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Attention all Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students!

Are you a Leaving Certificate Student?

 

DeafHear.ie The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) 2014

 

Are you are a Deaf or Hard of Hearing student doing your Leaving Certificate this year and hoping to get a place in Third Level education? Now is the time for you to start getting ready for college!

The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications to for undergraduate courses in colleges and universities. From November 5th, students can start making applications to the CAO for courses beginning in the Autumn of 2015. But it is not just about identifying the courses that you are interested in… if you are a Deaf or Hard of Hearing student, you need to consider what additional supports you might need to get through that course in college!

 

Applying to the Central Applications Office

  DeafHear.ie The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE). 2014

 

The CAO, which processes applications to third level colleges, is accepting applications from November 5th 2014 to February 1st 2015. This is the time period when Leaving Certificate students wishing to get a place in third level education in the autumn of 2015 must complete their CAO application and indicate their preferred courses.

The CAO application form includes a section where students can indicate if they have a disability and/or a specific learning difficulty, and if they wish to be considered for the DARE scheme (Disability Access Route to Education) in their college application. While it is not necessary to declare if you have a disability or specific learning difficulty, DeafHear strongly encourages Deaf and Hard of Hearing students to declare their hearing loss in their CAO form. We are aware that many Deaf and Hard of Hearing students don’t do this...and while it does not reduce their chances of getting a place in college, DeafHear has evidence to suggest it could make their college experience more difficult and increase the chances
of them dropping out of college.

 

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Underrepresented

The Department of Education has been trying in recent years to increase the numbers of students with disabilities in higher education and it has met with some success in this area. However, a recent consultation paper from the Higher Education Authority noted that the ‘target for those who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing was not achieved’. DeafHear is also aware of a number of cases in recent years where Deaf and Hard of Hearing students got places in third level colleges, but later dropped out because they found their courses too difficult and stressful. In most of these cases the students had not disclosed their hearing loss on their CAO application or sought support from college access officers until it was too late.

 

Higher Education Authority recognises Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students underrepresented

 

Figures from the National Council for Special Education indicate that up to half of all Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in second level education are NOT receiving any additional or specialist educational supports, such as support from the Visiting Teacher Service. In practice most of these students have hearing aids and/or access to other assistive technology, and they have learned to manage relatively independently in their school environment, often with the support and cooperation of classroom teachers. This support might include some extra tuition or sitting at the front of the class to facilitate lipreading. ‘While it is generally a good thing that students are as independent as possible, Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in secondary schools are not familiar with the more challenging learning environment of colleges and universities’, says Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Information and Advocacy. ‘Many students are reluctant to register for access supports when they are applying to go to college and are often not aware that they are going to need them when they get there’, he adds.

The learning environment in a Third Level college places different demands on students compared to a secondary school. This can be challenging for any student, but things like large lecture theatres, poor acoustic environments, and less personal contact with tutors and lecturers can make college life particularly challenging for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. Indicating that you have a disability on your CAO application will not affect your application in any way, but it will mean that if you be offered a place in college, you will be able to get the supports you need more easily.

 

Communication Supports in Third Level

There are three common access supports provided to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in Third Level education. These are: Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreters may be provided for a student whose first language is ISL; note takers who assist by taking notes for a student, and ‘captioners’, who type on a laptop screen what is being said in a lecture or tutorial. A student who has indicated that they have a disability on their CAO form will be contacted by the Access Office of the college to assess their support and access needs.

 

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a college and university scheme which offers places on courses on a reduced points basis to school leavers under 23 years old with disabilities who have completed a Leaving Certificate.

 

  DeafHear.ie The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE). 2014

 

What is DARE?

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a college and university scheme which offers places on courses on a reduced points basis to school leavers under 23 years old with disabilities who have completed a Leaving Certificate. The DARE scheme was set up to help increase the number of students with disabilites as evidence shows that disability can have a negative effect on how well a student does at school.

Research shows that this is certainly true for students with hearing loss, and again, DeafHear encourages Deaf and Hard of Hearing students to avail of this scheme if they are applying to the CAO. Typically, students who apply and are eligible for the DARE scheme may be offered places on courses where they have 15–20 points less than the usual minimum points requirement for the course.

 

Not sure what to do?

If you are a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Leaving Certificate student and you are unsure about what to do next, we recommend that you talk to your parents, teachers and guidance counsellor, if available. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact your local DeafHear Resource Centre and we will do our best to get you the information you need.

 

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Related to this story…

STORY OF THE MONTH:
November 2014

A student with hearing loss tells us about her experience in third level education.
The story is timely: recently the Higher Educatiion Authority acknowledged that the targets for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in third level education have not been reached. Read On…

DeafHear.ie SOTM November 2014: Ciara’s Story

More information on DARE here: accesscollege.ie/dare

Check out details of AHEAD’s Better Options College Fair on November 24th here: www.ahead.ie/betteroptions

If you are concerned about hearing loss and would like to talk to someone, contact your local DeafHear Resource Centre. (view)

 

 

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more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.

 

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