideas. Also includes project management tools and collaboration options. 

                                                                                                                              
Mind Genius (Free at University of Brighton / £££)

Mind Genius is mind mapping software designed for education. MindGenius contains specific resources for Study, Reports, Thesis planning, Projects, Research and Collaborative Learning. Not available for Mac 

 

Inspiration (££)

Inspiration is a visual learning tool to help organize and analyze information. Creative and simplistic mind mapping tool. Designed with neurodiverse learners in mind.

http://www.inspiration.com/Inspiration

Mind Maple (££)

‘Pen’ and ‘Classic’ versions of a mind mapping and brainstorming tool.

https://www.mindmaple.com/

Essay Writer 3D (££)

Mind mapping tool with additional writing features, including essay templates, bibliography tool, phrase bank and time management tool.

https://www.fasteressays.com/

Voice Recognition

Voice recognition software can be used to support spelling. Speech-to-text software will transcribe what you say, allowing you to create text without having your concentration interrupted by thinking about how to spell a word, or to think about using a different word and rephrasing the sentence. Voice recognition can be used to ask virtual assistants to spell individual words or software can be used to write whole essays.

Dragon Naturally Speaking (£££)

Create and transcribe documents, works with other applications, such as email, customise commands and adapt to recognise specialist vocabulary. Not available for Mac.

https://www.nuance.com/en-gb/dragon.html

TalkType (£££)

TalkType is accurate dictation software designed and built specifically for Mac. You can control your mac with your voice, add customer words and phrases to customize TalkType to suit your needs. 

https://talk-type.com/

Windows Dictation (Free)

Windows Dictation converts spoken words into text on your PC with Windows 10. Dictation uses speech recognition, which is built into Windows 10. You need internet connection for Dictation to work. 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/use-dictation-to-talk-instead-of-type-on-your-pc-fec94565-c4bd-329d-e59a-af033fa5689f

Mac keyboard dictation (Free)

Mac keyboard dictation enables you to dictate text anywhere you can type it. Converts your speech into typed text on your computer. See also Voice Control. 

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mac-help/mh40584/mac

Siri, Alexa, Cortana or Google Assistant (Free)

These can be used to find out or check spellings. Just ask your phone or virtual assistant, using your voice, how to spell a specific word. For example ‘Hey Siri, how do you spell necessary? Your virtual assistant will then spell out the word for you and provide a dictionary definition. 

Android and iPhones usually have voice recognition available in any phone apps where you see the microphone symbol next to the space bar on your keyboard. 

Typing

Fluent and accurate typing skills can really improve the efficiency of your writing and help you to make effective use of your study time. With most of these typing programmes, a little bit of practice, done on a regular basis, will be sufficient to develop your typing speed, so that you can keep up with your thought processes when writing your notes, reports and essays.

Dance Mat (Free)

Dance Mat Typing is an introductory touch typing tool. Accessed through any internet browser.

https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/z3c6tfr

TypingClub (Free)

Typing Club teaches you to touch type through a series of games, videos and typing challenges. 

https://www.typingclub.com/

NOTE: If your typing is slow and error-prone, you can consider swapping your keyboard for an external ergonomic keyboard. For more information on ergonomic keyboards contact srac@sussex.ac.uk Another option is to use speech-to-text software – see information on voice recognition below. 

  Spelling, punctuation and grammar checking

Why bother with accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar? Spelling, punctuation and grammar are very important in academic writing because it helps your reader to make sense of a piece of text – you don't want your reader to have to re-read sections of your essay because they can't figure out what you are trying to say. Worse still, if you’ve used the wrong word or put punctuation in the incorrect place, the whole meaning of your sentence could change. Good spelling, punctuation and grammar are essential if you want your writing to flow well, be understood and demonstrate effectively what you know and understand.

There are a wide range of software tools to support you with your spelling, punctuation and grammar, which can make your writing more fluent and accurate.

