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It's everyone's job to support students with disabilities

Published March 28th, 2018

As colleges continue to cater for more diverse populations, the role of disability services across higher education will become ever more important.

Now the Director of the Disability Service in Trinity, Declan Treanor, has just launched a book on this very subject, entitled The Role of the Disability Officer and the Disability Service in Higher Education in Ireland.

The book was written in conjunction with the School o Education’s Dr Patricia McCarthy and Mary Quirk of AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access and Disability).

One of its key take-aways is that it is not solely the Disability Service’s responsibility to support students with disabilities – it is everyone’s job. It is also everyone’s job to ensure that the values of inclusion are embedded across higher education institutions, to be of maximum benefit.

Speaking after the book’s launch Declan Treanor commented: "In light of increased participation of students with disabilities and decreased funding, to provide inclusive teaching and learning opportunities diversity for modes is essential, and disability services and their staff will champion universal design for living."

There is considerable diversity in the population of students in the Irish higher education system including: students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, mature students, members of the travelling community, students with disabilities and international students.

Within Trinity, this diversity now includes over 1,500 students with disabilities, or 8% of the entire student population. It is anticipated by the HEA that this number will continue to increase in the coming years. This exponential increase in diversity in higher education is of itself changing the shape of higher education in Ireland, as the students of today expect to learn in a myriad of ways that are based on state of the art pedagogy and the use of technology to enhance learning.

  • More information on the Disability Service can be found here