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Support is always on hand to help disabled get ahead

Planning to go to college can be a daunting prospect for any student, but it can be quite overwhelming for applicants with a specific learning difficulty or disability. Some applicants rule themselves out of the experience because they do not have sufficient confidence to pursue the college option. But they should be aware of the help on hand for them to do so.

AHEAD, the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability, seeks to increase the numbers of students with disabilities in third level education.

AHEAD is organising two one-day events in the coming week for students with a disability or specific learning difficulty, who are considering college options in Ireland.

The first takes place tomorrow, from 10am-2pm at Thomond Park, Cratloe Road, Limerick.

The second takes place on Wednesday, November 28, from 10.30am to 2pm in the Helix, Dublin City University.

Both events will involve interactive workshops on topics such as getting the most out of your disability service, the road to independent learning, how to apply through DARE, (the Disability Access Route to Education) and more. They are open to students, parents, guidance counsellors, learning support tutors, resource teachers, etc.

Some college applicants with disabilities will apply to college through CAO, but will also use the DARE entry scheme. DARE is a development of the supplementary admissions scheme for school leavers with disabilities.

All higher education colleges have access offices which offer all the personal and academic support necessary for them to get the most of their college experience. These are listed on CAO's website. Under 'HEI details', click 'Access Officers' at the head of that page.

Other open days: Today, Cavan Institute, Cavan, one of the largest institutes of FE in the country, hosts an open session from 6pm-8pm this evening, and all day tomorrow, from 10am-5pm. Information will be available on the Institute's 60 plus courses, and on issues such as grants, progression routes and employment opportunities. Tomorrow evening, NUI Galway holds an information evening, in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone from 7pm-9pm; On Friday, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) hosts an open day in its Letterfrack campus, with two separate sessions at 11am and 2pm. On Friday and Saturday, NUI Maynooth and St Patrick's College, Pontifical University, Maynooth (which share the same campus), on Friday from 9.30am-2.30pm, and on Saturday 24 from 10.30am-3.30pm; NUI Maynooth's open days covers the B.Ed courses offered by Froebel College which is now in partnership with the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and whose courses will be offered on the Maynooth campus from 2013; The Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Kill Lane, DĂșn Laoghaire, Co Dublin, also holds its annual open days on 23 and 24, from 10am-4pm. Saturday, UCD hosts a geology workshop for fifth and sixth year students. Registration is required. On Tuesday, UCD's School of Mathematical Sciences hosts an information evening on courses in Mathematics, Statistics, Actuarial and Financial Studies and Applied and Computational Mathematics. Wednesday next, National College of Ireland, Mayor St, Dublin 1, hosts an open day from 11am-3pm.

Irish Independent