Staff Picks:

Your child has dyslexia? She could grow up to be a star. . .

Exploding the Lecture

Is this place accessible?

Educating Irish people to live and work success


Higher & Further Education News & Views

National Moot Court winners

Retail ‘legend’ honoured at DIT ceremony

Quinn refuses to rule out blanket cull of postgraduate grants

Student registration fees to rise for four years in row

Future of VECs and SOLAS explained at Oireachtas Committee meeting

Middle-class schools tighten their grip on college places

MY EDUCATION WEEK: Gary Redmond President, USI

UL medical school chief to earn €240,000 per annum

Huge salary ‘out of our hands’ says UL

Cuts ‘will perpetuate two-tier school system’

Irish shy away from EU study scheme

What courses does the ‘Free Fees Scheme’ actually cover?

Report: Academic standards slipping

Students to stage ‘funeral’ protest

Flagship DIT site to proceed if planning granted

Students pay respects to education

Senior figures in education echo Hunt’s view that there is no case for more universities – technological or otherwise

Private backers for DIT campus


Disability Headlines

‘I know where I’m going, who I am – that makes me strong’

Opening doors to the disabled

When Popular Novels Perpetuate Negative Stereotypes: Mark Haddon, Asperger’s and Irresponsible Fiction

Guardian wins people’s choice award for excellence in disability journalism

Insulin pump access limited

Fertility clinics may offer embryo genetic screening

Rise in autism ‘may be linked to clever parents’ say scientists

Hearing tests for newborns at Waterford Regional Hospital

Stroke survivors honoured for courage

Special Olympics Ulster awarded almost £2.3m of government funding

Boy’s education ‘impeded by layers of bureaucracy’

Department of Justice withdraws 2012 funding for People with Disabilities Ireland (PwDI)

Is the changing role of women in our society behind the rise in autism in the past 30 years?

Cut closes disability organisation

Boy denied HSE care costing just €300 a week


General Education Stories

School principals call for overhaul of board structures

Galway literacy plan linked to ocean race

Court to hear case for tendering out school bus scheme

Will our fee-paying parents be squeezed until the pips squeak?

‘I was lectured on my sexuality’

Study guides – who’s best?

Education: It’s a question of faith

Failure to grasp nettle on maths a national shame

No fees, full marks: secrets of school success revealed

Protestant school pupils lose bus appeal

How the Inter Cert’s domestic goddess is making a comeback

In My Opinion: Ministers, do your homework and extend free pre-school scheme


Mental Health in the Media

‘Cuts will fuel long-term social issues’

Rise in number of people seeking suicide counselling


Employment Features

Teaching union orders members to refuse intern scheme job offers

€200k start-up scheme at core of jobs plan for South-east

Experts call for privacy on personal genetic testing

Over 100 jobs set to be created in technology sector

Statutory sick pay could form part of social welfare system reform, says Burton


As a student with disability I can honestly say that progressing to third level education was the best thing I have ever done. My name is Gerard Gallagher and I have just earned a Social Science degree from University College Dublin.

I have a physical and learning disability; this has meant that I have had a different and somewhat challenging journey through the Irish education system. In order for you to get the full picture I will start my story from the beginning.

I have cerebral palsy. This has resulted in limited mobility, and as a result I now use a mobility scooter on a full time basis. I also have dyslexia this has meant that as well as physical barriers I have had to learn and study different ways throughout my time in education.

I grew up in Donegal Town where I attended one of the local primary schools. I was lucky to begin with my twin brother who was in the same class as me. As well as being an aid in those tough first couple of weeks he later served to be competition for me. We both adhered to the mantra “anything he can do I can do better.” As well as school being a new and daunting experience for me it should also be noted that the teachers were in a similar situation, as for the first time they had a student with a disability in the classroom.

In 1995 educational supports for students with disabilities were at the very early stages of development. For the first few years my parents fought tooth and nail to ensure I had the supports I needed to put me on a par with my peers. By third class I had shared access to a part time Special Needs Assistant and regular learning support classes. I would argue that these early supports played a very significant role in me achieving my potential in later years.

