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The MSc in Disability Studies at TCD is pleased to announce the next Public Lecture 'Disability Equality in Eurpoe?: Policy challenges by Prof. Mark Priestley

03rd Sept 2014

The MSc in Disability Studies at TCD is pleased to announce
the next Public Lecture:
Disability Equality in Europe?: Policy challenges
by Prof. Mark Priestley
25th September, 4.30 pm
3 College Green, 4th Floor

Eithne Fitzgerald, Head of Policy & Research,
National Disability Authority
John Dolan, CEO, Disability Federation of Ireland
Prof. Virpi Timonen, School of Social Work and Social Policy, TCD

Associate Prof. Eoin O’Sullivan, Head, School of Social Work and Social Policy, TCD
To book a place, please RSVP to Fiona Clarke at
Please indicate any access accommodations you require when you RSVP.
(please contact  if you wish to be removed from this list)
Prof. Mark Priestley is Prof. of Disability Policy at the University of Leeds, UK. He is currently Head of School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. He is also Scientific Director of the European Commission’s Academic Network of European Disability experts (ANED) and administrator of the international online  discussion forum disability-research. From 2004 to 2007 he was Pro-dean for Research in the Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law.


Dr John Kubiak delivers a paper at the Twenty-first International Conference on Learning, Lander College for Women, New York City, United States.

24th July 2014

Dr John Kubiak recently delivered a paper at the Twenty-first International Conference on Learning, Lander College for Women in New York. The four-day conference ran from 14th to the 17th July and hosted a wide range of papers from over fifty countries. Ten themes were covered that included: Pedagogy and the Curriculum; Learning in Higher Education; Early Childhood Learning, and Learner Diversity and Identities.  John’s paper entitled “Using Voice to Understand what College Students with Intellectual Disabilities say about Learning” outlined how the voices of students on the Certificate in Contemporary Living were used to gain a deeper understanding of the teaching and learning process. The paper’s PowerPoint can be viewed here

Launch of book “Pen & Palette” by graduates of the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL)

04th July 2014

Above left: Mc Loughlin Family

Above right: Joan Mc Loughlin with Dr John Kubiak

Above left: CCL Graduate Students Emma Mc Philips & Aine Lawlor

Above right: CCL Graduate Student Gina Wilkin

 “Pen & Palette: A selection of poetry and paintings by students of the National Institute for Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin” was formally launched in the Old Library on the 26th June by the Vice-Provost of Trinity College, Professor Linda Hogan.
Speaking at the launch, the Vice-Provost paid tribute to the poets and painters who contributed to the book and remarked on the quality of the artwork and the depth of the poems.
“Pen and Palette” was published as part of the Margaret McLoughlin Art Project which was launched in 2010. As part of this expressive arts project, CCL students have worked with professional artists and have had exhibitions in a number of galleries, including the Hunt Museum in Limerick, the National Gallery in Dublin and the Printing House and Atrium in Trinity College.
In a footnote to the book, the McLoughlin family pay tribute to staff of the CCL programme and the Trinity Foundation Office who “provide a great outlet for the development of the talent and personalities of CCL students, who for so long were assumed to be more or less devoid of talent and to show little potential for personal development… It is wonderful to know that there are people with the vision to realise the importance of this work and its value as a truly significant form of education, very much in keeping with the ethos and sociological concerns of Trinity College Dublin.”
“Pen and Palette” is dedicated to the memory of Margaret McLoughlin, ensuring that her spirit lives on in the lives of the many students who participate in the CCL at the NIID. Copies of the book are available by emailing:

Somebody to love: Sexuality and Disability in Ireland Seminar

01st April 2014

The M.Sc. In Disability Studies, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin, presents the seminar 'Somebody to love: Sexuality and Disability in Ireland'

Date: Friday, April 25th
Time: 10 am – 1 pm
Venue: Long Room Hub

This seminar explores issues of sexuality, decision making capacity, and current legislation in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The recently released documentary “Somebody to Love” will open the seminar by presenting the stories of Irish people with disabilities around sexuality and relationships. The documentary director, Anna Rodgers, and four of the documentary participants, Mandy Finlay (TCD graduate) and her mother Frieda Finlay, Sarah Fitzgerald (TCD graduate) and her partner JP Fitzgerald will discuss their experiences on these issues. A presentation by Dr. Rosarie McCarthy, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Adviser at the National Disability Authority (NDA), will follow on the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences Act) 1993. Darren McCausland will close the seminar with the findings from the Intellectual Disability Supplement (IDS) to the TILDA study on older people with intellectual disabilities' relationships. All are welcome.

