New Report into Transition of Blind Students to College Launched
Wednesday, 9th September 2015
A new AHEAD/TCD research report launched today into the transition of blind and visually impaired students to 3rd level education, has found that the lack of Individual Education Plan (IEP) provision is the most significant challenge to ensuring appropriate access to supports and resources at second level.
Under the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 (the EPSEN Act), each child assessed with a special educational need should have a personal education plan, known as an IEP, yet there is still no date set for the implementation of this system. Principal investigator Dr. Esther Murphy comments,
“The IEP represents a commitment by the school that has to be met once it is formalised. Without an IEP, there is no guarantee that the correct supports will be put in place in a timely manner and currently, no one can be held accountable when that does not happen”.
The report launched today by Senator Martin Conway is based on qualitative research into the experiences of blind and visually impaired students and involved one to one interviews with the students themselves and key stakeholders about the challenges these students faced in attempting to progress into 3rd Level Education.
Other recommendations made in the report include a review of the system of reasonable accommodations in state exams, the provision of tailored career guidance support for blind and visually impaired students and greater exploitation of “mainstream” technology to address assistive needs.
A separate output of the research was also the creation of new low vision aid instigated by Dr. Murphy through an educational company’s Hackathon.
This research project was undertaken collaboratively by the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability (AHEAD) and Trinity College Dublin’s School of Education and was funded by the Higher Education Authority.
Report Title: ‘Giving voice to blind and visually impaired students transition experiences, addressing gaps in policy provision’