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Introduction: what do we do?
The National Learning Network/CDVEC Disability Support Service (DSS) is an exciting and innovative partnership between the National Learning Network and the City of Dublin Vocational Educational Committee which offers a wide range of supports to students with disabilities in eight VEC Colleges of Further Education in Dublin.
The colleges comprise Ballyfermot College of Further Education; Pearse College of Further Education; Inchicore College of Further Education; Colaiste Dhulaigh College of Further Education; Colaiste Ide College of Further Education; Plunkett College; Whitehall College of Further Education and Killester College of Further Education. The project currently has three full time staff, which includes the Disability Support Service Coordinator and two Disability Support Officers.
The daily running of the DSS can be divided into three broad categories: student support; staff support and training, and the promotion of disability/equality issues among the student body.
The DSS is a confidential service. When a student initially approaches the service the Disability Support Officer will carry out a needs identification process with them to ensure they get the support they need in areas such as transport; assistive technology; class and study support, and one to one tuition.
The DSS works in partnership with each principal and with all the college staff, including guidance counsellors, psychological services, subject teachers and exams officers. Staff initiated support involves dealing with queries regarding specific students, the support service itself, and requests for training.
The third and final strand of the services involves promoting disability and equality issues among the student body. This is achieved through dissemination of information about the service and delivery of disability awareness training sessions to class groups. The DSS also has a presence at open days, and at interview and registration days.
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