To book a place contact Sheila Mc Groarty 01 896 3885 or email Please let us know if you require any access accommodations when you RSVP.
For further information on the M.Sc. in Disability Studies, please click

DanceAbility Workshop takes place in the NIID March 2014

28th March 2014

Students on the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL) were treated to a week of classes in DanceAbility which took place at the Sports Centre, Trinity College Dublin.
DanceAbility is a dance method accessible to all people. Classes focus on improvisation and creative movement and are designed to be inclusive of all people. As dancers gain experience, they can also move into choreography that celebrates individuality and relationships.
Connie Michael led the workshop which also included 12 participants who are interested in undertaking the CCL programme in 2014. Connie is the Assistant Dean of Liberal Arts and an Assistant Professor in the School of Dance at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Connie has taught full time for over 20 years and has taught in the areas of somatic awareness, health and fitness for dancers, composition, pedagogy and dance education.   She serves on the DanceAbility Board of Directors and is a certified DanceAbility Teacher. Connie will be assisting the founder of DanceAbility, Alito Alessi, at the ImPulsTanz – International Dance Festival in Vienna, in the 4 week Teacher certification program in July 2014.
The three-Day DanceAbility Workshop in Trinity College included the following:

•           Foundation exercises introducing basic concepts of movement improvisation
•           Introduction to the unique language of each person’s body
•           How to communicate non-verbally with a partner
•           How to communicate non-verbally in larger groups
•           Work in self-directing small groups to shape short dance pieces
•           Integration of “Contact Improvisation,” learning to improvise using physical contact
•           A performance at the conclusion of the workshop where participants show some of the short pieces they’ve designed and/or a demonstration of some group improvisations.

DanceAbility International’s mission is to encourage the evolution of mixed-abilities dance by cultivating a common ground for creative expression for all people. The mission is accomplished through performance, educational programs, teacher training and workshops. 
Some participants’ comments of the three day workshop:

“It was exciting and fun and it made me happy!”
“I would like for this workshop to last forever…thank you!”
“Connie was great – caring, intuitive and inclusive…she paced the workshops well and worked at a level where all could participate. More please!”
“This type of dance could benefit countless numbers of people in many ways”
“It was a lot of fun and helps the body and mind”.
“I loved doing different dance sculptures”.

'Please thank everybody at NIID for the Danceability workshop. It's been very positive for our daughter & given her such a boost. She is more aware of her interactions & has been making a conscious effort to improve her communication. it's also shown her the possibilities for the future & given her a goal. So from me, many thanks. Who knew there would be so many positives'.

We are deeply grateful to the Ireland Funds whose generous contribution made this event happen.
Thanks also to Caroline Duggan and all the staff of the Sports Centre, TCD who are always on hand to make CCL students welcome.

NIID and Trinity Sports Centre  - Winner of Equality Fund Project 2013-2014

14th March 2014

Students on the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL) at the NIID have been attending weekly classes at the Trinity Sports Centre since the beginning of the Michaelmas term 2013. The success of these sessions was made possible by the contribution of the DUCAC clubs as well as the Sports Centre staff. NIID staff and the Sports Centre staff are also collaborating in developing a new CCL module entitled 'Sports, Exercise and Nutrition'.

