Higher & Further Education News & Views

Surprise at decision to invest €40m in St Patrick’s teacher training college

Europe’s top ten MBA schools favoured by employers

In My Opinion: First-year students entering third level have been taught to learn — not to reason

Trinity encourages kids from all social groups to aim high


Disability Headlines

‘The HSE is denying me a proper way of life’

Hopes are high after ‘bionic ear’ op

Scientists developing device to restore sight

BAI new rules on subtitling criticised

Disability benefits to be slashed (UK)


General Education Stories

Cyber-bullying concerns Quinn

School which expelled pupils over abusive Facebook posts won’t comment

Time to end silent suffering of gay students

End meritocracy myth and drop subsidies to fee-paying schools

Protestant schools ‘weary’ following cuts, synod is told

Forum to hear ideas on better ways to tackle school bullying

50% of parents have complained to school about bullying

Bullying ‘costs over €100m every year’

How to survive exam fever — a guide for anxious parents

Quarter of pupils have experienced web abuse

School faced dilemma over pupil expulsions

Parents’ council head resigns over Facebook expulsions row

Teachers know social media can be both friend and foe


Mental Health in the Media

Mental health survey – Listen to Irish youth

Lynch affirms commitment to mental health strategy

Senator hopes to inform efforts to combat suicide

One in five youths engage inself-harm


Employment Features

The Benefits of Disability in the Workplace

Rehab expansion to create 400 jobs

Higher & Further Education News & Views

Smaller third-level colleges face end of public funding

Colleges face performance-related funding cuts

Institutes face high standards process

Education targets – Academic autonomy is essential

Is new General Secretary ready for fire fighting?

Art college appoints head of design

Colleges given six months to spell out their strategic plans

Colleges in race to gain university status

University criteria dismissed by college president

‘Shag’ week survey reveals that seven out of ten students have unprotected sex

Probe finds poor practices in VECs across country

Anatomy of a medical class: minister opens TCD’s €131m institute

Dublin college chief defends policy on Bahrain

Students could afford €10k fees, says UL study

In My Opinion: New kind of technology university will address the needs of society

Reach for the stars with UCD’s elite performance programme

Warning of ‘mediocrity’ if higher education not funded

Higher education funding crisis will ‘damage’ students

VEC has brief discussion on audit


Disability Headlines

Parents of young disabled shocked at cuts in services

Parents of children with autism in major fundraiser to expand facilities

Lauren’s video role raises awareness of rare diseases

Valentine, not just the patron saint of romance, but also of epilepsy

Epilepsy still has strong social stigma for sufferers

Work scheme targeted at people with disabilities

Reilly calls autism claims outrageous

Working disabled allowed to draw welfare

Reilly: Humphreys’ autism comments ‘outrageous’

Judo Assist Ireland

Deaf girl held as slave tells court of years of beatings and rape

Man up, Tony

Northern Ministers hear each other’s pain


General Education Stories

Parents campaign over cuts to career guidance

Teacher allowances cut ‘would be end of Croke Park reform’

The formula is simple: real change

Kicking exam pressure to touch

Lessons to be learned from case in Clonmel

Nine jailed for failing to send children to school

Irish girls in top 20% of fitness level study

Speed limit outside six schools cut to 30kph

Watch out Ruairi! Cuts to small schools spell big trouble

No method in madness behind school guidance cuts

Parents in Kildare furious as children of gaelscoileanna ignored

Salaries linked to success in education

School principal challenges removal


Mental Health in the Media

After years of self-harm, my life has changed so much

Conquering your personal Everest

Acting fast against teenage depression


Employment Features

500 college places for jobseekers

Initiatives aim to deliver 100,000 jobs by 2016

Mastercard to create 130 Irish jobs

Recruiters to get paid for placing workers

New IT jobs after US deal welcomed

Staff Picks:

