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News archive Sept 2010 - Sept 2011

National Institute for Intellectual Disability and School of Social Work and Social Policy welcome new colleague, Professor Errol Cocks

Errol Cocks The National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID) and School of Social Work and Social Policy are pleased to welcome Professor Errol Cocks BA (Uni. of WA) MPsych (UWA) PhD (Uni. of Queensland), Visiting Professor, for the period September to December 2011. Professor Cocks is the Director, Centre for Research into Disability and Society (CRDS), Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and Director, Research and Graduate Studies, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.

During his visit to the National Insitute for Intellectual Disabilty (NIID), Professor Cocks will be working with the course teams for the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL) and the M.Sc. in Disability Studies in addition to other research activities in the Institute.

6 Sept, 2011

Brainwave's Online European Survey

6 Aug, 2011

Brainwave, the Irish Epilepsy Association and Cardiff University are conducting an online European Survey on the experiences of those who provide support to people with intellectual disabilities who have epilepsy. This online survey will explore issues around medication, access to appropriate clinical supports and the impact of epilepsy on quality of life. This research has been approved by the Research Ethics Committee at Cardiff University and participants should be aware that all responses are anonymous and untraceable. The information gleaned from this survey will provide valuable information to Brainwave, the Irish Epilepsy Association on future service need in this area. The survey will remain open to Irish participants to December 2011. If you wish to participate in the study please click on the link below for further information. Please note you will be directed to a website external to NIID

NDA Research Study

12 Aug, 2011

The National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID), in conjunction with the National Anti-Bullying Advocacy Group, has recently secured a 'Research Promotions Grant' from the National Disability Authority, the statutory advisory body to Government on disability issues.

The grant has been awarded for an inclusive research project to explore the issue of bullying of people with intellectual disabilities. A series of focus groups will be undertaken with key stakeholders including people with intellectual disabilities, family members and carers, disability services' support staff, community representatives, health and social care professionals, and policy makers in this area.

The research will culminate in the production of an Easy-to-Read Guide on bullying for people with intellectual disabilities. This research will be carried out by researchers at the NIID in conjunction with researchers from the National Anti-Bullying Advocacy Group, an active group of advocates with intellectual disabilities who provide training and advocacy in the area of bullying.

Fiona Weldon, Development Worker with the National Anti-Bullying Advocacy Group is Research Coordinator. The research team comprises Conn O'Rathaille, William (Bill) Roberts, and Marie Wolfe from the National Anti-Bullying Advocacy Group and Ciara Brennan, Emer O'Malley and Siobháin O'Doherty from NIID. Dr Christine Linehan, Director of NIID is Principal Investigator.

New Director Announced

19 July, 2011

Dr Christine LinehanThe National Institute for Intellectual Disability are delighted to announce the appointment of Christine Linehan, BA, MA, Dip.Stat, PhD, Reg.Psych.PsSI, as our new Director.

Dr Linehan is a research psychologist by profession with qualifications in psychology and statistics from University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin. Her extensive experience in the disability field ranges from having worked for St. Michael's House, a provider organisation for people with intellectual disabilities in Dublin; the Centre for Disability Studies based at University College Dublin; to more recently for the National Disability Authority, the statutory advisory body to Government on disability issues. Dr Linehan has been involved in a number of international research initiatives and has published widely in leading disability peer-reviewed journals. Her most recent work has focused on the potential reconfiguration of disability services, most specifically towards the introduction of personal budgets and individualised supports for people with disabilities in Ireland.

New Head of School of Social Work and Social Policy: Dr Eoin O'Sullivan

Dr Eoin O'Sullivan has been elected Head of School of Social Work and Social Policy. Dr O'Sullivan takes over from Professor Robbie Gilligan who completed his second term of office in July 2011. The Headship has a term of three years, during which the Head of School is responsible for the effective general management of the School, for ensuring the provision of academic leadership and strategic vision, and for the quality of the student experience.

Dr Eoin O'Sullivan is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, specialising in criminology, and was the School's former Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate). Dr O'Sullivan is also a ministerial appointee to the Private Residential Tenancies Board. The National Institute for Intellectual Disabilities wishes Dr O'Sullivan every success during his term of office.

End of Term Celebrations

9 June, 2011

Michael Leahy, Fiona Lacey, Vivian Wood, John Power

NIID students and staff celebrated the end of term last Thursday. The event was a huge success with 1st year students looking forward to their summer holidays and the 2nd year group excited about the opportunities that await them following their successful completion of the Certificate.
As well as staff, students, family members and supporters the event was attended by some of our Business Partners and Work Placement sponsors. Starbucks very kindly sponsored the event.

Nordic Network on Disability Research Conference

3 June, 2011

Niamh And Tomas in Iceland

National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID) Staff and Students participate in 11th Nordic Network on Disability Research (NNDR), Reykjavik

Two NIID staff, Dr Edurne Iriarte Garcia, Lecturer in Intellectual Disability and Course Co-ordinator, M.Sc. in Disability Studies, and Ms Niamh Lally, Research Assistant (and Ph.D. Student), and one Certificate in Contemporary Living Student, Mr Tomas Murphy, presented papers and posters at the 11th Nordic Network on Disability Research (NNDR) conference in Reykjavik from 25-27 May 2011. At the conference, disability studies research and theory and the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability were discussed by scholars, activists, advocates and practitioners representing more than 28 countries.

