A Guide for Students with Disabilities on Professional Placement in Trinity College
Written by Declan Reilly, Disability Support Services, TCD
The Disability Service in Trinity College Dublin has produced a placement planning guide for students with disabilities on professional courses. Declan Reilly, Disability Officer in Trinity, explains that there are increasing numbers of students with disabilities across the range of professional courses in Trinity College and recent feedback from students and staff has highlighted a shortage of guidance and information in relation to how best to provide supports and accommodations for this student group. The development of this professional placement guide is part of an overall strategy within the Disability Service to support students with disabilities on their journey into professional courses, through placement and on to employment.
The guide supports disclosure and encourages students to contact the Disability Service to explore what supports and accommodations may be relevant for them. A central part of the support process is professional placement planning. In advance of placements beginning, students meet with academic, placement and Disability Service staff to discuss the needs of the student and develop a plan of action. The outcome is an agreed set of reasonable accommodations that will operate on site, during the placement. The guide deals with issues such as disclosure, confidentiality, fitness to practice and reasonable accommodations. It provides step by step guidelines on how to communicate and share information. The key message for students is that we want to encourage disclosure through a supportive process that involves all parties concerned. The key message for staff is that students with disabilities are succeeding in greater numbers on professional courses and that in the vast majority of cases, their support needs are small and easily identifiable.