March 2011

So I missed out last week as I was off so back with a double whammy of links and news stories today! A lot of articles related to third level education in general and some decisions taken by the new Minister, Ruari Quinn.

Would highly recommend the profile on Carol Greider – really a true inspiration! Rich Donovan (a fresh approach to disability employment) also makes a lot of interesting comments about how to handle disability in the workplace in the first of a two part blog post on the BBC Ouch blog.


WAM Work Placement Opportunities NOW AVAILABLE!

Couple forced to give up children criticise system

‘See Change’ may not be ‘best use of money’

Reducing Stigma in Mental Health: Letter to the Editor

Farmer with disabled son loses home

Four jailed for torturing woman with learning difficulties

Have a say on how the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is implemented in Northern Ireland

Seanad debate on forced electric shock treatment

DFI supports Seamus Boland

Calls to increase suicide budget

Kerry community groups unite to reach out to isolated elderly

Drug delivery system offers fresh hope to Alzheimer’s patients

Charity criticises organ donor move

Letter to the Editor: Organ Donations

Soap storyline angers spinal injury group

Parents fundraise for spinal cord injury research

Irish Examiner shortlisted for health award

So Little and So Huge

Down syndrome model agency launched

Down Syndrome models ready for work

Agency opens for models with Down Syndrome


Giving a voice to inequality

Cerebral Palsy need not be a barrier

A fresh approach to disability employment

Hearing loss affects people’s social lives, survey finds

The Sky Is the Limit for People with Disabilities

Carol Greider, Nobel Laureate, Daniel Nathans Professor & Director of Molecular Biology and Genetics, John Hopkins University

Patients ‘should have right’ to refuse ECT

Warning over effects of mild stress

Government has ‘golden opportunity’ for reform

New Housing Support Service for People with Disabilities launched

New cell tissue hope for eye problems

How Quinn can make a difference

Quinn reverses decision to abolish the NUI

Colleges ‘obsessed’ with rank

Coalition to amend restrictions on third-level recruitment

These daft Soviet-style controls on universities must be abolished

Quinn backs down in college row

Education’s whistleblower

Trinity’s big decision

Human rights group calls for end to slopping out

It is shortsighted for school-leavers – and their parents – to shun Arts degrees

Campaign to boost foreign student levels

Child not read to at bedtime is ‘abused’, says Quinn

No university status for WIT, says Quinn



So the title may seem a tad dramatic – which it is to draw your attention, but it is also true!


Check out this 6 minute TED talk to see the revolutions that are going on in the world of bionics. Many of you will recognise this new idea from a recent episode of Glee as well!


So another year, another annual conference done and dusted! ‘The real risk is doing nothing – supporting nursing and midwfiery students in clinical practice’ was an absolutely resounding success! We had presenters from the USA, the UK and Ireland and delegates from not only from colleges but also a high proporton from the HSE.

Here is a snippet fo a video created specifically for the conference by our keynote speaker, Susan Fleming:

All of the presentations as well as some videos  of the talks are available here on our AHEAD website

If you are interested in reading through the clinical guidelines which were launched at the conference, you can do so here:  Supporting Nursing & Midwifery Students in Clinical Practice: A Resource Guide for Clinical and Academic Staff

We are currently in the midst of putting together a conferenc publication and that will be available online by April.

Applications are currently being sought for a new work placement opportunity for graduates with disabilities/specific learning difficulties in a Receptionist Role with Arthur Cox.

For more information on the placement available please click here

Applicants must have a minimum of a Leaving Certificate or its equivalent on the National Framework of Qualifications (FETAC Level 6)

Candidates interested in making an application will need to complete a WAM Application form and return it along with an up-to-date CV to AHEAD.DEADLINE DATE for receipt of applications is 5pm on Wednesday 30thMarch 2011.

For an Application form click here

For Job description click here

For further information on the placement you can contact the WAM programme directly by emailing or Tel. 01-2789325.

To request this information in an alternative format please contact WAM directly.



Here’s your weekly update of news and views from the world of disability


Time running out to tackle neurological crisis, says charity

Brain scans used to spot Alzheimer’s

Plans for ‘opt-out’ donor system

Easy does it as hanger wins gadgets award

Dublin’s edgy new School of Rock

Time for brain illness to lose its disaster label

Mindmap to success

Disability access survey

Students with disabilities to be surveyed

On International Women’s Day we need to address inequalities in education

USI Launches Survey on Students with Disabilities

Special Olympics Ireland launches Intellectual Disability education module for volunteers

School helps challenge perception of disability

Leaders reminded about disability promises

Disturbed man can be sent to hospital

Victims of rare diseases need a voice in province, say family campaigners


Top prosecutor signals crack down on disability hate crime

Inclusive Research Network launches Report of their National Study

Mental health project under threat over funding loss

Increase in kidney transplants as organ donations rise



Here are the explicit points related to disability and education (mainly third level) in the programme for government. Other areas of interest to you may be the employment schemes (no specific mention of disability), changes in minimum wage, no change in social welfare rates and the area of political reform. To read the full programme for government you can follow this link:

