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*ASSIST - Autism and Sensory Support in Staffordshire

Staffordshire County Council services

ASSIST provides support for people over 16 years of age who have hearing or vision loss, are deafblind, or who have an autism spectrum condition.

Education Support

We provide support in educational establishments across Staffordshire.

What's available?

Advice and assessment of educational needs is available along with various types of support. These include:

  • Note-taking
  • Adaptation of materials
  • Mentoring
  • Braille/ICT tuition
  • Communication support such as lip-speaking and sign language interpreters

Students may need specialist equipment or software and support from specialist tutors. They can also access mobility training and audiological support.

Non-medical helpers

We are a provider of non-medical helper (NMH) support for students in higher education who have been funded by a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).

Please see our NMH Rates for students supported by ASSIST, effective from 1 August 2019.

We continue to provide support, if required, when students move into work-based learning or other work environments.

Our students

This is what some of our current students have to say:

Zila Aziz – Staffordshire University

Zila is a visually impaired student who has received support from ASSIST at college where she studied for her A-Levels and also at Staffordshire University where she has completed her Legal Practice Course and is enrolling on the LLM course in September 2014.

Zila has received electronic notetaking for her lectures and workshops as well as study support outside of taught sessions for help with library research and organisation of work on a very practical course. Zila worked closely with the ASSIST staff to find the best solution to her needs while studying a very complex course at a post graduate level.

“Also the support enabled me to do well in my exams which again shows that having consistency with the correct support brings positive results as it did for me.”

This is what Zila has to say about the support she received from us:

“I found with the support that I received from the staff at ASSIST was very focused on my needs.  I find the staff to be very helpful and encouraging and this made me feel very relaxed with the support that I was receiving.  It is important that the support worker listens to the student and understands their individual needs.  I found this to be the case with ASSIST as their support workers are trained to assist the student for their individual needs and this is what enabled me to do so well with my post graduate course and gain outstanding results."

Zila is looking to gain a training contract with a law firm in the future and the whole ASSIST team would like to take the opportunity to wish her the best of luck going forward with both her studies and her employment, we are sure she will do an excellent job.

Michael Johnson – Stafford College

Michael is a student who has an Autism Spectrum Condition; he has received in class and out of class support from ASSIST at Stafford College. Michael studied Level 3 Interactive Media and managed to achieve 3 Merits in his final year which was a great achievement from him and has meant that he has been able to gain a place at Staffordshire University to continue his studies.

Michael received support in class to help him keep on track and complete his work as well as receiving support out of class to help with his research and modifying his English and annotating his work.

“The staff have helped me with annotations, modifying my English and helping me spell words to do my research when using Google.”

Michael had this to say about the support from us:

“Staff have always been very helpful and easy to get on with. Staff were focused and help me to organise my time to keep on track getting my assignments in on time. I feel the support given by ASSIST has helped me to achieve Merit, Merit, Merit in my final year and this has enabled me to go onto university. Without this help I feel my grades would have only been a pass.”

We would like to wish Michael the best of luck in his studies at Staffordshire University and hope that he continues to achieve the high grades he gained at college.

Samara Hussain – Keele University

Samara is a visually impaired student studying at Keele University.  She started in September 2013 on a Foundation year after leaving school with no GCSE’s as the school were unable to provide the support she needed, however she has gone onto college to gain her GCSE qualifications along with A Levels and a BTEC National Diploma. She is hoping to move onto a degree in Law with Criminology and ultimately become a barrister.

Samara has received support in class from an electronic notetaker as well as study support out of class to help her with her research and assignments. She has also received transcription support to have documents transcribed into Braille for her to use. Samara said this about the support she received:

“I feel that if I did not receive the support I did, then I do not think I would have managed.  It has really helped me because I had too much work and it would not have been completed as there were certain things I needed.”

