Inclusive Education for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities in Higher Education
Course content is individualised. Module choices and pathways for students have been based on individual strengths, capacity and interests. This is a local arrangement between TU Dublin, Tallaght and WALK.
Since 2010, Mary Immaculate College (MIC) in Limerick has offered a programme designed to support the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in Higher Education. This programme, the Certificate in General Learning and Personal Development (CGLPD), gives expression to the mission of the College and its commitment to social justice and enables the creation of a richly diverse learning community where the contribution of each person is valued.
The main objectives of the programme are: 1. Like other college students, the learners will learn more about: communication techniques, working as part of a team, personal and interpersonal skills, social skills, personal awareness, independence, the world of work, self-advocacy, and assertiveness skills. 2. The programme will offer the learner an opportunity to participate in the social and leisure activities of college life: socialising with other students, participating in the gym and some sports. 3. Through their participation in classes, learners will develop confidentiality skills, memory skills, imagination and an understanding of other people’s lives. 4. In the different tutorials that learners attend, they will develop: academic, artistic, reasoning and problem-solving skills in PDP (Personal Development Plan) class, drama, maths, computer class, work skills, horticulture, creative studies and health promotion. 5. The overall objective of the programme—and the benchmark by which it will ultimately be measured—is that the learner, having completed the programme, will be better equipped to attain employment—and to maintain—employment.
The 2-year certificate course in Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice is now aligned to Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications. This course has just been accredited by the University Council of Trinity College Dublin. This means that students will receive a formal Level 5 award upon graduating which will enable them to engage with the world of work.
In this video below, students from the ASIAP course scripted and stared in a video guide for students with intellectual disabilities using the library in Trinity College Dublin.
The aim of the programme is to make each of our students as independent as possible and ready to make important life choices. Each participant follows their own individualised plan and is fully supported by staff to achieve their full potential. This is delivered through education, life skills training and work experience.
Over the past year, some new initiatives have been introduced, eg, Skills for Life participants are now involved in a Personal Training Programme which involves them working with the Health and Leisure students at the Institute on a one-to-one basis. They have a choice of activities including the gym and the pool.
This programme aims to assist people with intellectual disability to take control of their lives by developing their knowledge and understanding of advocacy and leadership. It aims to develop participants’ ability to make choices based on their understanding of rights. The overarching aim of the programme is to enhance people’s independent living skills.