New Department of Education head

Professor Quinn – Appointee to the Council of State

Employ People with Disabilities


Higher & Further Education News & Views

I haven’t a clue if lecturers are doing their jobs, says minister

Conditions agreed for universities of technology

UCD students union holds emergency meeting

NUI Galway Festival opens

Studying in the US – What you need to know

A strong case for a new university

Demand for college places up as more mature students join race

VEC funded sail programme while boat rotted

Value for money concern

Students go that extra mile to claim a free car

Technological universities

School blamed for demise of €161k IT contract

Committee considered it unnecessary to submit contract for legal checks

VEC signed away valuable property rights in venture

Trinity team helping develop fold-up TV

VEC accountability – Answerable to taxpayers

VEC forced to answer tough questions

VEC relocation plan to increase rent from €13.30 to €118,000

VEC criticised after €890k of IT budget paid to ex-employee

Former Student Leader At CIT Slams Quinn ‘U-Turn’


Disability Headlines

‘People used to call me the wibbly wobbly wonder’

Utter disappointment following Rehab decision

Autism controversy – The right to an opinion

Parents ‘never to blame’ for autism

Sit-in workers to help Calum

Comments ‘likely to cause upset’


General Education Stories

High-speed broadband for all secondary schools ‘by 2014’

Safety campaign aims to ‘wipe out’ online bullying

Special education – Cuts having deep impact

Certain schools are better squeezed than others

Students prepare to ditch books in favour of iPads

Back to prefabs and leaky roofs?

The project maths course divides teachers — but does it add up?

In My Opinion: Teaching languages at primary level will be a key to our economic future

Mock exam results can be a wake-up call for students

EU: Education cuts undermine potential

Disadvantaged school spend urged


Mental Health in the Media

Three people now die from suicide every day of the year

Widespread patient satisfaction with mental health services

Coroners reporting suicides

Warning over loss of 400 psychiatric nurses

10% of psych nurses to retire, survey suggests

‘Voluntary’ psychiatric patients need protection

Mental capacity Bill to be issued shortly

Warning of suicide increase over cuts


Employment Features

‘Colleagues retreated. A mix of embarrassment and fear of contagion. It hurt’

Four firms to create 550 jobs nationwide

Ireland ‘represents exceptional and unique opportunity for investment’

EU fund unspent due to ‘inexperience’

AHEAD in the News:

Job seeking skills for graduates with disabilities


Staff Picks:

Students’ project wins science award

Is this Ireland’s best school?

Tackling disability discrimination takes more than wheelchair ramps

TCD AS Support Service


Higher & Further Education News & Views

‘The potential is obvious’

Election promises must be kept

How does CAO system work with a FETAC qualification?

Shrouded in mystery

Resignation offers hope that mummy may stay in Cork

Higher education for all is under threat

Teacher’s Pet

Students brand government ‘liars’ over tuition fee promises

Election promises must be kept

Honorary degrees awarded at TCD

Egypt says mummy can stay at UCC — if it’s too fragile for travel


Disability Headlines

Thank You Timothy Geithner

 Two Steves Who Changed My Life

What’s life like after meningitis?

MS research project at UCD yields some surprising results

Disability charity Scope launches a new bond to raise £20m


General Education Stories

Stand up straight, girls, and drink your soup correctly

Private companies to complain over State school bus scheme

VECs set to speed up school building projects

Exam focus to be reduced in Junior Cert overhaul

Quinn supports proposal to abolish Junior Certificate

Teachers retiring mid-year can be re-employed until holidays – Quinn

Teachers take lessons in wind turbines

Information Service launched for People with Hearing and Speech Difficulties


Mental Health in the Media

Reach out to others before it’s too late

‘Dirt cheap’ alcohol linked to suicides in youth, says Shortall

Doctor says alcohol implicated in 45 per cent of all suicides


Exam accommodations such as additional time and alternative formats are the most common reasonable accommodations used by students with disabilities within school or college. There has been little or no consideration given to environmental accommodations for these students and how it impacts their academic performance within an examination context.

The purpose of this article is to introduce the concept of environmental accommodations for 3rd level examinations. This is based upon an identified need within a cohort of students with sensory defensiveness (SD) (also known as sensory over-responsiveness), which is experienced by some students with ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), and Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder (DCD) as well as some mental health difficulties. Students with SD can become over-loaded by sensory stimuli (e.g. sound, light, touch, smells, and movement) and can have great difficulty in completing their everyday academic and non-academic tasks in college.  Environments such as lecture halls, restaurants, libraries and examination venues can be overwhelming, leading students to avoid them.

