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Disability Support in Online Learning
The process of assessing the needs of students with disabilities and identifying appropriate supports largely looks at the overlap between the impact of disability and the demands of the course/environment. Since the pandemic, the latter has shifted significantly as we move towards online and hybrid approaches.
Facing into this reality, disability support staff, in conjunction with students and other colleagues, are creating dynamic and innovative new practices and initiatives that embrace modern technology. As we look toward a sustainable future for our students with disabilities, one that has them at the centre, now is an opportunity to share some of the innovative practices and projects that have embedded inclusion and the lessons learned which the sector needs to hold on to.
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Pre-recorded Sessions and Poster
Pre-recorded Sessions and Poster
Week 3 Pre-Record 1
- Personal Assistants in the Virtual World of Further Education
Angela Fahy, Personal Assistant, Kinsale College of Further Education
Angela Fahy Personal Assistant, Kinsale College of Further Education
Angela has been a Personal Assistant in Kinsale College for two years. She is a mother of three and is heavily involved in coaching in sport. Angela feels that she gives students an opportunity to participate equally in a classroom setting. She has completed courses in Autism Studies, UDL and Early Childhood Care and Education.
Gail Jones Personal Assistant, Kinsale College of Further Education
Gail Jones has been working in Kinsale College for four years. She is a mother of two. Gail holds a qualification in Early Childhood Care & Education and has completed courses in Autism Studies, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Eirim Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing, UDL, Narrative 4 Story Telling Facilitator Training and she is currently studying Level 7 Early Childhood Care & Education.
Week 3 Pre-Record 2
- The Unexpected Advantages of a Global Pandemic When Losing Your Sight! Managing an Acquired Disability During Education
Caroline Lane, Children and Young Person's Team Lead, National Council for the Blind Ireland
Caroline Lane Children and Young Person's Team Lead, National Council for the Blind Ireland
Caroline Lane is the Children and Young Persons (CYP) Team Lead with NCBI, Ireland's national sight loss agency providing support and services to people experiencing sight loss. Caroline has worked with NCBI for over 17 years and has been central to the move to the creation of a dedicated service to Children and Young People with Vision Impairment. As a qualified Low Vision Therapist with a Master's in Education, Caroline leads NCBI's multi-disciplinary CYP team focussed on ensuring that children and young people are enabled to overcome the barriers that impede their independence and participation in society. Caroline has a keen interest in early intervention and has implemented a number of successful projects based around transitional planning at early years, primary and secondary level.
Denis Ryan Undergraduate Student, University of Limerick
Denis Ryan is a 3rd year Biomedical Engineering student at the University of Limerick. Hailing from Tipperary, he sees the vibrancy of the industry in Ireland and is keen to use his skills following graduation on combining technology and biology to meet people's healthcare needs. Denis experienced a sudden and dramatic loss of vision in early 2020 resulting in a significant challenge in accessing and producing material to continue with his coursework. Despite this, Denis continued with his studies engaging with disability support professionals to create tailor made intervention plans supporting him to develop assistive technology and compensatory access skills
Maya Flynn Student
Maya Flynn is a 1st year Speech and Language Therapy student from Wicklow who is living on campus in UCC and enjoying her newfound independence. Maya has been visually impaired since childhood, however she developed cataracts and a further loss of vision in 2019 when she was in 6th year studying for her Leaving Cert. Maya had to modify how she learnt, make greater use of technology and develop a whole new set of skills, as well as managing the shift to online learning during COVID-19.
Week 3 Pre-Record 3
- What Bookshare Can Do for You?
Lina Kouzi, National Library Manager at the National Council for the Blind of Ireland
Lina Kouzi National Library Manager at the National Council for the Blind of Ireland
Lina is the National Library Manager at National Council for the Blind of Ireland. She is a qualified Librarian with over 20 years of experience working in specialist libraries. Lina is heading up the project to develop digital library services for higher education in Ireland. A graduate from The American University of Beirut, Strathclyde University and The University of Sheffield, Lina has experience in working with different collections and library audiences, and has a keen interest in developing accessible curriculum in mainstream education.
Week 3 Pre-Record 4
- Connecting Online: Webinar series for Student Success
Gerard Gallagher, Disability Advisor, Maynooth University
Gerard Gallagher Disability Advisor, Maynooth University
Gerard is a disability activist and rising leader in higher education. He has long championed the rights of people with disabilities. As a student himself, he lead the first society in the country for students with disabilities and was also elected as Equality Officer to USI. Having a primary degree in Social Science from UCD. He is also a graduate of UCD's Equality Studies MA programme. He joined Maynooth University in 2013 and supports students with multiple disabilities. He also supports the day to day management of the Disability Office.
