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Online presentation – The road to employment: Trinity College’s programme for people with intellectual disabilities

Inclusion Europe invites the team of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID) to present what the centre is about and how it helps people with intellectual disabilities to find meaningful employment.

The Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID) is situated within the School of Education in Trinity College Dublin. They provide a post-secondary University programme for students with intellectual disabilities.

The core mission of the TCPID is to address the significant educational and societal barriers experienced by people with intellectual disabilities by providing an innovative high-quality higher education programme, enabling the transition to meaningful employment and/or further education after graduation.

Real and meaningful employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities are transforming lives – the life of the person themselves, the lives of their families, the lives of the mentors and teams within the businesses and the lives of the wider community.

Having people of all abilities in the workplace helps to create a greater reflection of the world around us and helps to encourage greater inclusion in all aspects of society.

Marie Devitt (TCPID Employment Pathways Coordinator) and Hugo MacNeill (TCPID Ambassador) will give an overview of their innovative TCPID programme and their partnerships with businesses. Sadbh Feehan (TCPID Graduate Intern) will present about her own experiences, as a students in Trinity College Dublin and more recently as a graduate intern.

HEA Consultations

Following on from the in-person consultations with students and graduates with intellectual disabilities the Higher Education Authority (HEA) are holding online consultations on access to college for people with intellectual disabilities. Attached is information for circulation. The HEA would like to talk to people with intellectual disabilities who have NOT gone to college and parents and supporters of people with intellectual disabilities.

They have scheduled the following consultations. Please follow the link to register for the event.

People with intellectual disabilities who have not attended university/college
Date: 12th May at 10am (An additional session may be held at 11am)

Parents or supporters of students/graduates with intellectual disabilities
Date: May 9th at 5pm

Parents or supporters of people with intellectual disabilities who have not attended university/college
Date: May 10th at 5pm

Further information is available here

UDL International Symposium

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for addressing the educational needs of diverse and variable learners in many settings across many stages of life. The UDL Guidelines can be used by educators, curriculum developers, researchers, parents, and anyone else who wants to implement the UDL framework in a learning environment. 

The purpose of this inaugural UDL International Conference is create an opportunity for those at all stages of their UDL journey to come together and share their learning.  We invite those using UDL in their practice, researchers, and experts across a variety of educational and inclusion settings to facilitate workshops where we can further develop our knowledge, understanding and practice of UDL.

This year’s symposium will be an in-person event, hosted by  Maynooth University on Thursday June 8 and Friday June 9 2023. 

UDL Conference 2023

Universal Design for Learning National Conference
Hosted by ATU in collaboration with MTU

DATE: Thursday, 1st June 2023
LOCATION: Hume Hall, ATU Sligo

Climbing the UDL Ladder: Building a Culture of Inclusion in Higher Education: “Overcoming Obstacles to Enhance and Sustain UDL Collaboration in Further and Higher Education”

This year, Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and Munster Technological University (MTU) have united to deliver a National UDL Conference.

The conference not only explores a whole Institute approach to UDL but draws on learning and reflection from the HEA Path 4 Phase 1 Project in which both Universities partnered on a work package considering leadership approaches to supporting UD.

With increased evidence available on the effectiveness of UDL creating a more inclusive environment across classrooms in Further & Higher Education, this year we explore UDL from three key perspectives: Leaders, academics, and student services.

Conference Details

Conference Themes:

I. UDL in Leadership: Opportunities and challenges in supporting sustainable inclusive learning in further and higher education.

Presenters will guide conference participants through an examination of development processes (be it evidenced or aspirational) recognising the importance of supports for programme teams when designing programmes of study that considers the variability of the student body. By promoting the empowerment of staff and learners, educational leaders can build cohesive and resilient learning environments that support sustainable inclusion.

II. Furthering UDL in the classroom: An academic perspective on overcoming obstacles.

Presentations will address alternative pathways to success which remove potential barriers making learning goals attainable. This discourse will consider a positive learning environment with flexibility built from the onset be it based in evidence or recommended, ensuring that flexibility, accessibility and learner voice and choice are built into all approaches to teaching and learning.

