Course at WIT for students with intellectual disabilities gives Tipperary man experience of college life

Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) QQI Level 3 Certificate in Skills for Independent Living promotes the inclusion of adults with intellectual disabilities in third level education

An information event for WIT’s Certificate in Skills for Independent Living (CSIL), which gives students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to experience college life, takes place on 18 February.

Course at WIT for students with intellectual disabilities gives Tipperary man experience of college life

Pictured at the conferring in October 2015 are Waterford Institute of Technology Certificate in Skills for Independent Living graduates.

The QQI Level 3 approved course is specifically developed for people with intellectual disabilities. It has also enrolled students with acquired brain injury. It is delivered on a part-time basis, two days per week, over two academic years (24 weeks per year). Modules include Personal Effectiveness, Application of Numbers, Communication and Computer Literacy, Functional Maths, Health & Fitness, Work Experience and Career Development.

“This course hopes to help students develop a love for lifelong learning and enable students to be fully inclusive in third level community life. Enhancing individual employability, broadening an individual’s horizons and fulfilling a person’s individual educational interests are further outcomes of this qualification,” explained Martha Dunworth-Fitzgerald, course leader.

She urges service providers, individuals and their families to come along to an open event at WIT’s Department of Nursing & Health Care on Thursday, 18 February 2016 to find out more. The event takes place on WIT’s main campus in the O’Connell Bianconi Building in room G19 between 11am and 1pm. The closing date for applications is 6 April, with interviews and numeracy/literacy assessments also taking place in April.

“With the embracement of a social model of care, deinstitutionalization and contemporary changes in legislation, intellectual disability services have seen significant change in recent years,” said Dunworth-Fitzgerald.

“This is particularly true in an Irish context and with so many services now engaged in decongregation this QQI Level 3 course is particularly relevant and pertinent. Intellectual disability students have the right to attend third level education along with their non-disabled peers. The benefits of this course are vast and far reaching and student’s self-confidence and self-belief can considerably improve. Families too and the wider WIT community reap massive benefits from the course.”

Lorraine Dillon has recently come on board as part of the WIT lecturing team and will support Dunworth-Fitzgerald in leading the course. Both have significant experience working in intellectual disability services and are very much aware of the need to ensure inclusive education for all.

Brian Cullivan who lives  with his family in Killenaule, Co Tipperary is a graduate of the course. Brian said “he thought it was very interesting to go to college, meet new people and also get the opportunity to live away from home for the two days I was in college. It was great to graduate last year.”

His advice to anyone thinking about doing the course “don’t be nervous and ask for support if you need it.”

Siobhan Flynn, Learning, Development & Advocacy Officer from the Brothers of Charity Services South East supports the programme as a link between WIT, services and families. She said: “This course has given the students the belief that they are valued members of society and that they too can do the same as everybody else.”

“Since 2010 we have had two groups of students who have graduated with their QQI level 3 qualification. Graduation day for all students is very important not only for the student but also for their families. Many students who have completed the CSIL course never thought they would get the opportunity to go to third level education and graduate just like other members of their families. It is a wonderful experience to be part of and to see the development of students as they go through their two years of college life.”

Email mdunworth@wit.ie or ldillon@wit.ie with your postal address for an application form or phone 051 845551.

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