Provost Launches Centre for Inclusion and Intellectual Disability

Posted on: 29 May 2015

Trinity College Dublin’s Centre for Inclusion and Intellectual Disability has been officially launched by the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast.

Formerly known as the National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID), a special event marked its move to the School of Education under the auspices of the Inclusion in Education and Society Research Group following ten productive years as part of the School of Social Work and Social Policy.

The launch of the newly re-designed Centre for Inclusion and Intellectual Disability, or ‘The Centre’, as it will be more commonly known, on May 19th last was attended by students, graduates and family members, as well as staff from across the university and representatives of business partnerships, whose consistent support is essential to promote pathways to employment for its graduates. A number of long term supporters of the NIID and colleagues from support services also attended the event including members of the former management committee.

Prof Mary McCarron, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost, Dr Paula Flynn, Director of the Centre, Dr Michael Shevlin, Director of IES, Prof Linda Hogan, Vice-Provost/CAO, Ms Denise Kelly, NCCA, and Dr Carmel Sullivan, Head, School of Education

Since 2004, the NIID at Trinity has worked to promote the rights of people with intellectual disabilities by means of its mission of inclusion through Education, Research and Advocacy. Dr Paula Flynn, who has recently taken on the role of Director of the Centre has said that “The NIID has aligned its work within the overarching framework of the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and since its inception, has aimed to create a paradigm shift in opportunity, policy and service provision with an aim to enable people with intellectual disabilities to be empowered and become active participants within Irish society”.

From an educational perspective, the innovative two-year programme, entitled the ‘Certificate in Contemporary Living’ (CCL), celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, allows adults with an intellectual disability an opportunity to experience tertiary level education and the richness of life as a college student. Work is currently underway to place the CCL on the National Framework of Qualifications (Quality and Qualifications Ireland).

The Centre for Inclusion and Intellectual Disability has been fully integrated into the core teaching and learning activities and research programme of the ‘Inclusion in Education and Society’ research group (IES) at the School of Education, under the leadership of Dr Michael Shevlin, the Director of IES who believes that “The Centre can begin to address critical barriers which still need to be addressed, such as appropriate curricula at post primary level, transition pathways to employment and further tertiary education, meaningful employment and independent life through our third level programme and forming strategic alliances with supporters in education, health, business and the intellectually disabled young people and their families”.

Dr Carmel O’Sullivan, the Head of the School of Education has said that “the Centre for Inclusion and Intellectual Disability has the potential to make a major contribution to the societal understanding of the implications of inclusion for people with Intellectual Disability within education and employment”.