III. Empowering the inclusive student experience: Student Services approaches.

Presentations will showcase the promotion of removing barriers to education by student support services who are key players in this process. These presentations address a whole systems educational design as a driver in relation to student wellbeing. Innovative approaches to student support are most welcomed.

INHEF Launch

Steering Group INHEF

(Back row: left to right) Dr Deirdre Corby [DCU], Dr Carmel Toff Andersen [DCU], Ms Martina Neylon [LIT], Dr Máire Leane [UCC], Ms Edel Lynn [AIT], Dr Orla Slattery [MIC], Dr Sinéad Foran [WIT], Ms Gina Grant [Donegal ETB Board Member]

(Front row: left to right) Trinity College Provost Patrick Prendergast, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Mr Stephen Lyons [Graduate TU Dublin], Mr Des Aston [TCD], Dr Anne O’Byrne [MIC], Prof. Michael Shevlin [TCD]

Mr Ciaran Bulman, Mr Stephen Lyons, Ms Elizebeth Lyons.

(Left to right) Mr Ciaran Bulman, Mr Stephen Lyons, Ms Elizabeth Lyons.

The Inclusive National Higher Education Forum [INHEF] was launched in Trinity College Dublin on Thursday, 10th October 2019. INHEF is Ireland’s first national forum dedicated to fostering a culture of inclusion amongst inclusive higher education providers by the development of post-secondary opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.

A report, titled ‘Higher Education Opportunities for Students with Intellectual Disabilities in the Republic of Ireland – A National Response’, was co-launched by the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, alongside graduating digital media student from TU Dublin, Tallaght, Mr Stephen Lyons.

The INHEF notes that people with intellectual disabilities have been largely absent from higher education in Ireland, despite increasing numbers now attending mainstream secondary schools, which they argue has led to higher levels of underemployment and unemployment among this group.

In 2014 there were 16 such courses, running in 16 colleges throughout the country. However, by 2019 that number had fallen to just 10 inclusive education initiatives, catering for 106 students in total.

The report highlights a lack of funding for resources that support people with intellectual disabilities in accessing higher education. Transition pathways to post-secondary provision for these students are often ad-hoc and making the progression to post-school educational provision relies heavily on the capacity of families.

The report calls for a national response to support people with intellectual disabilities transitioning from secondary education into further and higher education or employment.

At the launch Minister Mitchell O’Connor stated: “The ten higher education institutions offering special options for people with intellectual disabilities are enriching the lives and prospects of students and their families. I look forward to future engagement with the Inclusive National Higher Education Forum on the report and its findings. I am very pleased that there has already been constructive discussions with officials from my Department and SOLAS.”

“For far too long, people with intellectual disabilities have been excluded from the same opportunities as their peers. We now have evidence they want to avail of the educational and employment opportunities that will enable them to lead independent lives” said Mr Des Aston, Chair of the Inclusive National Higher Education Forum and National and Schools Coordinator at Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities. He added, “Already, across Ireland, we have exemplars of how higher education can engage in enabling people with intellectual disabilities to achieve their lifelong goals.”

Mr Stephen Lyons who has recently achieved a level 8 minor award in digital media from TU Dublin, Tallaght spoke about his experience of going to college “I couldn’t get a job, all doors were closed, until I got through the door of college”. Mr Lyons spoke passionately encouraging other students with intellectual disabilities to advocate for the same opportunities as their peers. “You’re on your own journey but you have to go a bit of a distance, everybody is equal!”.

The vision of INHEF is to embed inclusive education initiatives and alternative access routes into the higher education landscape in the Republic of Ireland so that students with intellectual disabilities have meaningful post-secondary educational opportunities available to them. The INHEF are calling for partners in Government, higher and further education, and the employers’ community to help to achieve their goals.

INHEF have launched a new website which includes essential information on all 10 inclusive education initiatives that are accessible for students with intellectual disabilities across Ireland.

Contact details for INHEF are in the Contact Page of this website.

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