2 What is university really like?

It’s hard to know what college – or third level education as it is sometimes called – is like until you get there, and all colleges or universities are different.  In some ways it’s easier to describe what university is not! Well, everyone says that it is not like school or work or home. So, what IS university really like? We aim to give you a realistic view, based on things students told us they wish they had known.

You can find out more about student life in Trinity here https://www.tcd.ie/students/

You can also read about What to expect in your first 12 weeks in Trinity College

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3 Funding support for students with a disability

Most students registering with the Disability Service request access to a range of supports that help the student to reach their full potential while studying. Most student needs are accommodated through these supports. Some of these disability student supports are co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

Funding for these supports is not provided to individual students as is the case for the Diabled Student Allowance in the UK.

After registering online, students who desire specialist disability supports will be invited to meet with a member of the Disability Service team (Disability Officer/Occupational Therapist) on a one-to-one basis to discuss specialist disability supports. The student decides on the level of support that they require. All students in this category will have a full needs assessment and a Learning Educational Needs Assessment (LENS) report is produced for these students.

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4 What is a Needs Assessment?

Individual needs assessments determine the level of support that students require. Based on appropriate evidence of a disability and information obtained from the student on the impact of their disability and their academic course requirements, the Disability Staff member will identify supports designed to meet your support needs.

They might also ask you about:

  1. how you think your educaton is impacted;
  2. whether you take any medication or have additional medical needs;
  3. what supports you received incsecondary school, if any;
  4. current challenges and those you might anticipate in connection to your course;
  5. assistive technology support;
  6. appropriate academic support, for example, examination accommodations, and extended library loans.

The Needs Assessment process also helps determine whether or not ypu are eligible for these supports through relevant disability funding such as the HEA ESF Fund for Students with Disabilities.

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5 Choosing a course and university

This article will help you decide what to study, and at which university. We provide practical tips on how to compare universities, how to prepare for open days and who to talk to at these events.

The AHEAD DisAbility Access Map is an interactive online desktop tool will allow you to track your path to college step by step and give you lots of great information and advice.  You can access the map by clicking on this link.

To find out more about applying to and accepting an offer in Trinity, read the guidelines at https://www.tcd.ie/study/assets/PDF/ChooseJan2019.pdf

 

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6 What is Occupational Therapy Support?

Occupational therapy is a client centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. Occupational therapists use the term occupation to describe all the things you do as a student, and have an understanding of how disability can possibly affect people’s ability to do the day-to-day things that are important for them. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable you to participate in the activities of everyday life as a student (Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland, 2017).  

You choose the areas that you would find most useful to work on with your OT, but to find out about some of the types of things that we commonly do with students, please visit our OT support page.

 

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7 Applying to university

How are are CAO offers made for university and college places?

Find out more about applying to University generally, and about our university’s admission process.

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9 Top tips for settling into college

The Leaving Cert Results are in, the offers have been made and the summer is drawing rapidly to a close. That means starting college for the first time for many students with Autism. Dr Alison Doyle shares some top tips below for making your first year a success.

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11 How to manage exams

This section looks at how to manage exams. This includes information about what to expect, how to prepare for an exam and practical tips to help you perform well.

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12 Talking about your autism

By talking about your autism and advocating for yourself, you make an important step towards feeling comfortable with others. This activity introduces the advantages of being open about your autism, and give some practical tips.

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13 Meeting people at university

Many students find meeting new people and making friends amongst the most exciting but also most difficult aspects of starting university. Naturalist and University of Lincoln visiting professor Chris Packham shares his own experience of attending university with Aspergers Syndrome.

 

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14 What are lectures really like?

Lectures at university can be quite different from lessons at school and college, particularly when you are taught in a big group. Generally speaking they take the format of:

  • Larger group
  • Larger venue
  • Lecturer will dictate information
  • Questions can be asked after the lecture material has been presented.
  • Lecturers use PowerPoint
  • Best not to interrupt
  • More formal
  • Students take notes
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15 What is group work really like?

Working in a group with other students is part and parcel of university study. Quite a few people worry about it, and some have real problems with it. This activity looks at the main issues people have with group work and gives you some practical tips for your own study.

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16 What happens if I have practice placements on my course?

The number of students with disabilities studying professional courses has increased significantly over the last number of years and to ensure students with disabilities are adequately supported the Disability Service has developed the Professional Placement Planning support programme.

This is aimed at all stakeholders including students, courses and placements to ensure disability supports can be put in place. It allows the professional course, the placement (employer) and the student to work together to ensure that students with disabilities have been reasonably accommodated on placement. Failure by course providers or employers to make reasonable accommodations for a student with a disability on a professional placement can be unlawful discrimination. The central element of placement planning is a process of communication and information sharing. This process plays a key role in ensuring that students and staff in the placement are confident and enabled to:

  • Clearly define learning outcomes and core competencies expected of students on professional placements
  • Participate and understand effective disclosure/confidentiality process
  • Identify students’ practice placement needs and their learning needs
  • Provide and explain practice placement reasonable accommodations
  • Maintain academic and professional standards
  • Ensure the safety of students, staff and members of the public
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17 What are seminars really like?

Seminars provide an opportunity to explore topics by discussion, and to identify and resolve any questions that may arise after lectures.  This section will look at how to prepare for a seminar, and what to expect from one.

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18 What are computer lab sessions really like?

On technical courses such as Computing, Forensics, Games Development or Creative Technology you will spend a lot of tutorial time in a computer lab. Whilst you’ll often focus on what you’re coding or designing, you may also take part in discussions and group tasks, like in a traditional seminar. Read this article to learn more about the nature of lab sessions.

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19 Managing conflict

Different people have different expectations and styles of working or living together. Sometimes that can lead to conflict. This article will help you recognise causes of conflict and proposes strategies to resolve it.

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21 How to reduce anxiety and stress

It is normal to feel anxious when starting something new, like a university course, and everyone feels stress at difficult times of the year like exam periods or when there is a lot happening in their lives. It can sometimes be hard to relax. This activity is about helping you to manage these feelings and includes tips from other autistic students.

The Trinity College Disability Service has developed a suite of resources and supports for students with mental health difficulties, which aim to support the student at all stages of their academic journey, from transitioning into College, first year, to graduation, and into employment.  All students with mental health difficulties on registering with the DS will have a needs assessment carried out by one of the Occupational Therapist (OT) and can continue to get on-going support throughout their time in Trinity from the OT.

Trinity also provides other mental health supports, these include Counselling, GP and Psychiatric Supports. Student Services utilises a multi-disciplinary approach, and is comprised of an experienced team of individuals who work to support students with complex disabilities.  To assist all Student Services in supporting this student cohort a Student Services Co-ordinator has started working in Trinity (December 2017). This is the first role of its kind in a university in the Republic of Ireland.

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