The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at the University of Connecticut acts as a referral source by assisting students with disabilities to identify personal assistants (PAs). A PA is a paid employee (paid by the student) who assists an individual with a disability to perform daily tasks. PA duties may include:
- Assistance with daily grooming and hygiene;
- Assistance with transfers;
- Assistance with bathing and dressing;
- Assistance with laundry and errands;
- Other individual duties as needed.
Students with disabilities are responsible for hiring and paying personal assistants. The CSD may assist students to identify PAs by advertising available positions and collecting employment applications. While the CSD assists students by collecting and sharing PA applications with students, the provision of applications does not constitute an endorsement of each applicant. CSD staff is not authorized to assist students with personal care needs.
- Students requesting a personal assistant are encouraged to contact the CSD as soon as possible if they are seeking assistance identifying PAs.
- Provide the CSD with information regarding the specific PA requirements (e.g., advertisement).
Additional information may also be obtained from Tina McCarthy, Director of Nursing at Student Health and Wellness. PAs may receive an explanatory demonstration by a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner from Student Health and Wellness. Call (860) 486-0765 to arrange an appointment. A training manual is also available to students from the CSD to assist students in hiring and supervising PAs.
- Assist students with identifying PAs by communicating with targeted constituencies (e.g., School or Nursing students).
Any questions regarding this policy and procedure should be directed to Christine Wenzel, Interim Executive Director, at (860) 486-2020 or email@example.com.
Becoming a Personal Assistant
General Tips and Suggestions
- Be sure to sign an employee agreement before you start assisting the SWD.
- Make certain that you are aware of your duties prior to the start of your job and ensure that you are certain of your schedule.
- Before you begin assisting the SWD, be certain that you are willing to commit the time and punctuality necessary to be successful at this job.
- Be honest with yourself and with the SWD whom you are assisting – talking openly about concerns will be likely to settle any conflict before it arises.
- Ask questions if you are unsure about how to do something – it is better to ask then risk the safety of the SWD.
- Get the contact information of the student’s other PA’s in case you are unable to work on a scheduled day.
- Keep track of your hours and sign off on them daily in the presence of the student whom you are assisting.
- If there is some disagreement regarding your work schedule or payment, talk to the SWD whom you are assisting. If additional assistance is necessary, please contact the CSD at 860-486-2020.
- If any other problems arise, such as being given more responsibility than previously agreed upon, talk openly with your employer. If problems still persist, do not hesitate to contact the CSD.
Here at UConn we have a unique service for students with disabilities and their personal assistants. Student Health Services offers guidance and experienced consulting to make things easier. We hope that this service will be taken advantage of to replace the old routine of “learning as you go,” which can be very stressful for both parties. At Student Health Services you get an explanatory demonstration by a registered nurse, nurse practitioner or physical therapist who will be able to guide you. To access this service, call the Student Health Services appointment desk at 860-486-2719 and make an appointment!
It is often helpful to outline your responsibilities and tasks prior to your appointment so you can get demonstrations specific to the needs of the student you are assisting.