Spelling and grammar checking

The benefit of using a spell checker or grammar checker is that they can improve the accuracy of writing. Running a spelling or grammar checker ensures that the number of typing and spelling errors in a document decrease significantly; this can speed up the writing process. Some spell checkers have grammar checkers built in. Using a spell checker that corrects words as you write, can make your writing flow better, by reducing the number of hesitations and interruptions that you need to make when writing.

Ginger (Free)

Ginger Grammar Checker helps the user write English quickly by correcting your text. Ginger will correct spelling & grammar mistakes and misused words. Helps boost writing productivity. 

https://www.gingersoftware.com/grammarcheck#.XRomxqbsaUk 

Grammarly (Free Basic / ££ Premium)

Grammerly is an on-line grammar checker. Also checks spelling, vocabulary and for possible plagiarism in your writing. 

https://www.grammarly.com/native/windows

Global Autocorrect (£££)

Automatic spelling correction. Intelligent corrections based on analysis of sound patterns. Customisable for automatic future corrections. Works across all programs. 

https://www.lexable.com/features/

Specialist vocabulary

During your course, you are most likely to come across new and specialist vocabulary. Sometimes it can be difficult to pronounce new words and accurate reading and spelling of unusual words may take time to acquire. Assistive technology can support some of these challenges and help you to manage specialist vocabulary more effectively.

Howjsay (Free)

Howjsay is an online talking dictionary of English pronunciations. It uses real voices so is helpful for getting to grips with saying specialist and unfamiliar words. It has an extensive range of words of even the most specialist words.

http://howjsay.com/

Medincle Pronounce (Free)

A pronunciation tool designed for notoriously tricky medical terms. It runs through a webpage and is specifically designed to support the pronunciation of medical words, including biological terms and medication names. 

https://www.medincle.com/pronounce/  

Medincle AT Complete (£££)

This is  spell checking software designed to aid learning, enhance productivity and reduce errors by adding up-to-date British medical terminology and language to the vocabulary bank in your other software and word processors. Designed to improve the reading and spelling for students on medical and many science-based courses. Legal and Eco editions also available. 

https://www.spectronics.com.au/product/medincle

Equatio (£££)

Equatio supports the reading and writing of maths notation and scientific equations. 

https://www.texthelp.com/en-gb/products/equatio/

Manchester Phrasebank (Free)

Manchester Phrasebank is a general resource for developing academic writing and writing styles. Provides advice on being critical, describing, transition statements and comparing and contrasting. 

http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/

Voice recognition

Voice recognition software can be used to support spelling. Speech-to-text software will transcribe what you say, allowing you to create text without having your concentration interrupted by thinking about how to spell a word, or to think about using a different word and rephrasing the sentence. Voice recognition can be used to ask virtual assistants to spell individual words or software can be used to write whole essays.

Dragon Naturally Speaking (£££)

Create and transcribe documents, works with other applications, such as email, customise commands and adapt to recognise specialist vocabulary. Not available for Mac.

https://www.nuance.com/en-gb/dragon.html

TalkType (£££)

TalkType is accurate dictation software designed and built specifically for Mac. You can control your mac with your voice, add customer words and phrases to customize TalkType to suit your needs. 

https://talk-type.com/

Windows Dictation (Free)

Windows Dictation converts spoken words into text on your PC with Windows 10. Dictation uses speech recognition, which is built into Windows 10. You need internet connection for Dictation to work. 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/use-dictation-to-talk-instead-of-type-on-your-pc-fec94565-c4bd-329d-e59a-af033fa5689f

Mac keyboard dictation (Free)

Mac keyboard dictation enables you to dictate text anywhere you can type it. Converts your speech into typed text on your computer. See also Voice Control. 

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mac-help/mh40584/mac

Siri, Alexa, Cortana or Google Assistant (Free)

These can be used to find out or check spellings. Just ask your phone or virtual assistant, using your voice, how to spell a specific word. For example ‘Hey Siri, how do you spell necessary? Your virtual assistant will then spell out the word for you and provide a dictionary definition. FREE

Android and iPhones usually have voice recognition available in any phone apps where you see the microphone symbol next to the space bar on your keyboard. 