Dr Edurne Garcia presented the paper:
'What have we learned from conducting research with people with intellectual disabilities?' by Edurne Garcia Iriarte, Patricia O'Brien, and Darren Chadwick.

Ms Niamh Lally and Mr Tomas Murphy presented a paper entitled 'Promoting University inclusion for people with I.D. throughout Ireland - How we did it' by Niamh Lally, Mai Lin Yap, Tomas Murphy, Molly O'Keeffe and Patricia O'Brien.
On behalf of colleagues unable to attend, they also presented a paper entitled: 'Our experience of attending undergraduate lectures at Trinity College - Student Perspectives' by John Kubiak, Patricia O'Brien, Molly O'Keeffe and Barry O'Connor.

Posters by Ms Zoe Hughes, Ph.D. student, and Ms Siobhain O'Doherty, Research Assistant, were also presented:
'The right of people with intellectual disabilities to have intimate relationships - Care staff perspectives in Ireland' by Siobhain O'Doherty
'The impact of life story telling for storytellers with intellectual disabilities, their support and service agencies' by Zoe Hughes.

Please contact the authors of the papers for further information.

Please click here to read an account of Tomas's visit to Iceland.

Presidential Visit

Owing to the much anticipated visit of the President of the United States, Barack Obama to College Green, the NIID offices will not be accessible on Monday May 23rd. Should you have an urgent query please email Niamh Heynen

We will open for business and classes as normal on Tuesday. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this closure.

The Royal Visit

Congratulations to Niamh Fortune (2nd year CCL student) who along with Education Officer Molly O'Keeffe met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II this afternoon in the Long Room during her visit to Trinity College. Well done Niamh and Molly for representing us so well! Footage of the visit is available on the RTE player site.

Research News

Genio Contract

Congratulations to Dr Edurne Iriarte Garcia, Lecturer in Intellectual Disability, who is part of a team that was successfully awarded a contract by Genio Trust with support from Atlantic Philanthropies to conduct a 2-year evaluation study on the individualised, cost-effective supports and services that Genio is grant-aiding in Ireland.

The Team is led by principal investigator Professor Roy McConkey, Ulster University, and includes Dr Bunting Brendan, Ulster University, Dr Edurne Garcia Iriarte, Trinity College Dublin, Ms Rachel Stevens, Empower All, and Ms Marie Wolfe, Empower All.

The evaluation aims to gather evidence to inform the transition from traditional group-based models to individualised, cost-effective supports and services, and to accelerate the availability of such services and supports. The sample for the study includes people with intellectual and physical disabilities and those with mental health problems.

The Genio Trust had a grant-making programme in mid-2010. Grants were awarded to successful proposals in two areas: direct service provision to support individuals to live as included members of the community (17 initiatives received grants to support over 100 individuals); and capacity building initiatives promoting individualised supports and services and community inclusion (33 capacity building initiatives received grants).

CCL Open Day, Friday 27th May 2011

5 May, 2011


The Certificate in Contemporary Living open day will be held on Monday 27th May 2011 at The National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID), 4th Floor, 3 College Green. Please see here for location of venue on Dame Street. Download CCL Application Form.Closing date for application 7th June. Interviews will be held on 20th June. For further information contact Ailish Kennedy.

Berlin 2011 - Certificate in Contemporary Living

May 3, 2011


As part of this module we organised a field trip away to a European country. This year the group picked Germany. In class we have compared Ireland and Germany in the following areas: history, culture, geography, society and politics. We have looked at maps, rivers, forests as well as learning important insights into the traumatic history of both countries. Through group discussion we have explored World War Two, the 1916 Rising and the Irish Famine. We planned to visit the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg gate, and Checkpoint Charlie amongst others. We have also planned cultural activities in the evening like eating German food, listening to music, meeting German people and sampling their beer.' 2nd Year CCL Students

Graduation 2010 - Certificate in Contemporary Living

Nov 11, 2010

Students of the pioneering university course for people with intellectual disability graduated at a ceremony in the Public Theatre, Trinity College Dublin on Thursday, November 11th last. Thirteen students were awarded with Certificates in Contemporary Living when they formally graduated at the ceremony. They are the third cohort to graduate from the programme.

Commenting on the significance of their achievement, NIID Education Officer, Molly O'Keeffe said: "Our graduates have overcome great challenges and struggles in their journey to achieve their goals. In achieving their ambitions, the students have also enabled the college and the wider community in developing a deeper understanding of the strengths and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. In supporting the roll-out of the Certificate in Contemporary Living programme amongst other third level institutions it also ensures educational opportunities across the country for this marginalised group.'

"Over the last two years, the graduate students have made enormous strides in their personal, social and learning development and made a wonderful contribution to campus life. Since finishing the course the students have successfully gained part-time employment, some have gone on to further their education in colleges and VECs around Dublin and others again are concentrating on moving out of home towards supported independent living in the community."

The two-year Certificate in Contemporary Living 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. Based on its model, other courses are now being taught in a number of third level institutions nationwide.

One of the key aims of the NIID Certificate in Contemporary Living 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 in Contemporary Living - academic learning, personal growth and career development. On the course students complete modules in English and spoken communication, mathematics and financial management, social studies, international awareness and music among other areas.

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;
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 and NIID Business Partners Network.