As well as the challenges in terms of educational support, I also faced the even greater challenge of dealing with other students’ reaction to my disability. I remember on one occasion somebody from the class laughing at me and asking “are you handicapped?”After this incident I was upset and went home to tell my mother what had happened. She simply said “You are different because you have cerebral palsy…that is nothing to be upset about.” From that day forward I have taken the positives from that incident and have referred back to it on a number of occasions when I have had to fight for extra support in second and third level.

Second level posed a set of exciting new challenges.  For the first time I was moving from class to class as such the supports I needed to allow me to fully participate in everything that second level had to offer also needed to be reassessed. Up to this point I was using walking sticks to get around the place. After two days struggling with my bag of books and new laptop it soon dawned on me that it would not be possible to carry on like this! I then switched to using a wheelchair. Once again it became apparent that I must be practical when knowing what I could and couldn’t do.

The staff of my secondary school were accommodating although for the first few weeks there was by now familiar look of uncertainty when I entered the class room in my wheelchair with my SNA. Certain teachers were unsure how to act as for the first time with my SNA in the room they had to share their classroom with another adult. Shortly however this unease soon changed and everything was just accepted as normal. My second level education proved to be the grounding I needed for third level as it was a second level where I began using a scribe and also assistive technology.

When it came to third level I had learned that preparation is the key. It is for this reason that I took my time to first choose the course which I wanted to study. After I had decided on my chosen course and college I decided to get in touch with the Disability Support Service in UCD to arrange a meeting prior to filling out my CAO form. This was a fantastic decision as I got loads of information on the supports available in UCD and also the DARE scheme (Disability Access Route Higher Education).  This meant that I was able to focus on my Leaving Certificate safe in the knowledge that I would get the supports I needed once I got to third level.

After I got my exam results I was offered my place in UCD. As I ticked the box acknowledging my disability on the CAO form, the DSS in UCD were aware that I needed supports. As such I organized an appointment with them so that a needs assessment could be carried out by them. This was self directed so I had the opportunity to decide what support I availed of.

I began with a full time Personal Assistant and Notetaker. I also had a laptop provided which had assistive technology installed on it which was chosen for my specific needs. Over the following three years I customized these supports to better suit my needs and reduce the number of PA hours which I had. I availed of extra tuition and the extended loan service in our library.

There is also much more to college life than the academic said of things! It was with this in mind that I decided to live on campus for my first two years of college life. This was great for my independence; it also gave me the freedom I needed to grow up. During this time I became Auditor of the Inclusion Participation Awareness Society in UCD and I later became involved in the national student movement.

I am now about to embark on a new and exciting journey as I begin my year as a Equality Officer with the Union of Students in Ireland. I am certainly looking forward to the challenges ahead and I am honored to be position where I will represent students with disabilities.

To those of you thinking of beginning third level education, simply, go for it! It really is a life changing experience. Secondly always remember that we will all face tough days from time to time but remember that help is at hand when you ask for it.

Pick of the week: My brain had swollen up and crushed itself

Report of the week: Learning to Reach Out


Further & Higher Education News

Putting faith in a broader vision of religion

Disability law scholarship

Students Take Part in Deaf Support Summer School

Students launch High Court challenge against ‘savage’ cuts to grants

A driving ambition to win

Louth VEC get extra up-skilling places


Disability Headlines

Dyslexie is a typeface for dyslectics

Lady Gaga upsets disability campaigners

Stem cell find a boost to fighting incurable illness

Worried you’ll get Alzheimer’s? Then follow these seven steps

Are you in danger of becoming diabetic without knowing it?

Implant could ease arthritis suffering


General Education Articles

Back to school bill hits €400 per child

Public want schools to develop rounded students

Rabbitte criticises lack of action on broadband


Mental Health in the Media

Mental health: The overbearing weight of money woes

Central Mental Hospital case reviews rise by 22% last year

Young go online for mental health help

Online mental health service gets 3,000 hits a week


Disability in the Workplace

Diversity: interview with Fiona Cannon, director of diversity and inclusion at Lloyds Banking Group



Dyslexie is a typeface for dyslectics.
The University of Twente did research on the typeface. Hereby a part of their conclusion:
“The dyslectics made fewer errors, than the normal readers, on the EMT with the font “Dyslexie”. This is an indication that reading with the font “Dyslexie” decreases the amount of reading errors.”

for more information


Many thanks to Kanchi for linking this on Facebook!