  Organisation and time management

Managing your time effectively and keeping organised during your time at university can be particularly challenging when there’s lots of work to be done. Assistive technology can help you to stay in control of your study tasks and develop effective strategies for managing your work load.

The time management features in many mind mapping tools can support you to students in managing study time more effectively.

Colour coding systems, can be effective in helping you to prioritise tasks and organise work by creating visual markers and cues. Tasks can be broken down into smaller chunks and mini deadlines created, so you are less likely to become overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of the work required. This is likely to be particularly beneficial if you experience anxiety or have a specific learning difference.

Lots of organisation and time management tools can be used on mobile phones to create reminders and alerts that are easily picked up and integrated with existing phone apps.

Some tools are particularly useful for overcoming that ‘blank page’ scenario and sustaining focus on studying.

Planning

Effective planning strategies can be applied across lots of different study tasks, such as reading, assignments, presentations and revision. Try different strategies and see what works best for you; there is no right or wrong approach and don’t be afraid to adjust a strategy to suit your own preferences. It’s probably best to find something that is flexible and adaptive to different tasks, so you don’t end up needing a different tool for each different task.

Google Keep (Free)

Google Keep is a note-taking tool which is available on the web, and has mobile apps for Android and iOS. GoogleKeep is presented as ‘Post-it Notes’, which can be colour coded and moved into priority areas. It offers a variety of tools for planning study tasks including adding text, lists, images, weblinks and audio. You can also add in time and location reminders. 

https://www.google.com/keep/

Scrivener (££)

Scrivener is a word-processing program and outliner designed for authors and writers but works well for academic projects and dissertations. Scrivener provides a management system for documents, notes and metadata. This allows the user to organize notes, concepts, research and whole documents for easy access and reference. 

https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview

Time management

Effective time management allows you to complete more, in less time and take advantage of the range of learning opportunities available to you. Efficient use of time also reduces stress, and frees up your time to focus on tasks other than just studying.

Trello (Free)

Trello helps you to stay organized and work more collaboratively through boards, lists, and cards that enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a flexible, coded and rewarding way.

https://trello.com/en-GB

24Me (££)

24Me is a personal assistant app that puts everything related to your schedule in one place; calendar, to-do lists, notes and journal entries. Synch different calendars together and customize your alerts and labels.

https://www.twentyfour.me/

Global Tasks (££££)

Global Tasks is a project management app that has been designed with studying in mind. Create task lists for different projects, set reminders and alerts and see all your projects in one place.

Mindview - Project Management (FREE at the University of Sussex / ££)

Mindview (Project Management) is mind mapping software that includes project management tools that allows you to create timetables, gantt charts and study schedules.

https://www.matchware.com/mind-mapping-software

Concentration

Studying effectively requires you to switch your attention away from the environment around you and focus on a specific study task.  In other words, you have to minimize the attention you pay to what’s going on around you and instead focus on a task, with minimum distraction. Improving your concentration, can help you to maintain a higher level of attention, be more efficient with your study time and retain information more effectively.

Technology can be a big distractor e.g. social media, text messaging etc. but there are lots of assistive technology tools available that can help you to minimise distractions and improve your concentration too.

Forest (Free)

Forest is an app that helps you to stay focused and benefits the environment by planting trees when you successfully remain on-task. It works by creating a block on your phone activity and displaying a growing tree instead. Set for your own time frame  

https://www.forestapp.cc/

Tomato Timers (Free)

Tomato Timers is a time management application, based on the Pomodoro technique, a method that boosts productivity by breaking down work periods into 25-minute slices, separated by short breaks.

http://www.tomatotimers.com/

Pause (£)

Pause is an interactive tool to quickly regain focus and release stress using meditation practices. 

http://www.pauseable.com/

Hold (Free)

Hold is an app that rewards users for not using their phone. Helps to avoid being distracted by your phone’s notifications.

https://www.hold.app/

  Note taking and revision strategies

Making effective lecture and seminar notes will help you when it comes to preparing for assignments and revising for exams.  And having good revision strategies will help to take the stress out of exams and give you the best opportunity to demonstrate what you’ve learned.

