AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


The WAM programme at AHEAD are running a free training webinar aimed at current WAM employers and potential WAM employers. 

When: Wednesday, October 20th 2021 from 11.30am - 1.00pm

More About WAM: The WAM programme is the transition to employment initiative of AHEAD. It offers graduates with disabilities the benefit of a 6-month minimum fully paid and mentored work internships with high profile employers. WAM was established in 2005 and, to date, have placed over 500 graduates with both private and public sector employers. 

Event information 

Disability, disabled, differently-able, diff-ability, neurodiversity, people of ‘all abilities’ ... These are all terms being used to describe people with disabilities and disabled people, but what should we be using?

This webinar will discuss the evolving language of disability but also being mindful to ensure all people with disabilities feel included in the workplace. The variables for this occurrence and the lack of inclusive language reflects strongly on the organization as a whole.  It is important to understand the purpose of using the word ‘disability’ while also being mindful about the individual’s preferences. How or when do I use disability terminology? How to approach the individual to find out their preferences?  These are the few questions that come to mind in the context of this discussion.

This webinar will be hosted by AHEAD's Employment Manager and first begin with a presentation by Dr. Shivaun Quinlivan discussing the definition and legal implications in employment of not using the word disability followed by a panel discussion with three disabled people, Suzy Byrne, Laocín Brennan and Amy Hassett who will be discussing their perspective, experiences and insight into the language of disability. 

Speakers and Panellists 

 Speaker and Panellists Information 

Dr Shivaun Quinlivan - NUI Galway

Dr Shivaun Quinlivan (She/Her) is the Vice-Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, and a Senior Lecturer in Law. Her research focuses primarily on the right to equality with a particular focus on the right to education for people with disabilities: The Right to Inclusive Education in International Human Rights Law: Cambridge University Press. She is a member of the Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law and the Irish Women’s Lawyers Association. Dr Quinlivan acted as an expert advisor to the States of Guernsey in relation to the development of new multi-ground equality legislation from 2018-2020. In 2016-17 she was an O’Brien Residential fellow in the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism in McGill University in Canada. With Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley she co-leads two inclusive learning projects at NUI Galway. She is a graduate of NUI Galway, King’s College London and the Honourable Society of King’s Inns, and Trinity College Dublin. Her doctoral research addressed the efficacy of public interest litigation in the context of the right to education for children with disabilities.

Suzy Byrne 

Suzy Byrne has been involved in community work and campaigning on disability and equality issues for 30 years. She has contributed in print, broadcast media, blogging and led in social media platforms discussing equality and disability issues.  She is a regional manager for the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities. She is also a Director of Iarnrod Eireann as one of the first disabled people to be specifically recruited to a state public transport board and is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee along with the company’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group. She is also a board member of the Irish Council of Civil Liberties. 

Laocín Brennan 

Laocín Brennan is GetAHEAD's first summer intern. He was the founder of DCU’s Neurodivergent Society, the first of its kind in Europe. During his time in DCU, he found that his vocation was not in engineering and found himself gravitating towards his volunteer work, which continues to give him purpose, pride and joy. He is passionate about human rights and believes intersectionality is the only way towards a just, equal and idyllic society. Laocín valued his morals from a young age, but only began to become cognisant of ableism in 2013, upon receiving the first of many neurodivergent diagnoses. Now, Laocín is pursuing a career in disability advocacy with vigour in the hopes of being the change he wants to see in the world.

Amy Hassett - Disabled Women Ireland

Amy Hassett is a disability advocate and a co-chairperson of Disabled Women Ireland (DWI), Ireland's national disabled person's organisation advocating for the rights of disabled self-identified women, girls and non-binary people. Originally from Wexford, Amy is also a neuroscience PhD student in UCD.  

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