Friday, April 28, 2017
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Jeanette McCallion welcomes movement towards a community-based social care model, but cautions that complex medical needs among people with intellectual disability still require medical services, previously provided in congregated settings, to be maintained and improved in this environment.

Jeanette and Cliona

In December last I watched RTE’s Primetime Investigates on Áras Attracta, Bungalow 3. Knowing in advance that the footage would be bad, I debated with myself whether I should make myself watch it or not. The main reason for my unease is that my seventeen year old sister Cliona has profound ID as well as an extreme epilepsy syndrome that no seizure drug has ever been able to influence.

Registered Intellectual Disability Nurses (RNID’s) are unique, being the only group of professionals who are educated solely to work with people with an intellectual disability (ID) (Northway et al 2006). This specialised education is only available in Ireland and the UK. RNIDs work in a wide range of settings, and have a diversity of roles and skills (one of which is care planning)

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”.

Andra and her family live with Kyle’s Autism and Epilepsy in a tough environment for services, which brings the concept of Quality Of Life sharply into focus…

Kyle

Quality of Life can mean a lot of things to society as a whole. For most people, it means a good job, nice house and car, family and money for luxuries, and then you are pretty much all set - right?...

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...

Emma Dunne, whose daughter has autism, says that respite is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

As a parent cuddling my new baby, ‘respite’ was never a term or an idea that entered my head. To be honest, I had no real understanding of what that term entailed or would later come to mean in my daughter’s life, and mine. When Tess was born, I dreamed of my daughter growing up and all the typical girly adventures she would have and how nice it was that she had a sister to share all these moments with—school, boyfriends, weddings, babies—the list in my head was endless. Then, two and a half years later, without welcome or warning, came the diagnosis of autism.

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by Sean Bohan

Marie is a 57-year-old woman. She came from Athlone to live in Moore Abbey Institution in Monasterevin in 1980 and she lived in what was known as ‘Main House,’ in a large unit style setting for group living. During the 1980s, Marie moved into a community residential house with 4 other people and she attended a day service with 16 other people...

Stephen Lawless tells us Philip’s story.

Alvernia House, in Portlaoise, closed its doors on 4 September 2012, with 27 people with intellectual disability moving into alternate living arrangements in community settings in the Midland area. The following is an account of one of these people, Philip Brady, and his progress so far in his new home...

Stephen Keating tells the story of Jim Kinsella, a former resident of Alvernia House.

Little was known about Jim when the initial project team first met him in May 2012. There was very brief information as to his level of ability—but nothing about him as a person. The person introduced to the support team on that first meeting at Alvernia House was a physically imposing man. The Muiríosa team were feeling apprehensive, as indeed was Jim...