- Next Commencement: Autumn 2023
- Application deadline: Contact the College
BA in Contemporary Disability Studies
Contact the College
Those working in disability services including special needs assistants (SNA's), day service workers, social care workers, social care leaders, people with an interest in the area, persons with a relevant Level 5 qualification.
WHY TAKE THIS COURSE
This course is designed for people who work in disability services and want to enhance the supports they provide through New Directions. This course is suited for anyone working in disability services, including Special Needs Assistants (SNA's), social care workers, social care leaders, people with an interest in disability and those with a relevant Level 5 qualification who would like to enhance their knowledge.
The degree was created by people with extensive front line and management experience who understand the area and the issues that arise.
- The way in which disability is perceived has changed dramatically over the past forty years, with a growing awareness of the need for governments to promote disability rights and societies to become more inclusive of disabled people.
- From 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has had a particularly galvanising effect on the international disability rights movement.
- The role of disabled people themselves, as well as the organisations that represent and provide services to them, in shaping these debates and promoting disability rights need to be critically examined.
- Additionally, factors that continue to lead to the economic and social exclusion of disabled people will be explored. Strategies to increase inclusion and empowerment that need to be developed are considered.
- To provide an opportunity for people with disabilities to tell their stories and structure their future.
- Focus is not only on meeting goals/outputs, but on a deep appreciation of social, community, ethical and current issues impacting on this group.
The learner will engage with 18 modules that explore best practice and how it applies in various settings for people with disability.
*This programme is not relevant for social care registration.
** Subject to numbers
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
The aim of the BA in Contemporary Disability Studies is that, on completion, students leave with a set of skills and knowledge that enables them to achieve and deliver high quality, person centred and reliable services for people with disability.
- being able to work in, manage and lead the everyday operations of a service for people with disability;
- understanding individualised, effective, safe services;
- leading responsive services that use resources and information professionally, efficiently, effectively and ethically; and
- being able to deliver a service based on New Directions, HIQA standards and Assisted Decision Making legislation.
Course Learning Outcomes
- Display specialised knowledge of services, systems and regulations applicable to pan disability services.
- Support the implementation of New Directions to increase inclusion and empowerment opportunities for people
- Explain human rights and social justice and their application in pan disability contexts.
- Think critically, analyse, and solve issues arising in a variety of contexts for people with disability.
- Reflect on personal practice, and recognise and address the limitations of one’s own current knowledge, skills, and competence in supporting a person with disability especially in the areas of empowerment and advocacy
- Engage in self-directed practice and key work (with service-users, groups, communities, families) seeking professional support/guidance where necessary taking responsibility for the safeguarding and protection of service-users appropriately identifying and managing risk.
- Act professionally and ethically with an appropriate level of autonomy, proficiency, accountability, quality, risk and responsibility
- Express a personalised professional identity manifesting solidarity with others.
The course content is based on:
- Our expertise in the disability and broader social care area
- International best practice
- Current legislation and policy
- Ongoing feedback from course participants
- Input from graduates, professional bodies, regulatory bodies and service users
This is reflected in the choice of learning objectives, course materials and the award winning approach that has been developed to deliver the course.
The first year of this course introduces the novice learner to a broad understanding and the context of disability. Key values are explored along with the relevant legislation and policies. The student starts to develop their skills in the areas of communication and understanding person centred planning. In relation to practice, the student commences to develop their personal and professional boundaries and develop their autonomy and accountability when supporting a person.
- Learning and Development in Higher Education (5 credits)
- Exploring Disability (10 credits)
- Policy and Legislation (10 credits)
- Communication (10 credits)
- Practice and Ethics (10 credits)
- Focus on the Individual: Person Centred Planning (15 credits)
Second year develops the understanding of the learner in a number of areas they may support the person in. These areas include lifespan development and transition, learning theories and systematic instruction, empowerment and advocacy, and quality and risk. Other areas include policy and legislation and key management skills.
- Lifespan Development and Transitions (10 credits)
- Learning Theories and Teaching Strategies (10 credits)
- Policy and Legislation 2 (10 credits)
- Empowerment and Advocacy (10 credits)
- Key Management Skills (10 credits)
- Quality and Risk (10 credits)
The final year of the programme offers opportunity for the learner to acquire advanced knowledge and skills for their practice. There is a choice of elective in areas to start specialisation; these areas include the autistic spectrum and supported employment. The student is skilled in the use of evidence-informed practise through research methods, where they start to investigate an area that affects inclusion. Other areas explored include wellbeing, positive behaviour support, relationships, sexuality and self, working with families. The student completes the degree with a project on Active Inclusion which asks the student to increase the inclusion opportunities for people in their locality.
- Wellbeing and Positive Behaviour Supports (10 credits)
- Social Research (10 credits)
- Exploration of Relationships, Self and Sexuality (10 credits)
- Working with Families (10 credits)
- Elective (10 credits)
- Active Inclusion- CAPSTONE (10 credits)
The course is assessed through a combination of continuous assessments, projects and written examinations. Continuous assessments may consist of assignments (i.e. essays), project work, group activities, online activities, in-class assessments and reflection.
ADDITIONAL COURSE INFORMATION
We Are All Part of a Learning Community
- Dedicated tutor throughout
- Online international award winning learning resources developed for online learning
- Access to learning technologies such as a virtual environment.
