Human support

Non-Medical Helpers (NMHs) support disabled undergraduate and postgraduate students with their studies. Students at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) enrolled on a Master of Studies course can also access NMH support.

Complete our online form and one of our advisers will get in touch to discuss human support.

How to get NMH support

Your Disability Adviser may recommend NMH support as part of your funded support package and add it to your Student Support Document. Some NMH support may be recommended as part of your Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) assessment.

We'll match you with a Non-Medical Helper based on your needs. They will have the right experience and qualifications to help you. They may be students, academics, teachers, psychologists or members of the Cambridge community.

Your NMH will email you to offer support.

How NMH is funded

Most NMH support is funded by Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), the Reasonable Adjustments Fund (RAF) or the International Disabled Student Fund (IDSF).

Your College or Department may fund some support offered by NMHs such as:

  • Examination Support Worker
  • Practical Support Assistant
  • Library Support Assistant
  • Workshop or Laboratory Assistant

Contact us if you have any questions about how to fund NMH support.

Non-Medical Helper roles


One-to-one support to help you address any barriers to learning.  
Support could cover a range of topics, such as:

  • coping with anxiety and stress
  • focus and concentration
  • time management and prioritising workloads
  • creating a suitable work-life balance

Find out more about mentoring.

Study skills

One-to-one support to help you manage your studies and learn effectively. 
Study skills support can include:

  • planning, organising and structuring work
  • storing and retrieving information
  • analysing and understanding exam questions

Find out more about one-to-one study skills support.

Note takers

NMHs will take notes for you from lectures, seminars and discussions. Notes can be handwritten or typed so you can read them with a screen reader.

Study assistants

Study assistants can help you to develop independence while at university. Study assistance may include scribing, support with organisation, co-ordination of other Non-Medical Helpers, and converting learning materials into accessible formats.

Assistive technology trainers

Assistive technology trainers will help with technology such as software that reads text out loud or that helps you to organise ideas in a visual way.


A scribe (sometimes known as an amanuensis) will write down your answers in lectures and exams. They write exactly what you dictate, and they will read back what they have written if you ask. Scribes cannot explain words or questions in an exam or help you answer any exam questions.


A reader will read the exact wording of instructions and questions in lectures and exams. They will also read your responses exactly as written. Readers cannot explain words or questions in an exam. 

Sighted guides and mobility trainers for students with visual impairments

A sighted guide can help you get to your university building. An experienced and qualified mobility trainer can help you navigate and learn safe routes through the University.

British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and support workers for d/Deaf students

BSL interpreters can support you in different teaching sessions, for example in small group sessions, known as supervisions, and discussions. Support workers may include note takers or interpreters.

How you'll work with your NMH

The Student Code of Participation explains your responsibilities and gives information about approving NMH timesheets.

Read the student code of participation.