IT Carlow and Laois Education Centre collaborate to facilitate students with disabilities

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Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Registrar, IT Carlow, Angela Costelloe, Disability Officer, Institute of Technology Carlow, and Catherine Doolan, Laois Education Centre

Institute of Technology Carlow and Laois Education Centre have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to see a greater transition of students with disabilities to higher education.

Under a programme entitled Enabling Transitions, IT Carlow will collaborate with Laois Education Centre to deliver a continuous professional training (CPT) model for secondary school teachers and senior cycle students.

It will involve assistive technologies such as Echo smart pens, reader pens, speech recognition software, mind-mapping software, and magnification and screen reading software.

The overall objective is to ease the transition into higher education for students with disabilities and harness assistive technology to see them achieve their optimum potential. 

IT Carlow is one of a number of higher education institutes in the designed South East Cluster that secured funding under the ‘SOAR’ project for three separate platforms: Enabling Transitions; Travellers in Education; and Connecting Communities Connecting Curriculum.

Each platform aims to increase participation by specific categories of students, including students with disabilities. The collaboration with Laois Education Centre is part of the Enabling Transitions programme.

Laois Education Centre provides continuous professional development for the educational community in Laois, and parts of Offaly and North Tipperary.

Catherine Doolan, Director of Laois Education, said she was "delighted" to work with IT Carlow on this very exciting project.

"I believe this partnership will bear fruit for both students and teachers in the Laois catchment area, providing very valuable support in the area of assistive technology in advance of transition to third-level," Ms Doolan added.

"Our partnership with Laois Education Centre is of strategic importance. Embedding a model that promotes post-project sustainability is critical to the success of SOAR.

"The CPD model used by Laois Education Centre is perfect for this purpose and we look forward to working together to achieve our ambition", said David Denieffe, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Registrar at Institute of Technology Carlow.