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

Posted on: 12 November 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 Certificates in Contemporary Living when they formally graduated at the ceremony.

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.

Graduates of the Certificate in Contemporary Living course, Shane Kelly, Mandy Finlay, Neil Kelly and Selale Leflef, celebrate their achievements. 

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.

The thirteen students who successfully completed the certificate in summer 2010 is 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. ”

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;
  • 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 and NIID Business Partners Network.