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Higher Education Access and Disability

AHEAD offers information and advice on disability supports for higher education students


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in education


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Entering college can be a daunting enough experience for any young person, without throwing worries over how a disability may affect your education into the mix.

Fortunately, that’s where AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access and Disability) is here to help. It’s an independent, not-for-profit organisation that works to promote information about, and access to, disability services for students involved in higher education.

Given the fact that there’s no one, centralised disability service spanning all the different colleges, it can be difficult getting your head around the specific supports available on your campus. AHEAD liaises with individual institutions in order to ascertain what’s on offer for students, and the website Ahead.ie provides invaluable information on areas such as:

  • Assistive technology
  • Classroom assistance
  • Exam supports
  • Interpreting
  • Alternative textbooks
  • Dictation
  • Time
  • Priority registration
  • Disabled access
  • Medical aid

AHEAD also provides information on assisted entry routes to higher education through the DARE scheme. Even if you didn’t get your place using the DARE system, you can still choose to avail of support networks within your institution. If you’re confused about where to look, check out this handy list of college disability services on the AHEAD website. They’re designed to help anyone who is/has:

  • Hard of hearing
  • Blind/partially sighted
  • Impaired mobility
  • Learning difficulties
  • Ongoing illnesses

What’s more, it also offers tips for graduates on how to find a job, and what supports they’re entitled to expect in the workplace. Training and mentoring schemes are offered for participating educational establishments and disability service users. 

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Published November 13th, 2014
Last updated November 28th, 2016
Tags education disability services college
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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