The Disability Service (henceforward DS) was formally set up in June 2000 with the employment of a Disability Service Co-ordinator (the present Director). Service delivery within the DS utilises a multi-disciplinary approach, and is comprised of an experienced team of individuals who work to support the disabled student.
DS Ethos: The ethos of the Trinity College Dublin Disability Service is to move from a transactional model of provision, where students are passive recipients of support, to a transformational and sustainable model of resource usage, where students take an active part in developing essential life skills and planning their educational journey.
DS Mission: To create an accessible, transformational, educational environment in an interdependent University community and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion.
DS Vision: Engage the wider University community in empowering students with disabilities.
DS Values: Inclusive, Advocating, Collaborative, Inquisitive, Pioneering, Positive disruptors, Dynamic.
The Disability Service (DS) has two principle functions, firstly is to provide support to Trinity’s disabled community (which comprises students and staff, and indirectly; visitors) and to recommend policy and procedural changes as required. Secondly, DS ensures Trinity is compliant with the Disability Act 2005 and other relevant legislation and codes of practice. The DS has evolved and developed since the last quality review in 2005, this evolution and description of the functions are outlined below.
Timeline on the development of the Disability Service in Trinity College Dublin
Special Needs Committee established.
Disability Liaison Officer, part-time academic, appointed to support students with disabilities in College.
A full-time Disability Officer was appointed on 1st June 2000, and an office in the Arts Building, Room 2054 (previously a respite room) was provided for the Service.
HEA Strategic Initiative funding was granted to develop assistive technology and information services.
Provision of 9 accessible residence rooms in 3 houses in Botany Bay.
The Assistive Technology and Information Centre (ATIC) opened in the new Ussher Library.
The University’s Strategic Plan 2004-2007 stated that ‘Disabled students will find the College will have access to a learning and social environment which will be more appropriate to their needs.
An Occupational Therapy support service was established in 2004 and was a unique collaboration with the Discipline of Occupational Therapy.
The first external Disability Service Quality Review took place in May 2005. Some of the recommendations included; increased staffing; College needs to continue its inclusivity, and universal access principles need to be implemented.
Disability Act 2005 enacted on September 1st 2005 resulting in a number of positive measures in College.
The Pavilion bar was made fully accessible.
A Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Disability Needs Assessment) was developed by the Disability Service with the School of Education; 22 students graduated from this programme.
College received Strategic Innovation (SIF 2) funding for Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (TIC). The development of TIC was a partnership between CAPSL, access initiatives and the academic community, and ran from October 1st 2008 to 2012.
College-wide physical access audit conducted in mid-to-late 2008.
College Board approved the College Accessible Information Policy.
An eGovernment Web Accessibility Award was presented to the Disability Service for its efforts to make the website accessible to disabled users.
Ability Awards - Trinity College was selected as an Ability Company at the 02 Ability Awards in 2010.
Tenth Anniversary of the Disability Service. The Disability Service held its first symposium with the launch of a student experience book.
The pathways in Front Square were completed, allowing a fully accessible journey through the main square of the campus.
The Unilink Service launched the Self-Management Programme for students with mental health difficulties.
The Asperger’s Syndrome Support Service website was officially launched by the Minister for Health, Dr. James O’Reilly in November 2011.
Unilink, in collaboration with TCD Equality Fund, the TCD Staff Office, and the Student's Union, developed the '5 A Day for Mental Health' booklet, leaflet, and website.
Trinity received the UK JISC TechDis OASES Award for Institutional Progress on Equality using Technology.
The Pathways to Trinity website was launched on 11th April 2011 to community groups, second level students, professionals / practitioner bodies, schools and guidance counsellors.
Launch of the first DS Strategic Plan 2011- 2014; which aimed to develop clear and effective support systems at all stages in the student journey, from college entrance to graduation to employment was developed.
The Disability Service held its 2nd Annual Symposium in June 2012.
The Transition to employment website and booklet for students with disabilities was launched.
The Unilink Service developed a shared service with Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology, and University College Dublin. Tenders were awarded for each institution.
DS received a significant grant from the Genio Trust to develop a Transition to Employment project supporting college students and recent graduates experiencing mental health difficulties, in their transition to employment.
The Professional Placement Planning Process and Guide for students with disabilities on professional courses were launched at the Disability Service 3rd Annual Symposium.
The Fatigue management booklet was launched in April 2014 by the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences; Prof. Mary McCarron.
The Third Annual Disability Service Symposium is due to take place in September 2014 which will officially see the launch of the Genio-funded project- entitled ‘Career Pathways’.
College committed significant funding of €1 million Euro to ensure compliance with the Disability Act deadline of December 2015, physical access priority works outlined and work plan agreed.
The Pathways Volunteer Programme was launched in June 2014, with 48 students signing up to participate in this ambassador programme.
Disability Service Student Ambassador Programme was established.
Association of Higher Education Careers Services Employability Award presented for the Career Pathways project.
National Ann Beckett Occupational Therapy Award was presented for the Career Pathways Service.
Ambassador Accelerator Programme was established and rolled out with 12 Ambassadors over a 5 week period in the Summer of 2016.
One-week Summer Programme for students with Asperger's Syndrome (Autistic Spectrum Disorder / Condition).
Occupational Therapy Service formerly known as Unilink is changed to Occupational Therapy Support.
Trinity Disability Service hosted the Ready, Steady Go Summer Camp for twenty secondary school students with disabilities.
The Trinity Students with Disabilities Ambassador Programme expanded and recruited 15 new Ambassadors.
The Trinity College Board adopted the Reasonable Accommodation Policy.
Concealed wheelchair lifts were installed in front of entrances to the Exam Hall and the Chapel on Front Square.
Not So Different Creative Ability Programme launched in Trinity.
The Disability Service launched a new website www.autism-uni.org to help students with autism to make the transition from school to university.
Trinity became the first Irish university to install a disabled cycle parking facility.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Disability Service moved online in March. Disability Service staff were available to meet with students remotely via MS Teams, phone, and email.
The Trinity Ability Co_op, a collaborative initiative between students, staff and other stakeholders working towards inclusion in Trinity, was established in May.
The TCD Forum for Staff & Ph.D Students with Disabilities was established in May.
The Disability Service launched its own instance of the Student Information Desk currently used within Trinity in July.
The Trinity Disability Service Strategic Plan 2020-2025 'Empowering Students with Disabilities was launched in December'.
Trinity Neurodivergent Project was launched in July 2021.