A survey of students registered with Disability Service availing of exam accommodations in February 2011 found that although the majority of students were satisfied with the venues a considerable number reported that they were experiencing great difficulty with the environment in these venues (Fig. 1).

Figure 1

An audit of the exam venues used for students receiving exam accommodations was then conducted by two Occupational Therapists (OT) working within Unilink Service, Trinity College (which is part of the DS Service).  Based upon this audit the therapists recommended to the examinations office that they use low-distraction venues (Figure 2) on a pilot basis and they would give advice on how to develop them.

Figure 2

Students who were deemed appropriate for using these low distraction venues were assessed by the Occupational Therapists within the Unilink Service using the Adolescent / Adult Sensory Profile (Brown & Dunn, 2002).

An investigation was then carried out by the DS staff on the low distraction venues in order to ascertain if they were effective during the examination period.  Invigilators were asked to complete questionnaires and students were asked for feedback by email following the examination period.

The results showed that all stakeholders found the setup of the low-distraction venues to be a positive experience and an improvement on the traditional group venues.  However, some students still experience sensitivity to auditory and visual distractions. The locations of the venues remain to be reviewed and the setup refined.  The pilot shows promising results and the venues will be used over the coming academic year and their effectiveness further assessed.


Brown, C. & Dunn, W. (2002) Adult/Adolescent Sensory Profile: User’s Manual. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.

For the full article please download this file: TCD Exam Venue Full Article

Authors: Kieran Lewis, Occupational Therapist, Unilink Service. Dr Clodagh Nolan, Unilink Service Director. Declan Treanor, Disability Service Director, T.C.D.


Email: klewis[at]tcd.ie


For more information on Unilink:  http://www.tcd.ie/disability/T-Services/Unilink/index.php

Launch of the ‘Our Say, Our Rights’ Project Wednesday 14th September 2011


Time: 11.00-14.00

Place: Trinity College Dublin School of Nursing and Midwifery, 24 D’Olier Street (The Gas Building), Dublin 2.

Contact: Fintan Sheerin- sheerinf@tcd.ie

On Wednesday 14th September 2011, more than 100 people with intellectual disabilities and their advocates will come together in Trinity College Dublin for the launch of the artwork for the ‘Our Say, Our Rights’ tapestry on human rights and intellectual disability. This project, which has been organized by IDRights: Human Rights and People with Intellectual Disabilities (www.idrights.ie) – chaired by Dr. Fintan Sheerin of TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery – brings together the work of more than 130 people with intellectual disabilities. These individuals have submitted squares which represent what they consider to be the important rights-related dimensions in their lives. This, therefore, affords us an opportunity to find out what these Irish people value and want in their lives in 2011.

The event builds on the work that was done in the ‘Right. Let’s Stand Up for Ourselves’ events, that were held in Dublin in 2009 and 2010, and in Limerick in 2010.

Whereas there have been significant developments in relation to disability rights over the past years, these have often had little or no direct impacted on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Thus, many of the individuals with an Intellectual Disability  still experience discrimination, inequality and marginalisation at least some time during their lives, whether in relation to specific issues such as education, health, access to public services and employment or to more general issues such as non-inclusion in society.  In response to such realities, advocacy movements and rights commissions have emerged locally, and have striven to address individuals’ and groups’ rights, but there has been no cohesive national forum for such endeavours.

One of the organisers of this event, Dr. Fintan Sheerin of TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery, highlights the importance of this event as one that “gives voice to a group of Irish people who are often not heard or, indeed, listened to. In doing so, it celebrates their resilience in the face of adversity and in expressing what they consider important in their lives, demonstrates that they desire the same things as do other members of Irish society – above all, equality, respect and meaning.”


The event will be at the Trinity College Dublin School of Nursing and Midwifery, 24 D’Olier Street (The Gas Building), Dublin 2 (11.00-14.00). Funding from Persons with Disabilities in Ireland is gratefully acknowledged. Other sponsors include Starbucks Coffee.

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