Friday, April 28, 2017
Frontline Issue 93
frontline 93


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Darshini Ramasubbu on how important it is to make dental visits as easy as possible

Dental care can be challenging for anyone, with phobia of visits to the dentist being very common and understandably so—dental surgeries can be intimidating places, with unfamiliar people, noises and equipment. For those with intellectual disability, it is important to make dental visits as easy as possible so that phobia or fear does not develop...

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Dr B Ramasubbu, Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, says that the flu vaccine should be taken by those with an intellectual disability this winter.

The flu can make us miserable. Fevers, cough, congestion and fatigue make even the nicest winter morning seem dark and gloomy. Muscle aches, joint pains and a splitting headache can leave us trapped in the house and stuck in bed. A terrible way to spend the winter months, especially with Christmas around the corner! The flu is caused by a virus (‘Influenza Virus’) that peaks in a seasonal pattern during the winter months and spreads from person to person through sneezing, coughing or touching contaminated surfaces...

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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...

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Alison Harnett on new initiatives to provide individual supports for people with disabilities.

The Next Steps Project is a community of learning facilitating the movement to a more individual approach to supporting people. It is working with people themselves, their families and service providers to support people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland to achieve greater independence and full active citizenship...

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Stephen Kealy recently interviewed two women who, with their husbands, have raised children with mild intellectual disabilities. Both the ‘children’ are now adults, in their thirties. The man lives independently, near his parents’ home; the woman continues to live with her parents. Both have held part-time jobs for several years, and they receive back-up support from intellectual disability services—one provides a day service and the other provides independent living support and a job coach.

by Tricia Donlon

Earlier this year Winnie celebrated 50 years of a very full life. Next year, St Christopher’s, a service with a long association with Winnie’s parents and Winnie herself, will be celebrating 50 years of provision to families and their children with an intellectual disability. Winnie’s story and that of St Christopher’s go hand in hand, as Mel, her father, has been an integral part of the organisation since its foundation. 2014 will see five decades of Mel’s continuous involvement...

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Ann Marie O’Brien says it’s important to consult with your child when planning for their future

A few weeks ago a group of friends were out and somebody mentioned the 5-year plan. It brought back memories of a few years ago. During my days in nursing when we were newly trained graduates, we all had a five -year plan. Our aims included getting experience in our relevant fields, getting some finance together, travelling the world and, if we met a significant other in that time, that was all the better. Life went on and we went our separate ways, but we still stayed in contact...

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by Stephen Kealy

Stephen Kealy

This issue of Frontline looks at some of the issues that families live with in providing for their disabled son or daughter over the life span. Parents very often talk about hearing the news of their child’s disability and they describe it in many different ways. Others identify how disability has changed their lives and permeates their day-to-day living; they talk about the ongoing struggles for services, and even the right to be heard. For many parents, this is a journey into a labyrinth—with many false starts and cul de sacs. The journey to the centre of the labyrinth can be lonely and anxiety provoking. When that centre is reached, many parents hope their son or daughter will have honed their hard won skills to be able to live ‘independent lives’, but they are often frustrated by the unreliability of state and community supports to facilitate that continuing journey for their family member...

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Tamar Heller, Head of the Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago and director of its University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities for the State of Illinois explains why the siblings of those with an intellectual disability can play a key role in supporting their brothers and/or sisters

Tamar Heller and her sister Daphne Ron

Siblings of adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) are an untapped resource in supporting and advocating for their siblings. At the same time many of these siblings that are playing large roles in the lives of their brothers or sisters with disabilities also would benefit from recognition and support for these roles. Generally siblings are the most long-lasting relationships, as siblings often grow up in the same households and outlive their parents...

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‘Break barriers, open doors—for an inclusive society for all.’ That was the theme of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2013. Members of the self-advocates’ sub-committee of the Board of Inclusion Ireland marked the important day by briefing Oireachtas members, before a formal meeting the following day with Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State with responsibility for disability issues. Brendan O’Connor, Deputy Editor of the Sunday Independent, chaired the briefing...