Personal Care Attendants

Personal Care Attendants assist students with items of personal care or mobility.

What are Personal Care Attendants?

Personal Care Attendants are employed by the student and each Personal Care Attendant’s responsibilities are based on the unique needs of the student, but may include things like

  • Helping the student enter, exit or navigate the classroom
  • Setting up the student’s books, computer, assistive technology in the classroom
  • Recording a lecture, taking notes, or receiving handouts
  • Assisting with personal care such as washroom assistance, feeding, and transportation

Personal Care Attendants do not participate in the classroom like a student or a teaching assistant; they follow the directions of the student who employs them. Personal Care Attendants are not the same as Educational or Behavioral Attendants supporting learning, behavior, or emotional regulation.

Why are Personal Care Attendants important?

Personal Care Attendants maintain the student’s autonomy and independence in university academic and campus experiences.  

Who might use Personal Care Assistants?

Students may use a Personal Care Assistant if they are not able to independently navigate campus buildings, learning materials and technologies, or university schedules. Students may hire a Personal Care Attendant if they have a disability impacting mobility, sight, stamina, or dexterity.

How do I support Personal Care Attendants in my classroom?

Instructors can support students using Personal Care Attendants by

  • Participating in the discussion, planning, documenting, and monitoring of the Personal Care Attendant’s job description relevant to your classroom.
  • Assuming the student is competent to participate in your classroom and meet the learning outcomes.
  • Asking the student questions if you are not sure how something can work; direct your conversation and questions to the student, not the attendant.
  • Respecting the unique boundaries of the Personal Care Attendant; don’t treat them as a student or teaching assistant.