In exams, for most modules, you will not be expected to be able to repeat information by rote. University exams are designed to test your ability to apply information by applying facts and ideas to the question being asked. You will need to be able to see the links between ideas quickly and select the most relevant information to include in your answer.

When making either lecture notes or revision materials, try to apply these four things:-

1/ Make sense of the information - Information is hard to remember if it does not make sense; you need to understand what you are trying to learn and relate it to things you already know.

2/ Use your own words when writing notes as this connects the ideas to your understanding.

3/ Think about the material - look for similarities and differences between new information and what you already know. Why was the research valuable? Has it been replicated? Does it support old theories or suggest new ones?

4/ Organise the information - It is easier to remember well organised information. Identify the most significant points, break down ideas into sections. Make a mind map (see Writing section above) to summarise ideas and evidence. It is easier to remember connected ideas, rather than a lot of separate points.

Assistive technology can support you to develop your note taking and revision strategies, which will save you time when it comes to reviewing and preparing for assignments and exams. 

Note making in lectures and seminars

By creating clear, well-written notes from lectures and seminars, at the time, you can save time when writing assignments and developing visual and memorable revision tools. Apps and software can help with this by making your study materials accessible and organised.

Note taking tools are particularly useful if you find it difficult to follow the content of a lecture or seminar and make notes at the same time.  Many note taking tools enable you to audio record material so that your attention can be freed up for engaging in the content; important sections can then be played back at your own pace. These tools help you to manage audio, typed and lecture notes in one place, which assists you in managing study materials effectively and efficiently. These tools help learners with working memory vulnerability including dyslexia, mental health conditions, brain injury, medical conditions, etc. and those who may not be able to attend or sustain attention at lectures.

Audio Notetaker (££)

Audio Notetaker is an audio-based software program for easy note taking. It can be used with a Dictaphone, mobile phone or laptop microphone. Upload audio notes, presentations, Powerpoint slides, photographs and your own notes all into one place. Audio data can be edited and colour-coded so you can easily select specific sections to review.

NTE Hub (£££)

NTE Hub is a full-featured note taking suite backed by a talented human note taker service. Choose to take your own notes within the platform or send your audio files to a note taker to accelerate your note taking workflow.

Glean (££)

Glean helps you to combine audio, slides, and your own text notes in one place. Add notes using icons and review your notes at your own pace. Glean is a browser-based app that works equally well on your phone or laptop.

                                                 

Evernote (Free)

Evernote make notebooks with typed and handwritten notes, add to-do lists, photos, images, web pages, and audio so everything is in one place. Evernote syncs your notes and notebooks across your devices.

https://evernote.com/   

Memory strategies

Many students worry about memory, especially in relation to exams. The key lays in making your revision notes memorable and interactive. One way to do this is to generate sounds or images to go with the information and form mental images to go with the ideas. Or make a mind map (see writing section above) using colours and icons to create a visual image. Not all strategies will be effective for everybody, so experiment and find what works for you.

Quizlet (Free)

Quizlet helps you to create quizzes and flashcards to help you revise. There’s also banks of pre-existing resources that you can access.

https://quizlet.com/en-gb

Go Conqr (Free)

Go Conqr allows you to make your own engaging and fun resources for revision. Make quizzes, flashcards and mind maps of your own or access materials previously created.

https://www.goconqr.com/

Revision plans

Use a planning tool that you can adapt to suit your needs and preferences. Think about when is the best time for you to revise; when are you most alert and focused? Make sure you plan in regular breaks to let your memory recover and absorb the information you have just studied. You will learn best if you revise material, have a sleep and then review the material the next day. And pace your learning - you will learn best if you spread your learning of a particular topic over an extended period of time. Rather than focusing on similar information for a whole day, change topics completely.

To get the most from your revision, test yourself again and again but with increasing gaps between tests; allow time in your plans for rehearsal.