Aoife Mulrooney Assistant Psychologist, National Learning Network & Maynooth University
Aoife is an Assistant Psychologist with the National Learning Network and Maynooth University. She joined the team in Maynooth University in 2019. She provides individualised support to harness student success and retention in university. She holds a BA in Psychology from Maynooth University and later graduated with an MA in Applied Psychology from Trinity College Dublin. Aoife specialised in online mental health supports when completing her masters dissertation. She now leads the development of a suite of online group support sessions for students with mental health conditions and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Keeva Kavanagh Assistant Psychologist, National Learning Network & Maynooth University
Keeva is an Assistant Psychologist with the National Learning Network and Maynooth University. She joined the team in Maynooth University in 2020. She provides specialised support to students with ADD, DCD and Mental Health Conditions. She delivers the Student Central Webinars. She holds a degree in Social Science from UCD and an MA in Psychological Studies from the same institution.
Week 3 Pre-Record 5
- From Reasonable Adjustment to Inclusive Practice? Exploring the Influence of Lecture Capture Technology on the Academic Outcomes and Learning Experiences of Disabled Students in Higher Education
John Harding, Head of the Disability Resource Centre, University of Cambridge
John Harding Head of the Disability Resource Centre, University of Cambridge
John has been the Head of the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) at the University of Cambridge since 2008. The DRC is the University of Cambridge’s student service for disabled students and those staff supporting disabled students. John has worked as a practitioner and managed teams of specialists in the field of disability support in both further and higher education for the last fourteen years. During that time he has worked on the development of more inclusive and supportive policies in relation to disabled students. John is currently studying for a Doctorate in Education (focus on inclusive teaching and learning).
Week 3 Poster 1
- Returning to Work After Acquired Brain Injury: A Mixed Method Case Study
Valerie Burke, Vocational Facilitator, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland
Valerie Burke Vocational Facilitator, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland
Valerie has a B.A. and M.Sc. in Psychology. She conducted this research with her colleagues Ms Emer Duffy and Ms Laura O'Rourke during her time working with the Step Ahead Vocational Rehabilitation service with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. Ms Emer Duffy is a senior occupational therapist with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. Ms Laura O'Rourke has a B.A. and M.Sc. in Psychology and has recently qualified as a behaviour specialist. We believe that everyone has the right to work.
Emer Duffy Acquired Brain Injury Ireland
Emer has a passion for working in the disability sector and rehabilitative services. Emer has been with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland for 2 years. Prior to this she worked in Beaumont and held a private practice. Emer has a masters in OT and is interested in mental health and empowering those who use her services. Emer told me when I first began my vocational facilitator role in ABII "everyone has a right to work and live the life they please".
Thursday 22 April
Thursday 22 April
15.00-16.00 - Week 3 Keynote (Live and Recorded)
- Are We There Yet?… The Long Journey to Accessible Learning Experiences
DÃ³nal Rice, Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, National Disability Authority
Dónal Rice Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, National Disability Authority
Dónal Rice works with the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority (NDA). In March 2021 he changed role to head up NDA’s function as the National Monitoring Body under the EU Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies. Previously, Dónal worked as a senior universal design advisor with the CEUD and as the first Public Sector Duty Manager with the Irish Human Rights Equality Commission. Dónal has worked on national and international guidelines, standards, policy, education and technical projects with the NDA, the European Commission, and UN agencies such as UNESCO and the ITU. Dónal has been an evaluator of FP6, FP7 and more recently Horizon 2020 projects. Dónal is an associate lecturer on human rights and equality with the Institute of Public Administration and is undertaking an LLM by research with NUI Galway.
Alistair McNaught Alistair McNaught Consultancy Ltd
Alistair taught in further education for 20 years. His passion for giving students options, responsibility and independence led to the early adoption of e-learning across a large 6th form department. He moved into a national role with Becta in 2000 and in 2004 was appointed as a Senior Advisor for the Jisc TechDis service, advising the post-16 sector in using technology to support disabled students. Since 2000, he has supported every flavour of post-16 education from work-based learning to universities, offender learning to FE and adult community learning. He left Jisc in 2019 to work as an independent consultant.
16.00 to 16.30 Reconnection Space (Live Only)
- A meeting space to join for unstructured networking and chat with other conference participants. Meet new colleagues and build your inclusive community.
Friday 23 April
Friday 23 April
14:00-15:20 - Parallel 1: Workshop (Live Only)
- Online Social Support Group for Autistic Students – A Pilot Project as a Response to the Restrictions of Covid-19
Sharron Sturgess, Study Adviser for Autism and Asperger Syndrome University of Leicester UK
Sharron Sturgess Study Adviser for Autism and Asperger Syndrome University of Leicester UK
Sharron started her career in teaching before moving to Loughborough University to work as a Disability Officer in 2004. She progressed to managing the service and at the same time began to specialise in supporting students with autism, completing a PGCert in Asperger Syndrome in 2012 and a Masters in Education (Autism) in 2018 for which she received the Course Directors' prize for this research project. Sharron now works as the autism specialist Study Adviser at the University of Leicester, and she started an EdD in September 2019.
Zyggy Banks University of Leicester
Zyggy Banks started his career as a 1:1 support worker at the University of Leicester, before progressing to the role of Specialist Mentor and Study Skills Support for autistic students. He was project partner on the two and a half year An Auternative research project which examined the barriers, specific and systemic that are faced by autistic people as well as the strategies used to overcome them. A selection of results from this project were published in the Neurodiversity Reader Journal.
