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News archive Sept 2007 - Sept 2008

CCL Students visit Belfast

Posted on June, 2008

The students on the Certificate in Contemporary Living course celebrated completing their first year by going on an overnight trip to Belfast. The trip was also an educational event where students learned about the history, geography and life in Northern Ireland. This forms part of the International Awareness module which the students study for two years.

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The student representatives on the course (Emma McCormack, Brian Higgins and Wayne Kenny) used the trip to survey their classmates about travelling together as a group. They asked the students to fill out a feed-back questionnaire with questions such as 'Did going away together help us to get on better as a class?" and 'Would they like to go away together again?' The results of the survey were very positive with many of students saying they should have the opportunity to go away together more often. Emma, Brian and Wayne will use this information to improve the social events programme for the CCL students next year. They will also present these findings as part of a research project called Being a Student Representative on the CCL course at a Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster University in September 2008.

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The student reps will be busy throughout the summer preparing their research presentation. They will be writing a piece on their experience at the conference for the website. The trip to Belfast was very enjoyable and we are all looking forward to our next trip to Greece in the spring of 2009.

Australian Ambassador visits NIID

Posted on Apr 18, 2008

Her Excellency, Anne Plunkett, Australian Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See visited the National Institute for Intellectual Disability on Monday 14th April. The Ambassador met with students undertaking the Certificate in Contemporary Living. The students gave a presentation to the Ambassador outlining the course and enjoyed discussing with her their experience in third level education. Michael Lambert presented the Ambassador with a piece of artwork he created.

Michael Lambert makes a presentation to the Ambassador

The Ambassador left the students and staff of the NIID with the impression that the Certificate in Contemporary Living was a very worthwhile course that was delivering real outcomes.

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Her Excellency, Anne Plunkett(front, second from the left), with students Emma McPhillips and Michael Lambert.

While at the NIID, the Ambassador also met with a group of researchers who were evaluating respite care as well as documenting transition education strategies. The Ambassador shared with them her personal insight into relevant, innovative projects in Australia. The Ambassador also learned of the work of the NIID in providing people with intellectual disabilities and family members with opportunities to become co-researchers within the context of 2 national surveys and to be able to explore and document their own life stories.

The visit finished with a luncheon for Trinity Staff from Australia and those with Australian connections. The Ambassador commented that she was pleased that Australia was so ably represented in academic life in Ireland.

Businessman Denis O'Brien Opens Art Exhibition by Students of the TCD Course for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Posted on: Mar 05, 2008

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New Alumni Society Announced for TCD Students with Intellectual Disabilities

'People with intellectual disabilities have the right to the same opportunities as all our citizens and TCD's Certificate in Contemporary Living for people with intellectual disabilities is about opening up opportunities for education, participation and transition to meaningful employment', stated businessman, Denis O'Brien on the occasion of the opening of a visual art exhibition by students of the Trinity College course for people with intellectual disabilities on Wednesday, March 5, 2008.

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The art exhibition features visual art by current students and graduates of the pioneering Certificate in Contemporary Living, a two-year course run by TCD's National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID), the first full-time course of its kind in the university sector in Ireland. As part of the course, students attend a Visual Arts Programme through which they develop their expressive abilities and communicate their ideas creatively under the guidance and expertise of an artist in residence. This programme was supported by funding from the Ireland Funds Young leaders. From these classes some remarkable artworks have been produced which will be for sale in the two-day exhibition. The themes of the exhibition cover issues of independence, inclusion, family and personal growth. Click here to view Presentation of Artwork

Commenting on the significance of the Certificate in Contemporary Living's Visual Arts Programme, businessman, Denis O'Brien said: 'The exhibition sees the culmination of the students' work on the programme which will change perceptions about the skills and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities and open up exciting possibilities for new directions in their lives.'

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On the occasion of the art exhibition a new NIID Alumni Society was also announced, providing students with continuing opportunities to stay in touch with each other, NIID as well as TCD. It will also allow for the continuing development of their skills and potential as part of Trinity's Alumni community.

'A key aim of the NIID Certificate, especially through its Work-Life Programme is to ensure that education at third level for people with intellectual disability leads to appropriate employment opportunities. The newly launched Alumni Society will provide graduates with a network and follow-on support on leaving the course. It will also promote the continuing development of their skills and potential as part of the Trinity Alumni', stated NIID Director, Dr Patricia O'Brien.

The NIID Director also outlined plans for collaboration with other education partners to develop its Certificate in Contemporary Living so that the same opportunities available in Trinity College can be provided to people with intellectual disabilities throughout the country.

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In this context, Dr Patricia O'Brien acknowledged the many private individuals and philanthropic organisations which had provided essential support for the Institute in developing to this point, including The Special Olympics, the Atlantic Philanthropies, The Ireland Funds and Thomas Crosbie Holdings. She paid particular tribute to Denis O'Brien for his continuing support for the NIID and its students and his guidance in developing the education programme for the future.

The NIID has recently been successful in securing Government funding to begin developing the course with other education partners. The first phase of this collaboration involves UCC.

Notes to the Editor

NIID's development to date has been made possible through the support and funding of the following: The Atlantic Philanthropies, The Ireland Funds, Joe Corcoran, The Kathleen Rooney Miller Fund, Special Olympics Ireland, Denis O'Brien and Thomas Crosbie Holdings.

NIID gratefully acknowledges this support and also funding received from: the Department of Education and Science, Higher Education Authority, European Commission Marie Curie Fellowships, National Disability Authority, National Council for Special Education and The Fulbright Commission.

About the National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID)

The National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID) was established at Trinity College to promote the inclusion of people with intellectual disability and their families. The Institute works to ensure that the basic human rights of people are upheld associated with access to:

  • Appropriate education
  • Health Services
  • Employment
  • Housing and social amenities.
  • Community presence and participation.

