Prospective Students with Disabilities
We work alongside students with disabilities from the first enquiry or visit at pre-entry stage and support them throughout their time on campus. If you are a student with a physical, sensory or learning disability, medical or mental health condition that impacts on your learning, the Access Office can support you. We welcome and encourage applications and staff are available to answer any questions you may have and help you find out more about the support services on offer.
If you have a disability / specific learning difficulty / significant on-going illness you will be asked to complete this on your CAO application form. You are strongly advised to contact the Access Office as early as possible in the application process as this allows us to prepare and ensure availability of any services and equipment that you may require.
We promote awareness within the college and advocate on the rights of students with disabilities. The Access Office in conjunction with Student Support Services provides dedicated support to those with a disability.
Dyslexia and Learning Support (WRSS)
The Access Office works closely with staff from the Disability and Learning Support (WRSS) where learning supports which help with writing, reading, study skills and exam techniques are available. WRSS offers supports to students with:
Specific learning difficulties
- Asperger’s syndrome
- DCD – Developmental Co-Ordination Disorder
The WRSS provides on campus specialist support for students with Dyslexia and specific learning difficulties throughout the academic year.
- How specific learning difficulties affect student learning
- Professional support and advice
- Needs Assessment
- Funding applications
- Exam accommodations
- Access to assistive technology and training
If you are affected by Dyslexia this Service offers practical support on a number of levels to suit you throughout your time at IADT
Location: Student Services Suite, Carriglea Building
Contact: Gillian Boland / Karen Cryan, Tel: 01 214 4790, Email: wrss@iadt. ie
Full details can be found in the Student Handbook.
- How specific learning difficulties affect student learning
- Specific Learning Difficulties and other conditions affecting students at third level
It is now recognized that students at third level may present with a range of difficulties, some of which are less well known and may not be apparent but nevertheless require appropriate support.
Below is brief overview of some of these specific learning difficulties and other conditions.
- Dyslexia is a combination of abilities and difficulties; the difficulties affect the learning process in aspects of literacy and sometimes numeracy.
- Developmental Co-ordination Disorder means an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, often appearing un-cordinated. Gross and fine motor skills (related to balance and co-ordination) and fine motor skills (relating to manipulation of objects) are hard to learn and difficult to retain and generalise.
- Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty involving the most basic aspect of arithmetical skills. The difficulty lies in the reception, comprehension, or production of quantitative and spatial information.
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) exists with or without hyperactivity. In most cases students with this disorder are often off task, have particular difficulty commencing and switching tasks together with a very short attention span and high levels of distractibility.
How SpLDs affect learning?
- Lack of confidence.
- Difficulty in becoming fluent in a new skill to the point where it becomes automatic, for example reading, writing and driving a car.
- Taking longer to complete tasks than other students.
- Difficulties in organising work and other aspects of their lives.
- A poor sense of passage of time, mixing up dates, times and appointments.
- Poor short-term memory leading to difficulties in carrying out instructions or copying from the board and remembering what has just been read and/or said.
- Difficulties retrieving words when speaking and mispronunciations caused by difficulties in discriminating sounds or motor problems.
- Directional confusions, getting easily lost and having problems using maps or finding their way to a new place.
- Poor motor control resulting in a range of difficulties including controlling a pen leading to untidy handwriting with many crossings out.
- Errors when reading and spelling such as confusion or omission of sounds and/or muddling words.
- Difficulties in retaining the visual image of words, signs, symbols and formulae.
- Difficulties in reading text caused by visual distortions such as blurring or moving letters.
- Difficulties in comprehension despite appearing to read fluently.
- Difficulties in sequencing letters in spelling, or numbers and signs in maths, difficulties taking messages, remembering phone numbers and dialling them accurately.
- Problems with sequencing such as instructions and mathematical procedures, sequencing of numbers or letters and difficulties using dictionaries, encyclopaedias and directories.
- A short attention span and poor concentration.
- Particular susceptibility to stress which may be associated with deadlines or examinations.
- Noticeable inconsistency between what can be achieved on a “good” and “bad” day.
