02 Jun €206,000 for ATU to support access for autistic students and students with an intellectual disability – Dillon
Funding has been granted to Atlantic Technological University to support access for autistic students and students with an intellectual disability to the sum of €206,000; Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon has said.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today announced new initiatives to support autistic students and those with an intellectual disability access third level education, backed by €3 million of funding per year, ringfenced until 2025.
Deputy Dillon said, “My colleague Minister Simon Harris has informed me that €206k has been granted to the ATU to support autistic students and students with an intellectual disability to access third level education. This is really important funding to help equalise access to education for all.
The funding is ringfenced until 2025 so it allows the Atlantic Technological University to plan ahead and improve access. The first phase of funding is for Universal Design which will be allocated to higher education institutions in 2022 to advance universal design and inclusive practices in higher education, to enhance opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities and autistic students in higher education.”
“This includes improving campus accessibility such as supporting autism friendly campuses e.g., wayfinding apps, signage, and small-scale capital works such as autism-friendly spaces like sensory rooms or quiet zones.
“This measure will complement existing student success measures in higher education for all students and learners. While benefiting all students, it will be of particular benefit to students with disabilities, including students with autism. It will also enable the development of future capacity in HEIs for creating more opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.
“I am pleased to say a further call for proposals will be issued later this year as part of the National Plan for Equity of Access, Participation and Success in Higher Education,” Deputy Dillon concluded.
Speaking today, Minister Harris added, “We have never focused on how many students with an intellectual disability or autism have entered or completed third level.
These new proposals will allow us to assess how we are doing but crucially, we will be introducing new policy changes to ensure we do better.
Education is the greatest leveller in society. A key ambition for me is to ensure that supports and opportunities are provided for learning to all.
This means recognising the needs of vulnerable learners, people who are most marginalised and people with special and additional needs and assisting them in accessing and progressing through third level education.
This is an important day and I really want to thank everyone for working with us to make this a reality. This has the potential to change the lives of autistic students and students with intellectual disabilities.”