Fine Gael Senator for Roscommon-Galway Aisling Dolan has welcomed funding of €145,550 announced for Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ).
It comes as Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD announced €5.4 million for 23 Higher Education Institutes (HEIs ) under the Funding Students with Disability Fund.
The funding at AIT will provide for a range of measures to include the provision of a UDL Symposium, learning support and AT training for students, targeted ASD and mental health supports and the upgrading and purchasing of shared software and computing facilities.
“Students with disabilities can use technological supports such as assistive technology such as mobility aids, hearing aids to ensure they can take also part in the college experience. It can also go from the very practical – simply making a campus more accessible for people with mobility challenges to universal design learning (UDL ) which is to make curriculums more inclusive with flexible learning and assessment options for those with disabilities,” Senator Dolan commented.
The Fine Gael Senator said the funding would be hugely beneficial to students with disabilities.
“At AIT, these supports will focus on learning support and assistive technology training for students as well as investment in UDL and targeted autism and mental health supports. This fund also supports sensory hubs across nine of our national colleges to support people with autism,” Senator Dolan stated.
The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD ) aims to support students with a range of conditions and disabilities including sensory and physical disabilities, specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, autism, mental health conditions and significant ongoing illness.
Senator Dolan’s thoughts were echoed by political party colleague, Longford-Westmeath Senator Micheál Carrigy.
“College can be an overwhelming experience for people with disabilities and these projects will make a transformational difference to people’s lives. AIT’s proposal aims to strengthen the capacity of AT support. It will particularly focus on shared AT supports and giving students the skills to access these supports throughout their time studying in AIT.
“This includes upgrading and purchasing shared software and computing facilities, learning support and AT training for students, UDL and targeted ASD and mental health supports .
“The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD ) aims to support students with a range of conditions and disabilities including sensory and physical disabilities, specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, autism, mental health conditions and significant ongoing illness.
“The scope and reach of the FSD has changed significantly over the past twenty years. In 1999, it supported 300 students. By 2018/2019, the fund supported 13,000 students,” Senator Carrigy concluded.