Niamh Lally
Visiting Research Assistant, Business & Administrative Studies

Biography

Niamh Lally is Teaching & Learning Officer/Research & Development Officer in the National Institute for Intellectual Disabilities (NIID), School of Social Work and Social Policy. She is also undertaking her PhD entitled, The Dynamics of Post Higher Education Transitions for People with Intellectual Disabilities: An Exploration of Adulthood? supervised by Prof. Robbie Gilligan and Prof. Patricia O' Brien. The study aims to explore the post college transitions of people with intellectual disabilities to better understand the factors that sustain and act as barriers to ongoing development. In analyzing the stories of transition the concept of adulthood is explored by drawing upon the nature of transitions and the perceptions of `adulthood' as experienced or aspired to by young people with intellectual disabilities. Niamh is a Teacher and Learning Officer on the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL), a two year programme for people with intellectual disabilities offered by the NIID since 2004. Under a project grant from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Niamh coordinated the project entitled Widening Participation: the Rollout of the Certificate in Contemporary Living. This three year research project was carried out across 5 higher education institutions (University College Cork, Mary Immaculate Limerick, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Waterford Institute of Technology, St Angela's College Sligo) partnering with the NIID in delivering inclusive higher education opportunities to students with intellectual disabilities for the very first time in Ireland. Niamh is currently coordinating a European network in addressing the accreditation issues in the higher education sector for people with intellectual disabilities. Niamh has recently returned from the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS), University of Sydney, Australia. As Research and Training Affiliate she worked with a number of Disability Services across New South Wales and Australia to implement a framework for change in their approach to service delivery as part of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which is being piloted at present. The Professional Development Programme (Murray, R. & O'Brien, P., 2010) provided staff within disability, aged care and mental health services with the understanding of person centredness; the development of person centred practices; and the skills requires to act as a catalyst for change though multi-group training, 1:1 mentoring and action planning. She also worked as affiliate co-ordinator with the CDS team to implement, coordinate and evaluate the first ever higher education programme for students with intellectual disabilities in New South Wales.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Lally, N., & Murphy, T. , Inclusive education in the tertiary sector: participants' experiences in Ireland and Sydney., Australasian Society for Intellectual Disabilities (ASID), Wellington, New Zealand, November 2012 Conference Paper,

Lally, N & O'Brien, P , Rolling out University Inclusion throughout Ireland for People with intellectual Disabilities., International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability, (IASSID) Europe, Rome, Italy, October 2010 Conference Paper,

Lally, N & O'Brien, P , Access and Entry into Tertiary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities in Ireland: A Pilot Study, World Congress of Inclusion International, Berlin, Germany, June 2010 Conference Paper,

Lally, N., O'Brien, P. , Rolling out inclusive higher education for students with intellectual disabilities throughout Ireland: lesson learned. , Australasian Society for Intellectual Disabilities (ASID), Wellington, New Zealand, November 2012 Conference Paper,

Lally, N., Leanne, M., King, B., O'Byrne, A., Jennings, C., Foran, S., Students with intellectual disabilities in Higher Education Institutes: An Irish Experience., International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability, (IASSID) World Congress, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, July 2012 Conference Paper,

Lally, N., Murphy, T., O'Keeffe, M., & Yap, M. , Promoting university inclusion for people with Intellectual Disabilities throughout Ireland - how we did it. , Nordic Network on Disability Research (NNDR), Reykjavik, Iceland, May 2011 Conference Paper,

Research Expertise

Projects

  • Title
    • Widening Participation: The National Rollout of Inclusive Higher Education for Student with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Summary
    • The purpose of the study was to explore the experience of implementing an inclusive educational programme for people with intellectual disabilities in six higher education institutes in Ireland. Multiple sources of qualitative data were collected to gain an understanding of the experiences of students, course tutors, 'champions' who pioneered the initiative in each setting and student family members. Data was gathered via focus groups, interviews and surveys. Findings showed that all participants experienced personal growth and development. For students, there was a deepening of their abilities to claim their educational rights and advocate for higher education infrastructure change. For tutors, the gain was in their experience of innovative learning and assessment methodologies targeted on this group. What emerged for 'champions' was a questioning of how best to include students with intellectual disabilities in higher education. For family members, seeing their son or daughter in a new light brought with it the challenge of 'letting go'. Conclusions: The study has highlighted some key challenges and insights for higher education institutes in how best to increase the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities.
  • Funding Agency
    • Higher Education Authority (HEA)
  • Date From
    • 2008
  • Date To
    • 2012
  • Title
    • "I go to University!" Exploring the Outcomes of the Centre for Disability Studies, University of Sydney, Inclusive Education Project- the Experiences of the Students with Intellectual Disability, their Mentors and Lecturers
  • Summary
    • An inclusive individual support model is being piloted in the University of Sydney, Australia with six students with intellectual disabilities auditing self-selected undergraduate courses and engaging in a range of university activities. The aim of the study is to evaluate this pilot project to gain insights into the experiences of students with intellectual disability (Group 1), their mentors (Group 2) and the lecturing staff of the classes the students are auditing (Group 3) to inform future efforts in this area and to add to the corpus of knowledge around inclusive education, with particular reference to students with intellectual disability, in the tertiary sector. By using focus groups and interviews this research aims to identify the facilitators of and barriers to a successful university experience for these students, and contribute to the knowledge of social inclusion for the broader population of people with intellectual disability.
  • Funding Agency
    • Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC), New South Wales Government, Australia
  • Date From
    • 2012
  • Date To
    • 2013