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The Ahead Journal


A Review of Inclusive Education
& Employment Practices ISSN 2009-8286

Students with Disabilities in Higher Education: The numbers in pictures

Dara Ryder



About the Author

Every year AHEAD collects Ireland’s only verified statistics on the number of students with disabilities participating in higher education. Each year a survey is sent to the Disability/Access Officers of all HEA funded institutions covering many areas from fields of study to examination accommodation types and the information returned is collated into a written report and an accompanying set of interactive tables, allowing you to interrogate the data as you wish. The following graphics represent some of the key findings of our most recently published report covering the academic year 2013/14.

Students with Disabilities in Higher Education

There are now almost 10,000 students with Disabilities in HE in Ireland representing 4.7% of the total student body

Number of SWDS (Students with Disabilities) grown ten fold since 1994

Number of SWDS in HE by Year

1994 990
1998 1410
2006 3608
2009 4853
2010 6321
2011 6932
2012 7957
2013 9082
2014 9694




Specific Learning Difficulty
10.9% Mental Health Condition
10.7% Significant Ongoing Illness
6.6% Physical Disability
4.1% DCD/ Dyspraxia
3.9% ADD/ ADHD
3.7% Aspergers/ Autism
2.8% Deaf/ Hard of Hearing
2.7% Neuro/ Speech/Language
2.4% Blind/ Visually Impaired
1.4% Other Various Disabilities



While the total number of students with disabilities is up 7%, Deaf/Hard of hearing is down 6%

Undergrads with a disability 5.2%
Postgrads with a disability 2.5%
Full Time Students with a disability 5.4%
Part Time Students with a disability 1.1%

Unless stated, data referred to is for 2013/14.

To read the full report or play with the interactive tables, visit www.ahead.ie/datacentre. A text version of the data in this graphic can be found here: http://www.ahead.ie/journalautumn15-stats-textversion

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This article appeared in the AHEAD Journal. Visit www.ahead.ie/journal for more information