Student with disabilities encouraged to disclose on CAO

Filling out your CAO is a very exciting time for every leaving certificate student. This is the first steps towards the real world for many of us. If like me you have a learning difficultly such as dyslexia, filling out the CAO can be a bit of a challenge and slightly daunting. However there really is nothing to be worried about.

When it comes to filling out your CAO the first thing you need to do is decide what college course is right for you. Having come from the very structured environment that is second level education this can be a very tough decision. The best piece of advice I can give you is to think about what you enjoy most either as a past time or in school. If you do this you should be able come up with a list of possible courses that are right for you. Remember that you know yourself better than anyone else.

After you have decided on the college and course of study that is for you. You will need to fill out your CAO Prior to doing this you should read the CAO handbook careful. If you have any difficulty with this I would strongly encourage you to ask your career guidance councillor for a bit of assistance as they have been the process many times before. Remember no question is a silly question.

If you have a learning disability or physical disability, you should disclose this on your CAO. You can do so by simply ticking the box which relates to disability on the CAO. After ticking the box you will be required to furnish the CAO with some extra information on how your disability has affected your ability to study to date. This is called the supplementary information forum. As part of this process you have to provide a report from an educational psychologist. You should note that this report must be no older than three years to the date of your CAO application.

Many people are concerned about disclosing their disability to the CAO as they believe it might disadvantage them. In fact this couldn’t be further from the truth. The supplementary information is designed to help you. It allows the admissions office in the higher education institution to take all the relevant factors under consideration. In other to give yourself the same chances as everyone else is important to as honest as possible. The information your provide as part of your CAO is confidential.

you’ve got nothing to lose. Tick the box and embrace urability!


Posted in 5584, Disability Campaign | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

USI ICOS International Students Forum

On Tuesday 15th of November USI Equality in Conjunction with ICOS, the Irish Council for International Students held its first International student forum of this academic year.

This forum was a great event and it allowed International Students to have their say in the direction which USI and ICOS will go in for the coming years. It is true to say that both organisations have learned a great deal from this event

After Christmas we will hold a number of other forums around the country so that students who live outside Dublin  have the  chance to voice their opinion, and contribute to the direction of the International Student campaign in USI.

The title of these forums is Listening to International Students.

As a follow on from these USI and ICOS will work together on a number of other projects for International Students. More details will be revealed in the New Year.

You can watch a short video from the Dublin forum here.

Posted in 5584, International Students Campaign | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Young people with disabilities must be consulted as part of disability allowance reform

USI Equality is pleased to see that the government have decided to put a stop on the proposed cuts to a young persons disability allowance for the time being.

Disability allowance is a payment which is essential to for young people with disabilities. This payment has allowed may students to progress on to higher education. In some cases in represents their only source of income.


We recognize that reform of the system in its current format is needed.

We welcome the establishment of a review group and acknowledge that reform of the current system is needed.

We must highlight the importance of consulting with young people with disabilities as part of this review process.

For this reason over the last few weeks we have asked our members to send the email below to their local TDs.

A Chara,

I am writing as your constituent to express my grave concern over the Governments proposed cuts to Disability Allowance of young people in Budget 2012.

Firstly I would like to acknowledge that the Government has agreed to pause current proposed cuts.

Many students with disabilities rely on Disability Allowance as their sole source of income. Proposed cuts to this essential allowance would reduce a person with disabilities monthly income by €523.07. This is simply unacceptable.

Cutting the Disability Allowance shows no awareness by Government of the additional costs associated with disability.

Fine Gael and Labour both made a commitment to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. Do young people with disabilities not count?

I am calling on you as my elected representative to ensure that all these cuts are reversed.

I also call on you to ensure that young people with disabilities are included as part of the review group which will now take place in relation to Disability Allowance. This will ensure that their voice is heard.

Is mise le meas      

Posted in 5584, Disability Campaign | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


College Fair for Students with Disabilities and Specific Learning Difficulties

A unique one-day event for students with a disability or specific learning difficulty considering their college options in Ireland in 2012.  This year the event is hosted by the National College of Art & Design Disability Support Service in association with AHEAD & Disability Advisors Working Network on:

  • Wed 30th November 2011.
  • National College of Art & Design.
  • 10.30 am – 2 pm.

Unmissable for any students considering third level.

This event is key in learning about DARE – Disability Access Route to Education; how to apply for DARE through the CAO and checking out what colleges and institutes of technology have to offer.  There will also be information from others including the Higher Education Authority on student finance, FETAC and Qualifax.

It is the mission of AHEAD, the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability, not just to increase the numbers of students with disabilities in third level education but to ensure that students with disabilities have the same opportunities as their peers in aspiring to a course of their choice.  Where students make informed decisions about college courses there is a lesser chance of drop-out and greater chance of successful progression into the workplace.

This event is FREE and all are welcome, including Students, Guidance Counsellors, Resource Teachers, Learning Support Tutors, SENO’s, NEPS & Parents.

For further information please contact:

Lorraine Gallagher, Information Officer AHEAD

Ph: 01 7164396       Email:




AHEAD, East Hall, UCD, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin

Posted in 5584 | Leave a comment

Artwork, Videography and Photography competition

Competition Extended until Friday December 2nd at 4pm

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and Cosc – the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence( are launching a campaign to encourage third level students to speak up if they know someone who has been affected by Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

Cosc has provided funding to USI under the Cosc Awareness Raising Grant Scheme to promote awareness of domestic and sexual violence among third level students.

