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Applying for higher education supports

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Getting into college is a challenge for many students, one which is all the more difficult for anyone who has had their second level education impacted by illness, disability or learning difficulties.

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The Disability Access Route to Education scheme (DARE) seeks to level the playing field for such students by providing pre and post entry supports when applying to participating Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) through the Central Applications Office (CAO) and is open to school leavers who meet the eligibility criteria and are under the age of 23 as of January 1, 2022. To be deemed eligible for DARE students need to meet the Educational Impact Criteria and the Evidence of Disability Criteria.

As part of pre-entry supports the DARE scheme offers reduced points places to eligible students under the following categories - Autistic Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD and ADHD), Blind/Vision Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, DCD – Dyspraxia, Mental Health Condition, Neurological Condition, Speech & Language Communications Disorder, Significant Ongoing Illness, Physical Disability, Specific Learning Difficulty. To find out more information on the eligibility criteria under each category, see www.accesscollege.ie. The reduction in points for DARE places can vary each year and applicants must still meet the minimum subject specific requirements for their chosen courses.

Deadlines and Application Process

The first step is to apply to the CAO via www.cao.ie, which is now open, by February 1, 2022. Once this is done, DARE applicants have until March 1 to indicate that they wish to be considered for the scheme and to complete Section A of the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) which includes a short personal statement about the impact of the illness, disability or learning difficulty on their education. By March 15, Sections B and C must be completed, signed, stamped and returned to CAO by post. Faxed or emailed documents will not be accepted. This supporting documentation is used to establish whether or not an applicant meets the eligibility criteria for DARE and it is used by the colleges and universities to determine the kinds of supports that might be needed on entry to college. Section B, the Educational Impact Statement (EIS) must be completed by the school, indicating how the illness, disability or learning difficulty has impacted on the second level experience of the applicant. Section C looks for the provision of Evidence of Disability Documentation from the appropriate professional and can be provided in a number of ways – an existing report from the appropriate professional or a completed Evidence of Disability Form 2022 which can be downloaded from www.cao.ie or www.accesscollege.ie. In addition, some evidence may be required to have been completed in a particular timeframe. All deadlines are strict and non-negotiable so it is important to start applications well in advance of the final dates, to avoid unnecessary stress.

Benefits

As well as reduced points, there are lots of other supports offered to students who qualify for DARE and may include some of the following: orientation programmes, learning support, assistive technology, library support, exam accommodations, educational support worker and academic tuition. The provision of such supports seeks to level the playing pitch for entry to and access through higher education by widening opportunities for students who have a significant challenge in terms of their participation, experience and learning in secondary school.

Information events on DARE take place in various HEIs throughout the year, so check out college websites and social media for details. On Saturday January 8, 2022 a series of information sessions will take place in HEIs nationally for applicants and parents. For further details on information events and on the DARE scheme itself, as well as contact details for DARE support staff in the various colleges, see www.accesscollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie

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Killarney man to launch second Irish history book

By Sean Moriarty Killarney native Patrick O’Sullivan Greene will launch his second book in the Great Southern Killarney on December 2. O’Sullivan Greene explains Éamon de Valera’s mission to gain […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney native Patrick O’Sullivan Greene will launch his second book in the Great Southern Killarney on December 2.

O’Sullivan Greene explains Éamon de Valera’s mission to gain recognition for the newly formed Irish republic in New York in 1919 in his latest book ‘Revolution at the Waldorf: America and the Irish War of Independence’.

Without American recognition and funding the young Irish Government was sure to fail against the might of the British Empire and the book tells the story of how de Valera and Ireland-based Michael Collins – much to the defiance of the British authorities at Dublin Castle – got the new State off the ground.

O’Sullivan grew up in New Street and is now based in Beaufort after a career in finance took him all over the world including Dublin, London, New York and France.

“Killarney is the natural place for me to launch the book,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

“There will be an interesting mix of people there.”

O’Sullivan Greene published his first book, ‘Crowdfunding the Revolution: The First Dáil Loan and the Battle for Irish Independence’, in 2020.

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Caring group craft charity blankets

By Michelle Crean One community group have shown that they care deeply for others by crafting handmade blankets for charity. Using their range of skills and some colourful wool, members […]

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By Michelle Crean

One community group have shown that they care deeply for others by crafting handmade blankets for charity.

Using their range of skills and some colourful wool, members of Kilcummin Community Care worked together to make blankets for service users on the Kerry Cork Cancer Health Link Bus.

“Each blanket is assigned as a personal gift to the clients using the Cancer Link Bus and is kept by them,” Kate Fleming, Chairperson of Kilcummin Community Care, said.

The knitting of the squares to make the blankets began at a gathering in the Rose Hotel in 2018. It was a gathering of different volunteer groups.

The Kerry Cork Cancer Health Link Bus were requesting knitted squares to make blankets for the clients who were using their facilities, she explained.

“Kilcummin Community Care were knitting at the time, so it was decided to help out this worthy cause. We received donations of wool from people in the parish and surrounding areas. Kilcummin ICA also got involved in the efforts.”

During the two years of COVID-19, members of both organisations continued to knit and are still knitting to the present day.

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