- Tools to support virtual learning and off campus learning
- Online activities to support assessment.
- Face to face lectures, seminars, tutorials.
- Assessment submitted, marked and returned to learners with feedback through electronic or other media
- See more on our unique, award winning learner supports here
Meet Dr Noelín Fox – Course Director
Making the decision to embark on a degree, particularly when you are an adult learner, can be a difficult one. What concerns do people generally have?
From talking to our students, their concerns usually come down to one, or more, of three things:
- They worry about the value of starting a course. Courses have to be practically relevant to their current role but it also has to provide a platform for future developments.
- They have concerns about the level of support they will receive when they go to college and that doesn’t mean just academic support either. They want to know they will have the personal support that is particularly important for adults to get though a course.
- They worry about being able to balance work, life and learning commitments because it can seem overwhelming.
How do we help deal with this?
The OTC encourages students to take control of their education. The course materials are designed to allow people to organise and plan their study around their work and life commitments. That doesn’t mean it’s easy (!) but we do make a real effort to make it as simple as possible to balance work, life and learning.
We are obviously there to support our students every step of their academic journey but I believe understanding and helping with the personal challenges of taking on a course are in many ways as important as the academic support. That is why we believe so passionately in our learning being student-centred and put so much effort into building a learning community for our students. We support and learn from each other.
How do students benefit?
They become more aware of their critical importance to delivering a person centred service. They become more innovative in meeting the individual needs of people they support which leads to a better quality of life for the people they work with.
Meet Michelle Coe – Social Care Graduate
Why did you choose to study with the College?
The College was recommended to me by a colleague so I attended the Open Day event. I immediately knew the College’s approach to social care education was for me; it has been designed specifically around social care, disability services and the teaching is current and relevant.
What has your experience of the College been like?
It has been pleasantly surprising in how much I have embraced learning and, right from the beginning, I’ve found it useful in my day to day work.
The tutors are extremely knowledgeable and they also have direct experience within the field.
I would definitely recommend the College’s social care programmes to anyone who is considering furthering their education.
HOW THE COURSE WILL IMPACT YOUR CAREER
Successful completion of this course will allow you to apply for jobs within disability services. There are many different roles being generated within disability services to support people in the community, employment and through the increase in independent living opportunities.
In addition various modules can be studied independently to support the CPD for your profession.
Successful completion of the 3-year course will lead to a BA in Contemporary Disability Studies. This is a QQI approved HET Major award at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
COURSE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
- All potential applicants who are aged at least 23 years at time of application OR have successfully completed a FET (120 credits) /QQI Level 5 Certificate or Leaving Certificate* OR HET (60 credits)/QQI Level 6 Certificate.
- All applicants must be linked to a disability service for approximately 10 hours per week.
- All applicants must also satisfactorily pass an entry interview
- International Applicants whose first language is not English must provide appropriate documentary evidence of proficiency in English, i.e. Minimum CEFRL B2+ (=IELTS 6.0) or equivalent.
- *Leaving Certificate applicants will require a grade O6/H7 in five subjects; these subjects must include Maths and English or Irish. (Foundation level mathematics will meet the minimum entry requirement where a grade F2 or higher is achieved.)
HOW TO APPLY
Applications for this course are accepted through our Online Application Centre. To apply for the degree, you will need to:
- Satisfy the entry requirements for the programme
- Provide a range of documents to support your application
- Submit a personal statement explaining why you want to apply
- Pay an application fee of €95
Supporting Documents and Forms to Download
You will need to provide us with a range of documents as part of your application. These are:
- Proof of identity. Common examples included scanned copies of a driving license or passport (for international applicants).
- Educational Transcripts: These are copies of previous educational achievements that confirm you satisfy the course entry requirements. They could, for example, include a copy of your leaving certificate or a scan of a level 5 certificate. It is particularly important that applicants wishing to transfer from another course, or be considered for Advanced Entry, provide transcripts confirming they have completed a Level 6/7 course worth at least 60 credits (NFQ) or more in Social Care or Social Studies within the last 10 years.
- Employment Validation: Formal confirmation that you are working for more than 10 hours a week in a qualifying service is required. Please use the employer validation form we have provided for download below.
- Personal Statement: This document essentially explains why you want to take the course and how you see it helping you achieve your professional and personal goals. You can learn more about What is a Personal Statement and Why is it Important and download a simple document that will help you write it.
- Volunteer Form: You will need to complete a Volunteer Form if you are currently working as a volunteer.
- International Applicants: International applicants are required to provide documentary evidence of proficiency in English and eligibility to study in Ireland before beginning an accredited course. A document explaining why it is necessary and what documents are required for a successful application can be found below.
We generally recommend you gather together all the documents you will require to support your application before you begin but our online application system will allow you add documents as and when you have them once you've begun submitting your application. You can learn more by visiting the Online Application Centre.
Protecting Enrolled Users
The Open Training College (OTC) has approval to offer students learner protection insurance in respect of Protection of Enrolled Learners (PEL) for this course. Find out more about PEL by using the link below.
Start Making your Application
All applications are processed through our application centre where you can:
- Submit your application
- Learn about what happens after you’ve made your application
- Monitor the progress of your application
To visit the Online Application Centre, click on the link below.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Contact us if you want to know more about the course.
Call: (+353) 086 0756580 (Business hours 9am-5pm)
Mail: Please use the contact form below