USI are running an Artwork, Videography and Photography competition which will begin on Friday 14th October and conclude on Friday 18th of November, 2011.   Alongside the competition USI will distribute wristbands to students to promote awareness of IPV.

Entrants are encouraged to submit works in 2-D or 3-D media (e.g. painting, photography, textiles, sculpture. 2-D work must be suitably framed or mounted to an acceptable standard. The maximum dimension of either 2-D or 3-D artworks,including frame,  should not exceed 100cm in either direction).

Artworks that do not reflect the values of the USI or Cosc will not be accepted. Artworks depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed. Videos should be no longer than 8 minutes in length.

The overall winner of the competition will win an iPad2. It is intended that the winning artwork will be used by USI in raising awareness of IPV in third level colleges.

Please CLICK HERE for an entry form and details of the competition

Additional Info:

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

The term “intimate partner violence” (IPV) refers to the use of physical abuse, including sexual violence, or emotional force or threat of physical force against current and former spouses and/or dating partners. It affects both males and females and is perpetrated by a partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or any other person who has a close relationship with the victim.

IPV is experienced by all nationalities, education levels and ages and can occur in dating relationships, marriages or long term gay or lesbian relationships, often even after the relationship has ended.

IPV goes beyond actual physical violence and exists along a continuum from a single episode of violence to ongoing abuse and can involve: emotional abuse; the destruction of property; isolation from friends, family and other potential sources of support; stalking; and control over access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone.

Domestic violence and sexual violence are both forms of intimate partner violence.

Click here for more information on how to recognise domestic and sexual violence and how you can help someone you know is in an abusive relationship.

Please click here for details of local and national support services.

Examples of Intimate Partner Violence

  • Physical Violence / Abuse: When a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting; slapping; biting; choking; shoving; punching; mutilation; burns; throwing of objects; use of weapons etc.
  • Sexual Violence / Abuse: When a person forces their partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent. Examples are: any form of sexual coercion (physical or emotional) or sexual degradation against an individual; incest; rape between spouses, partners or ex-partners; unwanted touching; causing pain during sex etc.
  • Emotional or Psychological Violence / Abuse: When a person threatens their partner or their possessions or loved ones, or harms their partner’s sense of self-worth. Examples are: humiliation; bullying; exploitation; intimidation; psychological degradation; verbal aggression; undermining of self-esteem; name calling;  continual “put downs” etc.
  • Social Violence / Abuse: When a person systematically isolates their partner from family and friends; forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people etc.

Click here for details of a recent Women’s Aid “2in2u” awareness raising campaign highlighting the issue of violence and abuse against young women in dating relationships.

Domestic violence and sexual violence are both forms of intimate partner violence.

Posted in Campaign Updates, Gender Equality Campaign | Tagged , | Leave a comment

USI ICOS International Students Forum 15th November Mansion House D 2

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) will host a forum entitled “Listening to International Students” in Dublin on Tuesday, 15th November from 6pm-9pm.

The event will provide a platform for students from a variety of countries and colleges to come together to discuss issues of importance to their studies and overall experience in Ireland. It will also be an opportunity for The City of Dublin to welcome international students to the capital and to communicate the value that is placed on their presence here.

Places are limited and will be allocated to make the forum is as inclusive as possible.

To ensure the maximum number of voices are heard, ICOS and USI are also conducting a survey that we invite you to complete.

If you would like to participate in the forum and/or survey, Please click on the link below to register your interest.

Posted in 5584 | Leave a comment

Information Service launched for People with Hearing and Speech Difficulties Minister Joan Burton and Citizens Information Phone Service launch new online information facility to assist those with hearing and speech difficulties

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD recently officially launched a new instant chat information service for  CitizensInformation Phone Service called ‘Live Advisor’ specifically for people with hearing and  speech  difficulties.  The service is funded by theCitizens Information Board.

‘Live Advisor’ is a free, confidential, one-to-one service which provides information on a wide range of social and civil rights and entitlements.   The Live Advisor service, which is user friendly in design, is available between the hours of 9am and 5pm (Monday to Friday) and can be accessed by logging on to .

Commenting at the launch Minister Joan Burton TD said, “The importance of information provision cannot be over emphasized as it is a key element in assisting people to participate in society.  I am very familiar with the fact that people’s rights and entitlements can so often stand or fall on the quality of information available to them and on the level of access to information”

“The Citizens Information Phone Service team is very proud to now be in a position to assist people that previously had difficulty accessing our service.  It is a step forward in our philosophy of inclusion for all” said Deirdre Power, Manager of the Citizens InformationPhone Service (CIPS).


The service was actively promoted in 2010 with relevant voluntary bodies like the Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) Irish Deaf Society, DeafHear, Cork Deaf Association, DFI and MS Ireland.

The Citizens Information Phone Service national helpline (076 107 4000 or 1890 777 121) has experienced a dramatic increase in demand for their services. This year, to the end of August, the service has responded to some 115,000 requests for information and advice on public and social services such as social welfare and employment rights queries.

The general public can continue to make enquiries to CIPS to ensure that the Live Advisor is kept available for people with hearing and speech difficulties.

The Citizens Information Phone Service is an important channel of information for citizens that links in with the other supports provided by the Citizens Information Board including, the country wide network of Citizens Information Services, the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities and MABS.

For further information on the Live Advisor facilities go to


Posted in 5584 | Leave a comment