The NIID promotes lifelong learning for people with intellectual disability through:

  • The Certificate in Contemporary Living, an inclusive education programme involving Trinity staff and Trinity students undertaking professional degrees
  • Development and implementation of inclusive research practice
  • Analysis and commentary on relevant legislation and policy
  • Parent/family education
  • Consultancy and partnership with service and advocacy agencies Public Education.

Students of the Pioneering Trinity College Course for People with Intellectual Disabilities Graduate

Posted on: Feb 16, 2008

graduation

Graduation Ceremony of the first class of students of TCD course for people with intellectual disabilities - the only course of its kind in Ireland

The first class of students of a pioneering university course for people with intellectual disability graduated at a formal awards ceremony on February 15th in Trinity College Dublin. Nineteen students were awarded with the Certificate in Contemporary Living when they graduated at the ceremony.

The two-year course run by TCD's National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID), is the first full-time course of its kind in the university sector in Ireland and is recognised internationally as being unique. One of the key aims of the course is to promote lifelong learning for people with intellectual disabilities and to ensure that this third level education leads to appropriate employment opportunities.

There are three aspects to the certificate - academic learning, personal growth and career development. Over the two-year certificate, students complete modules in English and Spoken Communication, Mathematics and Financial Management, Social Studies, International Awareness and Music among other areas.

Commenting on the aims of the course, NIID Director, Dr Patricia O'Brien said: 'People with intellectual disability are one of the most marginalised groups in Irish society. Specifically with regard to education, the abilities of people with intellectual disability have been underestimated and as result their potential has often remained dormant. It is internationally recognised that lifelong learning is an essential requirement if full participation and inclusion is to be achieved. Through NIID's pioneering Certificate in Contemporary Living we have developed a course which aims to enable the development of the full potential of the students with intellectual disability'.

Since completing their studies the nineteen students have gone on to work in various sectors including office administration, retail, catering and libraries.

Commenting on the significance of the occasion, TCD Provost, Dr John Hegarty stated: 'The work of the National Institute for Intellectual Disability and its certificate programme form key elements of Trinity College's commitment to increasing the numbers of students with a disability attending the College. The full inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities is central to the society we live in and its future. The graduation of these nineteen students today in NIID's Certificate in Contemporary Living sees the culmination of the students' hard work throughout the course. It is also an historic occasion in educational terms which sees the graduation of the first cohort of students from the country's first full-time third level course for people with intellectual disabilities.'

Notes to the Editor:

About the National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID)

The National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID) was established at Trinity College to promote the inclusion of people with intellectual disability and their families. The Institute works to ensure that the basic human rights of people are upheld associated with access to:

  • Appropriate education
  • Health Services
  • Employment
  • Housing and social amenities.
  • Community presence and participation.

The NIID promotes lifelong learning for people with intellectual disability through:

  • The Certificate in Contemporary Living, an inclusive education programme involving Trinity staff and Trinity students undertaking professional degrees
  • Development and implementation of inclusive research practice
  • Analysis and commentary on relevant legislation and policy
  • Parent/family education
  • Consultancy and partnership with service and advocacy agencies
  • Public Education.

NIID's development to date has been made possible through the support and funding of the following: The Atlantic Philanthropies, The Ireland Funds, Joe Corcoran, The Kathleen Rooney Miller Fund, Special Olympics Ireland, Denis O'Brien and Thomas Crosbie Holdings.

NIID gratefully acknowledges this support and also funding received from: the Department of Education and Science, Higher Education Authority, European Commission Marie Curie Fellowships, National Disability Authority, National Council for Special Education and The Fulbright Commission.


Dr. Patricia O'Brien, previous Director of Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities arrived from the University of Auckland in New Zealand in 2004 to take up the post of Director of the Centre. Her research background includes; follow up studies on the effects of de-institutionalisation of people with intellectual disability; the interface between offenders with intellectual disability and the criminal justice system; and enhancing effectiveness in special education.

In 2004-5 Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Susan Ryan, from the University of Anchorage undertook a study on Education and support needs of students with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in rural and urban Ireland . In 2005, Dr Ryan also won a grant from the Ministry of Education and Science to develop a resource for families of students with foetal alcohol syndrome.

In 2005, Dr Patricia O'Brien received a Start Up grant from Trinity College to explore the setting up of a national survey for people with intellectual disabilities. She was assisted in this developmental work by Tara Mitchell.

In 2006-2007 Marie Curie Incoming International Fellow, Dr Kelley Johnson came from RMIT University, Melbourne Australia to coordinate a project called 'No Longer Researching About Us Without Us'. The aim of this project was to work with people with intellectual disabilities to develop a curriculum to support people with intellectual disabilities to develop research skills as well as the writing of life stories. On completing the project, Dr Kelley Johnson has taken up a professorship at the Norah Fry Research Centre, University of Bristol. The Garden Story and Brian and Joe's Coffee Shop are available for purchase at €6 each or €10 for both from the NIID.

Garden Story Book
Coffee Shop book

In 2006, Dr Patricia O'Brien Dr. Máirín Kenny, Karen O'Mahony completed a project funded by the National Council for Special Education to document the status quo in relation to the implementation of individual educational plans across primary, secondary and special schools.

In 2006-7, Dr Patricia O'Brien, Dr Michael Shevlin, Molly O'Keeffe, Dr Máirín Kenny, Stephanie Fitzgerald, Stephen Curtis and Amy O'Shea completed a project funded by the National Disability Authority in documenting the outcomes of the Certificate in Contemporary Living delivered for students with intellectual disabilities at Trinity College.

Collaborative Research and Development Partners