Thursday, March 23, 2017
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Sarah Lennon assesses the progress of the proposed capacity legislation, and previews the impact that legislation will have on decision-making for people with an intellectual disability

For those who have campaigned for modern capacity law through the years, there was an important milestone recently. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 progressed through select committee stage – which is the third stage in a five-stage process of making law. Stages 4 and 5, called report and final stage respectively, are normally seen as procedural and there is genuine optimism that the end of the road is in sight.

Mick Teehan introduces us to one college student who is realising inclusion and achievement in education.

Meet Stephen Lyons, a student at the Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT) who has travelled his own unique and difficult path towards achieving his goal of attending college and further developing his passion and skills in the area of Creative Digital Media. Stephen is highly regarded by his fellow students and lecturers alike and is described as being an active, contributing and popular student.

Frontline contributors illustrate the difficulties associated with independent living for people who live with intellectual disability.

I feel like I would be better off outside of the area. I don’t feel safe in the area because there are some dangerous people there. There were threats being made, and the guards investigated and they asked if there were more threats afterwards. Two weeks later there were more threats made towards me. I said to the social worker “if you can get me out of the area I would be prepared to move anywhere”.

Andrew Murray tells us about his sucesses in College, sport and his busy work life. Work has made him more independent, allowing him to have new experinces, meet new people and build his confidence.

Andrew-Murray eating food

Born in Hong Kong 7 April 1992. Moved to Dublin in July 2000- I have one older brother, James and a younger Sister, Lianne. I love travelling and meeting people. I play golf, table tennis and basketball with Blackrock Flyers Special Olympics club. I won a silver medal for golf at the national games in Limerick last year. I did the CCL course in Trinity College from 2010 to 2012.

Deirdre Corby highlights the importance of keeping up your reading and writing skills.

Learning language and how to communicate starts from the day you are born. We use language to explain how we feel about things, and to communicate with people around us. While we are learning speech and ways to communicate, we are learning things that will also help us with learning to read and write (literacy). Being able to read and write is important as it helps us in school, in work and in life generally. So, literacy is one of those areas that if we have difficulties with it, that can have an impact on our quality of life.

Anna Kingston regrets the loss of so many of our young people to emigration, and makes a compelling case for meaningful occupation for people with intellectual disability in modern Ireland.

Youth unemployment in Ireland is currently over 22 percent, and Irish parents are heartbroken watching their young adult sons and daughters emigrate to far away shores for work as there is nothing here for them. As difficult as this is, these young people are, in my opinion, lucky as they are able to emigrate and find a meaningful occupation elsewhere...

Anita Stefańska, PhD, University of Poznań, Poland discusses the benefits of drama and theatre in education for people with intellectual disability

Boosting resourcefulness and optimism in people with disabilities, by highlighting their independence and involvement in the creative process, is one of the objectives of the author's concept of the theatre therapy named Theatre of Thought.

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Dr. Sheelah Flatman Watson, Department of Geography, National University of Ireland explains the pathways to support for families after a diagnosis of ID or ASD

Families/guardians of people receiving a diagnosis of intellectual disability (ID) and/or autism spectrum disorder(s) (ASDs) may experience a sense of disempowerment when faced with the prospect of sourcing appropriate educational pathways because they have little or no prior knowledge and/or experience of facilitating special education needs. Some information may have been absorbed through exposure to media coverage, or supporting charity fund-raisers...