Exam Countdown Lite (Free)

Exam Countdown Lite keeps track of your exam dates so you can work out revision priorities.

https://examcountdownapp.com/ 

Time Tune (Free)

Time Tune helps you to set revision routines and increase your productivity by organising how you distribute your time. 

https://timetune.app/

See also Organisation and Time Management section above.

  Mental Wellbeing

From tools to help learners meditate and relax to those that encourage a healthier lifestyle, there’s a wide variety of wellbeing apps and software to support different needs.

According to research, improving wellbeing and reducing stress and anxiety can lead to an increase in learning productivity and the greater likelihood of completing a course.

Mindfulness and relaxation

It’s really important to find time for relaxation and mindfulness can help you to find a sense of calm when university life becomes a bit too hectic.

Mindfulness and relaxation are important for preventing stress levels from getting too high; this particularly important whilst studying. The more you practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques, the easier it will become, and it will then be easier to apply during times of high stress – like exams.

Headspace (Free / ££ Premium version)

Headspace is a meditation and mindfulness that has been shown to help manage stress, improve focus and improve sleep. Short regular exercises to help stay calm and perform better.

                                                                           

Calm (Free)

Calm is a meditation, sleep and mental wellness app.

https://www.calm.com/

Aura (Free)

Aura is an app providing short meditations, life coaching advice, stories, and calming music for reducing stress and increasing positivity.

Managing anxiety

Feeling overly worried or stressed out during university is very common. The uncertainty, the worries about constant deadlines, living away from home and the pressure to maintain a good work/life balance can be a lot to contend with, but there are apps and software that can help minimize your university anxiety.

Daylio (Free)

Daylio is a diary and mood tracker app. It enables you to collect and record activities and moods so that you can keep track of your activities and create patterns to be more productive.

Brain in hand (££££)

Brain in Hand allows you to plan events and tasks in a diary, which offers reminders to help you achieve your everyday goals. This app is suitable for people with autism, mental health problems or a brain injury.

https://braininhand.co.uk/

Moodpath (Free Basic Version)

Moodpath is a personalized mental health companion that supports different phases of stress, depression, and anxiety.

https://mymoodpath.com/en/

Mindshift (Free)

Mindshift is a free app designed to help young adults cope with anxiety. It can help you change how you think about anxiety. Rather than trying to avoid anxiety, you can make an important shift and face it. Lists symptoms of anxiety. Offers strategies to manage worry, panic, conflict, ordinary anxiety, and three specialised categories of anxiety: test anxiety, social anxiety, and perfectionism. Also contains relaxation exercises.

 https://www.anxietybc.com/resources/mindshift-app

Support groups and self-help

As well as support groups and services that are available through your university, below are a selection of apps and resources that can support your wellbeing.

SAM (Free)

SAM is a friendly app that offers a range of self-help methods for people who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety. 

https://sam-app.org.uk/

Stay Alive (Free)

Stay Alive is an app-based suicide prevention resource, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.

https://www.prevent-suicide.org.uk/find-help-now/stay-alive-app/

Moodnotes (££)

Moodnotes helps you to capture your mood and improve your thinking habits through an innovative approach to journaling! Moodnotes empowers you to track your mood over time, avoid common thinking traps, and de velop perspectives associated with increased happiness and well-being.

                                                                      

MiindSet (Free)

MiindSet is a mental health information platform designed to individually tailor information to suit you. Includes articles, podcasts, mood tracker and exercises to help you develop positive mental wellbeing. 

https://miindset.com/students/


As apps and software have advanced, so has the range and availability of these tools. Many are freely available and suitable for students with, and without, a recognised need. For those that have a cost, this can sometimes be met through funding from the Disabled Students Allowance.

The apps and software presented above, are a small selection of those that are available. If you haven’t found what you are looking for or want more information on using Assistive Technology for studying, get in touch using our Assistive Technology Query form.

Digiswap

If you have any feedback about these apps, or can recommend any others that you may have tried, please click on the button below and let us know.

For more information about Accessible Learning Technologies and the Disabled Students Allowance, go to www.sussex.ac.uk/srac or contact Sussex Regional Access Centre by calling 01273 678497, or emailing srac@sussex.ac.uk.