Mental Health

  • Our policy on mental health incorporates the recommendations of A Vision for Change. We are committed to reducing the stigma of mental illness, ensuring early and appropriate intervention and vastly improving access to modern mental health services in the community.
  • A comprehensive range of mental health services will be included as part of the standard insurance package offered under Universal Health Insurance.
  • Given the central role of primary care in our reforms, we will ensure that patients can access mental health services such as psychologists and counsellors in the primary care setting. We will also strengthen GP education and training in mental health so that they can better diagnose, treat and refer as necessary.
  • We will ring fence €35m annually from within the health budget to develop community mental health teams and services as outlined in A Vision for Change to ensure early access to more appropriate services for adults and children and improved integration with primary care services.
  • Part of the ring-fenced funding will be used to implement Reach Out, the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, to reduce the high levels of suicide.
  • We will close unsuitable psychiatric institutions moving patients to more appropriate community-based facilities and will develop specific strategies for elderly patients and those with intellectual disabilities who remain under the care of mental health services.
  • To ensure a joined-up approach to mental health in the community we will establish a cross-departmental group to ensure that good mental health is a policy goal across a range of people’s life experiences including education, employment and housing for example.
  • We will endeavour to end the practice of placing children and adolescents in adult psychiatric wards.
  • We will review the Mental Health Act 2001 in consultation with service users, carers and other stakeholders, informed by human rights standards, and introduce a Mental Capacity Bill that is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Other Health Priorities

  • We will develop a National Carers Strategy to support carers and to address issues of concern.
  • We will reopen discussions with the Irish Thalidomide Association regarding further compensation for victims of Thalidomide.


  • Student Grants (Higher Education Maintenance grants), currently administered by local city and county councils will now be administered by the new ‘National Employment and Entitlement Services’ under the Department of Social Protection;
  • International Education features with a number of new promises – most significantly for students will be that postgraduates will be allowed stay for one year now after graduation (compared to current 6 months) and high value research students staying for over 2 years will be allowed bring their families to Ireland;
  • Undertake a full review of Hunt and OECD reports on third level funding before the end of 2011. The goal being to create a sustainable funding mechanism that does not impact access for students.
  • We will publish a plan for the implementation of the EPSEN Act 2004 to prioritise access for children with special needs to an individual education plan. The priority will be to move to a system where necessary supports follow a child from primary to second level and to achieve greater integration of special needs-related services.
  • We will support diversity in education of children with special needs, recognising that both intensive education and mainstreaming can be seen to work for individual children.
  • We recognise the critical importance of early diagnosis of autism and early intervention and address current deficits in this area. We will reverse the cut to the number of psychologists in National Educational Psychological Service in Budget 2011.


Equality is at the heart of what it means to be a citizen in our democracy. This

Government believes that everyone has the right to be free from discrimination and that we all benefit from living in a more equal society.

People with Disabilities

  • We will ensure that the quality of life of people with disabilities is enhanced and that resources allocated reach the people who need them. To achieve this, we will reform the delivery of public services to bring about back office savings that will protect front line services.
  • We will also facilitate people with disabilities in achieving a greater level of participation in employment, training and education.
  • We will publish, following wide consultation, a realistic implementation plan for the National Disability Strategy, including sectoral plans with achievable timescales and targets within available resources. We will ensure whole-of-government involvement and monitoring of the Strategy, in partnership with the disability sector.
  • We will seek to get best value for money for investment in services and to ensure that services meet the needs of users. A Comprehensive Spending Review will examine all provision for people with disabilities with a view to determining how users can get the best services. We will also ensure that money spent on disability services under the National Disability Strategy is clearly laid out and audited.
  • As part of this Review we will move a proportion of public spending to a personal budget model so that people with disabilities or their families have the flexibility to make choices that suit their needs best. Personal budgets also introduce greater transparency and efficiency in funding services.
  • We will put the National Standards for Residential Services for People with Disabilities on a statutory footing and ensure that services are inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority.
  • We will examine different mechanisms to promote the recognition of Irish Sign


  • We will reform the law on mental capacity to ensure the greatest degree of autonomy for people with intellectual disabilities or suffering with mental illnesses in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • In planning legislation, we will promote and support universal design whereby all environments can be used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of age, ability or disability.

Hi Everyone,


Posting a day early as I’m off to man the AHEAD stand at the IGC Conference this afternoon which is taking place in Limerick. only a small number of articles this week, but all very much worth reading!


Happy reading,



Dealing with disability

Why not reverse unkindest cut of all?

Then one day he realises his daughter is deaf

Western men becoming depressed as traditional manufacturing jobs go abroad

Innovative students give it socks

DIT Disability Awareness Week

Music to their ears as DIT students sign up

6 Surprising Bad Practices That Hurt Dyslexic Users

Psychological society offers 40 tips for top mental health

The Invisible Hate Crime


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