Thursday, March 23, 2017
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Geraldine McCabe details her experience of how the Irish education system is failing our children with Intellectual Disabilities. This article was originally a submission by Geraldine McCabe to the UN Day of General Discussion (DGD) on the right to education for persons with disabilities, held on 15 April 2015, at Palais des Nations, Geneva.

My experience relates to my daughter Shannon- Shannon has Down Syndrome and her experience highlights the difficulties children with special needs have in getting the opportunity to develop and contribute to society.

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.

Mei Lin Yap’s first piece for Frontline reflects on a full, vibrant and dynamic life lived with Down Syndrome.

My motivation in life is the desire to succeed -the urge to reach my full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. I found out I have Down Syndrome when I was in my teens, up to then although I knew people who have Intellectual disabilities it never occurred to me that I have one too.

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”.

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...

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Freddie Wood explains in detail the various heart conditions that can affect those with Down Syndrome.

I have been very privileged over three decades of professional life to treat many babies and children with Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome occurs approximately one...

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Máiríde Woods writes about the delicate relationship between the parents of those with an intellectual disability and the professionals who treat their children.

IN 1975, I picked up a magazine in the waiting room of an intellectual disability centre where we had gone to have our little daughter assessed. There were the usual pictures of open days, outings, accounts of great leaps forward. But the article I remember was the story of a boy from a remote area who entered the agency’s residential school at four years of age, unable to speak or play properly. After a few years of care and stimulation at the school, he was pronounced ‘normal’ and left. His apparent intellectual disability was the result of a deprived home background...

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John Cullinan, NUI Galway, argues that in terms of educational attainment, labour market outcomes and social participation people with disabilities fare significantly worse across a wide range of measures.

In a much-cited speech to the World Bank in 2004, the Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen made a distinction between two types of economic costs, or what he called ‘handicaps’, that tend to be associated with disability (Sen 2004). First, according to Sen, individuals with disabilities face lower human capital accumulation (e.g. education) possibilities, are less likely to be employed, and even if employed are likely to have lower earnings. This he called an ‘earnings handicap’. Second, because individuals with disabilities tend to have extra needs, they face greater difficulties in achieving economic well-being from a given level of resources, i.e. they face what Sen called a ‘conversion handicap’. Together these two types of economic costs have very significant implications for the economic situation of the disabled population and their families. In this context, this article reviews the evidence on these costs in Ireland and discusses their implications for poverty, deprivation, economic hardship and social exclusion. It also sets out some thoughts on an appropriate public policy response...

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Jonathan and Fionn Angus write on how an unfortunate break from school led to an appearance on RTÉ’s Saturday Night Show and so much more.

To introduce ourselves, Fionnathan comes from Fionn and Jonathan. Fionn is a young man who completed secondary school this year in County Clare, and Jonathan is his father. The two of us decided to set up this project when we met with adverse circumstances. The mainstream secondary school had made a decision to exclude Fionn halfway through his first year of the Leaving Cert Applied programme. They were wrong to do this, and we proved as much, winning an appeal to have him reinstated. But the process took four months, during which his mother and father (both trained teachers) home-schooled him. His mother taught the core subjects, which left his father the fun job: helping him to explore and develop what he loved...