Professional support and advice
The tutors and staff at IADT’s Writing & Research Support Service provide specialist support and advice to students on learning strategies and supports throughout their programme of study. The approach is practical, flexible and student focused, recognising the individuality of the student’s learning profile and their learning needs. With the student’s consent, WRSS liaise with academic staff and provide them with a Student Profile of learning support needs to facilitate wider recognition of their support needs throughout the Institute.
Students registered with the Access Service and WRSS who have evidence of their Specific learning difficulty in the form of a Educational Psychologist Report will benefit from a Needs Asssessment Report. This process involves consideration of the impact of the student’s specific learning difficulty on the requirements of their programme of study. The report identifies the potential challenges for the student and recommends a range of support s to help meet those challenges. The supports may take the form of assistive technology such as screen reading software, small group or individual tutorial support and examination accommodations.
The WRSS support students’ applications to the National Access Office for support funding by providing Needs Assessment Reports and related services. This funding is used to provide assistive technology and other supports.
Students with evidence of a Specific Learning Difficulty are entitled to ‘reasonable accommodations’ in examinations and formal assessments. These include: extra time; waivers for spelling & grammar; use of readers and scribes; use of a computer; separate examination room and other arrangements as appropriate. Eligibility for these accommodations is based on the nature and degree of the student’s specific learning difficulty. In certain circumstances application may be made for alternative assessment arrangements.
Access to assistive technology and training
As part of the Needs Assessment process the student’s requirement and eligibility for assistive technology will be considered. Reccommendations for provision of assistive technology are then made and the student receives support and training from the Assistive Technology Officer throughout their programme
ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (AT in IADT):
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology is any item, whether purchased off the shelf, or customised, which enhances an individual’s access to computers or electronic resources.
Assisistive Technology promotes greater independence by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with computers or electronic resources.
Assistive technologies are commonly used by both those with and without diagnosed disabilities. For example speech recognition software is used by both those who find writing difficult and professionals in the workplace who need to enter a lot of text.
Assistive technologies include text-to-speech screen readers, alternative design keyboards, voice recognition software, and screen magnification software.
Access to Assistive Technology in IADT
To access Assistive Technology(AT) supports you must declare your needs on the CAO or contact the Access office. Assistive Technology needs form part of your overall needs assessment which will be carried out on meeting with the Access office.
If required, an appointment to meet with the AT tutor- Colm Olwill will be arranged. Your IT skills and needs will be discussed and Assistive Technology to suit your needs will then be arranged.This will be followed by training in the use of the Assistive Technology.
AT in IADT
Read and Write Gold is networked in the college computer labs. It is also available in the Library along with book edge scanners for OCR tasks. Other AT is available through the Assisitive Tecnology service.
For students with specific AT needs - a funding application may be made to purchase AT for their use while at IADT.
Assessment / Exam Accommodations
The Institute currently offers a range of assessment / exam accommodations. These supports must be agreed with the Access Officer or Writing and Research Support Service in advance.
- Extra time
- Rest breaks
- Separate examination venues
- Assistive Technology / computer facilities
- Large print exam papers
- Waiver - spelling and grammar
Fund for Students with Disabilities
The fund is made available by the National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education to support the educational and technological needs of students with disabilities in higher education. The Access Officer will make the application to the Fund on your behalf, on the basis of an agreed needs assessment. The fund provides assistance towards the cost of assistive technology, extra tuition, and learning support services. Where funding is provided for the purchase of equipment, the equipment continues to be the property of IADT even when you have completed your studies. This equipment will then be available for allocation to other students.
Do I have to tick the CAO box to say that I have a disability?
No this is optional, however you are strongly advised to disclose in order to receive the supports you require.
I didn’t tick the CAO box to say I have a disability – is it too late to register with Access office now?
No, it is never too late – you can register with the Access Office at any stage during your time at IADT.
I think I have dyslexia. What can I do?
You may only become aware of a learning difficulty such as reading or writing when faced with tasks while at third level education, or you may have thought you had a difficulty at second level and did not disclose. Many students, often mature students have not had a formal diagnosis and the Dyslexia and Learning Support (WRSS) and the Access Office can discuss what options are open to you.