People with disabilities have abilities too - A conversation with Ms Christina Corr
The Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability values diversity in the workplace, as it adds strength to the overall research team, providing opportunities, which promotes success and learning, strengtening the path of research.
Work gives individuals a sense of purpose and self-worth. For many, it defines who we are and is a source of justifiable pride. The benefits of being in employment are well documented; however, unemployment is a critical issue for people with intellectual disability.
The first wave of the Intellectual Disability Supplement to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (IDS-TILDA) in 2011 found that just 6.6% of the population were in real paid employment. Additional analysis at Wave 2 in 2014 identified the same level of employment but most were engaged in other forms of activity, primarily in day services but also sheltered workshops, in education or training, and unpaid work. Around 14% were not in any form of occupation, including those who were unemployed or looking for work, unable to work due to being permanently sick or disabled, and retired. Respondents who were employed reported the highest rates of emotional or mental health compared with participants in other forms of occupation, while those not in any form of occupation had the lowest rates. The fourth wave of IDS-TILDA identified that there was an increase in real paid employment from 6.6% to 8.7%, but individuals not in any form of occupation now stood at 18.7%.
Professor Mary McCarron was awarded the inaugural HRB Impact Award in 2019, which has enabled the Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability to provide specific employment opportunities to people with an intellectual disability.
Ms Christina Corr joined the Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability Team in 2021 as a Research Assistant to the Post-Diagnostic Dementia Support Guidelines for People with an Intellectual Disability project.
The Post-Diagnostic Dementia Support Guidelines for People with an Intellectual Disability project aims to increase our understanding of existing post-diagnostic dementia supports for people with intellectual disability and establish what can be done to improve these services. This will be achieved through, consultation with people with a diagnosis of dementia and intellectual disability, families and carers, experts in post-diagnostic dementia support, intellectual disability staff members, intellectual disability specialists and general population service management.
Supported by Ms Holly Dennehy, Christina joins Ms Mei Lin Yap, Ambassador Liaison Officer to discuss Christina's new role with the centre and what Christina and Mei Lin like to do in their spare time to keep their brains healthy.
There are things we can all do throughout our lives to keep our brain healthy. Research suggests that the risk of dementia can be reduced by up to 40% by addressing modifiable risk factors (Livingston et al., 2020), including education, exercise, reducing obesity, and reducing social isolation. We also know that what is good for your heart is good for your brain. It is so important that people with an intellectual disability are included in conversations around brain health and given the opportunity to promote good brain health.
Livingston, G., Huntley, J., Sommerlad, A., Ames, D., Ballard, C., Banerjee, S., ... & Mukadam, N. (2020). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. The Lancet, 396(10248), 413-446.
‘In pursuit of meaningful occupation: Employment and occupational outcomes for older Irish adults with an intellectual disability’, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 2019, [McCausland, D., McCallion, P., Brennan, D., & McCarron, M.]
‘Exploring the issue of employment for adults with an intellectual disability in Ireland.’, Journal of Applies Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 26, 4, pp 335-43, 2013, [McGlinchey, E., McCallion, P., Burke, E., Carroll, R., & McCarron, M.]