The Equality Fund Sub-Committee has selected the project entitled: 'Supporting students with intellectual disabilities to become credited sports coaches' for 2013-2014


This proposed initiative would create an opportunity for CCL students to add to the above achievements by gaining two different coaching qualifications in Gaelic football and Soccer at foundation level. This project would involve CCL students taking part in the coaching coarse spread over a number of weeks. The FAI & Ladies Gaelic Football Association would facilitate the courses, which would comprise practical and theory elements including communication skills, practical skills of the game, how to plan a session and teaching a skill. These are fundamental skills of coaching but are tools that will be invaluable to the NIID students promoting self-esteem, positive communication, peer learning and teaching and importantly empowering them to have the confidence in their abilities. Upon completing this initiative, CCL students will be trained coaches who will be empowered to use their new skills and qualifications in the wider community.

Link/Contact: Dr John Kubiak
                      Ms Maura Gallahue
                      Ms Caroline Duggan 

Certificate in Contemporary Living 2013 Students Graduate

20th November 2013

Fifteen students were awarded the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL) when they graduated on Friday 15th November.
This is the 6th year that students with intellectual disabilities have graduated from Trinity College, and since 2008, approximately 90 students have graduated from the CCL programme, providing a rich and varied network of relationships within Irish communities and organisations.
Commenting on the aims of the course, NIID's Teaching and Learning Officer Dr John Kubiak said: "The fact that the awarding of the Certificate has become a regular procedure in the Commencement ceremonies, speaks volumes not only for the NIID, but also for the wider college. Now we are so used to seeing our students in college that it is easy to forget a time when the sight of a person with a disability on campus was either rare or non-existent. Everybody in the college community gains when members of so-called 'non-traditional' groups attend a university such a Trinity College. Students gain from the peer learning and social interactions that take place. Teaching staff gain when they realise that all students in their classes - not just students with intellectual disabilities - learn in different ways. The college community gains when the university campus becomes a true reflection of our diverse and varied society. I'm proud that The Certificate in Contemporary Living is a living example of a programme that embraces and works with the diversity of its students and their individual ways of learning."

Top left: Evan Hogan, Clara Keogan, Mark Claffey

Top right: Jason Baird & Helen Cooney

Bottom left: Margaret McLoughlin won this year's Student Prize

Bottom right: Seamus Conry, Jennifer Clarke, Maria Minihane

Public Lecture by Professor Tamar Heller

24 October 2013

Prof. Tamar Heller delivered last Friday, October 18th, a fascinating public lecture on family support to a diverse audience of approximately 50 people including students, self-advoactes, families, researchers, and service providers. This public lecture was organized as part of the M.Sc. In Disability Studies Public Lecture Series in collaboration with the recently established Irish Disability Studies Association. Three formal responses followed Prof. Heller's lecture, by Margaret Turley, a graduate of the Certificate in Contemporary Living, Paddy Connolly, CEO of Inclusion Ireland, and Prof. Patricia Noonan Walsh, Chair of the Irish Disability Studies Association. You can listen here to the public lecture on audio.

My PATH Review CCL Students Plan their Future 2013-14

07th Oct 2013

Margaret Turley centre picture (2nd Year Student 2012-2013)

What is PATH?
PATH was developed by Jack Pearpoint, Marsha Forest and John O‘Brien. It can be used as a planning style with individuals and with organisations. When used in person centred planning, the person and the people she wants to invite meet together with two facilitators to work through the process. PATH works well when an individual has a group of people around her who are committed to making things happen. Using the PATH process enables people to understand and take control of the situation. "PATH is there when a situation is complex and will require concerted action, engaging other people and resources, over a longish period in order to make an important vision real."
Pearpoint J, O’Brien J and Forest M, ’PATH: A workbook for planning positive, possible futures Toronto Inclusion Press.

Second year students, who have recently completed the Certificate in Contemporary Living, undertook an individual PATH process to enable them to plan their future after college. The 2 + hour process was facilitated by Dr John Kubiak, Ms Zoë Hughes and Ms Maura Gallahue.

Two reflections on the PATH…

1) Student's perspective: Margaret Turley You can read more about Margaret's PATH

2) Parent's perspective: Áine Turley You can read more about Margaret's PATH from her Mother's perspective

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Last updated 3 September 2014 by (Email).