Samara also had this to say about us:

“The staff who have supported me have been fantastic.  They are extremely helpful and all they want is the best for us.  When we had our exams, they were waiting anxiously and seemed more nervous than we were.  I definitely felt relaxed around them and felt I got a lot of work done with them.

“ASSIST do a brilliant job.  They deal with many people on a daily basis but are extremely friendly and patient.  Whenever I needed them, they were always there to help.  Thank you for all your help and support.”

We would like to wish Samara all the best with the rest of her studies and hope she manages to achieve her goal of one day becoming a barrister.

Community Support

ASSIST provide services for deaf people, those with a vision impairment and people with an Autism Spectrum Condition. 

Interpreters are used at various medical settings, conferences, meetings and in legal settings.

Access to documentation is provided through interpretation and translation:

  • British Sign Language
  • Braille
  • Moon
  • Audio

Support workers also facilitate access to social events, usually through Direct Payments.


We have a team of qualified and experienced tutors who can deliver bespoke training in a range of sensory issues. These include:

Deaf Awareness

Suggested topics:

  • What is Deafness?  
  • Levels of hearing loss and effects
  • Technical Aids
  • Communication Strategies
  • What is BSL?

Vision Awareness

Suggested topics:

  • What is Visual Impairment?
  • Types of vision loss and effects
  • Accessing written information
  • Enabling technologies
  • Support strategies

Deafblind Awareness

Suggested topics:

  • What is deafblindness
  • Conditions associated with Deafblindness
  • Communication
  • Support strategies
  • Effects of daily living

We aim to keep prices as competitive as possible please contact us to discuss your requirements or request an application form. (3 hour session, minimum numbers required)

Other courses

Level 3 Award for Specialist Deafblind Assessors

This is an Open College Network West Midlands level 3 accredited course. It enables sensory workers to appropriately assess service users with a dual sensory loss.

Please contact us for further information.

British Sign Language

Please note: we are unable to run any of the certificated British Sign Language courses presently. 

The following websites may offer further information:

  • DeafVibe (British Sign Language, Deaf Awareness and Lipreading courses)

The Specialist Support Service (SSS), part of Familes First, is a centrally based education service for the whole of Staffordshire. 

It consists of 4 teams:

What's On

What's available for deaf people in Staffordshire?

Deaf Coffee Mornings

Held on the first Friday of every month.

When: 10am - 12 noon
Where: The Rising Brook Baptist Church, Burton Square, Stafford, ST17 9LT

The coffee morning is run by deaf people for deaf people.

The group meet to socialise and guest speakers are invited to discuss current issues such as fire safety or health matters.

If you would like to be a guest speaker, please email the coffee morning directly on


This is held on the second Saturday of every month in Newcastle-under-Lyme. There are two sessions, one for British Sign Language users, and another for people who are hard of hearing.

The cafe is for informal chats, information, news, health, equipment, advice, support and activities. 

You can visit their website or contact DEAFvibe on:

Mobile/text: 07923 489800


Who to contact

01785 356835
ASSIST website

Mobile/SMS: 07816 316297

07977 007184 - Emergency out of hours Interpreter bookings only

Where to go

Staffordshire Place 2
ST16 2DH Get Directions (This link opens in a new tab)

Other Details


Other notes

Compliments, Comments and Complaints

We aim to provide the best service for our customers. If you have used any of our services your feedback will be very helpful. Feedback forms can be found on our main website

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are looking for any upcoming training courses please see our training page

How do I contact ASSIST if I have an emergency, or it is out of hours?

If it is an emergency, contact us on 07977 007184.

If it is not an emergency, you can contact the office:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am - 4.30pm
  • Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm

Are there any jobs available?

As we are part of Staffordshire County Council all job vacancies will be posted on the WM Jobs website when we have any available.

Is there anything local for deaf people to attend in Stafford?

Yes, we hold a Coffee Morning at The Rising Brook Baptist Church on the first Friday of every month.

Please see our What's On page for more information.

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