14:00-15:20 - Parallel 2: Themed Presentations (Live and Recorded)
- Launchpad Online: How Student Ownership can Transform an Orientation Programme
Simon Ahern, Educational Technology Officer, Maynooth University
Simon Ahern Educational Technology Officer, Maynooth University
Simon works as the Educational Technology Officer within the Maynooth University Access Programme (MAP) where he coordinates the post-entry supports for Maynooth University students connected to MAP and promotes the use of innovative educational technology solutions. Simon is also a Director of the ALL Institute: Assisting Living and Learning. Simon holds a Diploma in Assistive Technology, a BA in Politics and Linguistics and an MA in Linguistics from UCD, and an MSc in Speech and Language Processing from the University of Edinburgh. His areas of special interest include integrating technology into students' daily life as well as accessibility and inclusivity.
Martha Brandes Outreach Officer, Maynooth University
Martha Brandes is the Outreach Officer at Maynooth University responsible for developing programmes and activities that increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds who enter Maynooth University each year. Martha is a political science graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds a post-graduate certificate in Equality Studies from UCD.
- Roadmap: An Online Evidence-based and Innovative Support Tool for Students with Disabilities
Valerie Van Hees, Coordinator of the Support Centre for Inclusive Higher Education (SIHO, Belgium)
Valerie Van Hees Coordinator of the Support Centre for Inclusive Higher Education (SIHO, Belgium)
Valérie Van Hees is the Coordinator of the Support Centre for Inclusive Higher Education (SIHO, Belgium) and has accumulated over 19 years of experience in the field of policy and services on social inclusion in higher education, mainly focusing on students with a disability. At SIHO, she forms a bridge between policy and practice on a daily basis, being a point of contact for both the Flemish Government and higher education staff. Valérie coordinates the inclusive mobility project ‘Establishing a thought-out Policy Framework on Inclusive Mobility across Europe’ (EPFIME).
The Support Centre for Inclusive Higher Education (SIHO) is a collaboration between the Flemish Government and all Flemish Higher Education Institutions. SIHO serves both policy makers and institutions in the development and implementation of inclusion and equity measures for inclusive higher education.
Dominique Montagnese Support Centre for Inclusive Higher Education (SIHO, Belgium)
Dominique Montagnese is an expert on Inclusive Mobility for the Support Centre for Inclusive Higher Education (SIHO, Belgium). He has been working with international mobility programmes for more than ten years and with social inclusion in mobility for more than six years. He is the initiator of several projects linking disability and Erasmus+ mobilities, such as MapAbility, MappED! and the Inclusive Mobility Alliance which he currently chairs. Dominique contributes to the current development of the platform inclusivemobility.eu, which will be the platform for inclusive mobility across the European Higher Education Area.
- Mental Health Awareness & Inclusion
Carol Neenan, Active Inclusion Officer, Cork Education and Training Board (CETB)
Carol Neenan Active Inclusion Officer, Cork Education and Training Board (CETB)
Carol works in Cork Active Inclusion Network and is an Active Inclusion Officer CETB.
After three decades working as a teacher in the Further Education sector of the CETB, Carol was appointed as Active Inclusion Officer in December 2019. She has always been a very learner centered teacher, and her new role allows her to effect a myriad of positive changes for those in need of support. Many years ago when F.E. colleges were asked to provide new material, she wrote both the "Mental Health Awareness" and "Boundary Management" components for QQI Level 6. Her own personal journey along with the contacts she has made and continues to make, have prompted her to present on a topic that is very close to her heart.
15.30-16.30 Weekly Close and Reflection (Live Only)
- A facilitated dialogue on the Week 3 conference theme and a space to discuss the issues and questions raised
Dr Marian McCarthy, Vice President Emerita Teaching and Learning, University College Cork
Dr Marian McCarthy Vice President Emerita Teaching and Learning, University College Cork
Dr Marian McCarthy is a former Vice President for Teaching and Learning at UCC, a Fellow of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and a Senior Lecturer in Education. She was co-founder and director of UCC’s Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning. Her research interests include Multiple Intelligences theory, Teaching for Understanding, Universal Design for Learning and the Arts in Education.
Marian is a member of the Senate of the NUI and a former Governor of UCC. She also served on the Board of Directors of AHEAD, in which she has a keen interest.
Dr Vivian Rath National Disabled Postgraduate Advisory Committee
Vivian is the Organiser of the National Disabled Postgraduate Advisory Committee and the TCD Forum for Disabled Staff and Postgraduate Students. Vivian is an academic, a human and disability rights advocate and a change maker. He is currently an Adjunct Teaching Fellow in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) School of Education and the Research Officer with the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD). His Ph.D, titled the “social engagement experiences of disabled students in higher education in Ireland”, focused on the areas of disabled student social engagement, transitions, voice and belonging.