The Academic Resource Office (ARO) was established to promote Carlow College, St. Patrick's response to increasing diversity among its student population. The ARO strives to ensure that your college experience is a positive one in which you can achieve your academic best. The ARO is part of a wider team which includes lecturers, academic advisors and learner support services whose aim is to support and guide you in the attainment of your learning goals.

 

The Academic Resource Office provides the following services:

 

  • Learning development classes and workshops
  • 'Essay Doctor' and learning support services
  • Academic help desk service
  • Academic, assistive technology and personal supports for learners with disabilities, learning differences or who have additional requirements

At Carlow College we want all our learners to achieve their academic and personal potential. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity in education, and, in as far as is reasonably possible, to supporting learners with disabilities, learning differences and any additional support requirements.

 

Every learner is an individual and therefore may have different academic needs/supports. The initial starting point is a needs assessment with our Academic Resource Officer which identifies the academic, assistive technology and personal supports which can be put in place in order to help you achieve your potential at College. For further information please contact Lisa Fortune, Academic Resource Officer and see our FAQs section.

 

Students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties - follow your route to college with the Disability Access Map! This new 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

https://ahead.ie/accessmap

While every attempt is made to provide reasonable accommodation for learners with physical disabilities and/or mobility issues, Carlow College is a listed building with limits imposed on the structural modifications that can be made. As all areas cannot be universally accessed, applicants with restricted mobility are strongly advised to make an appointment to visit the College to explore its suitability for individual learning needs.

For more information regarding restricted mobility at Carlow College, please contact Lisa Fortune at lfortune@carlowcollege.ie

ESF Fund for Students with Disabilities

Information for Learners

Under the terms of the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2012, the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (EPSEN, 2004) and the Disability Act 2005, Carlow College is committed to providing an equal opportunity learning environment for all learners. 

If you are a learner with a disability / specific learning need and require disability-related support to access your teaching and learning environment in Carlow College, you must first identify your support needs. This usually involves an educational needs assessment which is conducted by the Academic Resource Officer.  This assessment report makes recommendations about your support needs to the Fund for Students with Disabilities. 

This fund is sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) with assistance from the European Social Fund (ESF).  The National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education co-ordinates the fund and reviews applications on behalf of the DES.  Funding is allocated on the basis of a needs assessment of each individual learner in the learning environment.  First time applicants need not be exclusively those in the first year of a course.


Learners within the following categories may be eligible to apply for funding:

 

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Including Asperger’s Syndrome)
  • ADD / ADHD
  • Blind/Visual Impairment
  • Deaf / Hearing Impairment
  • Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (Dyspraxia/Dysgraphia)
  • Mental Health Condition (Including but not exclusive to: Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Clinical Depressive Conditions, Severe Anxiety, Severe Phobias, OCD, Severe Eating Disorders and Psychosis)
  • Neurological Condition (Including but not exclusive to: Brain Injury, Epilepsy, Speech and Language Disabilities)    
  • Significant on-going Illness
  • Physical Disability / Mobility Difficulties
  • Specific Learning Difficulty (Dyslexia/Dyscalculia)

The kinds of supports and assistance for which funding can be sought are as follows:

  • Assistive technology equipment and software
  • Personal  assistance
  • Academic / learning support
  • Transport

It should be noted that the Fund for Students with Disabilities and cannot provide for any costs associated with:

  • The assessment or diagnosis of a disability.
  • Any disability-related costs that an applicant would incur whether they were a registered learner or not, for example, costs relating to medication, medical equipment, assistance or support. 
  • Study-related expenses that every learner might have, such as, course-related equipment, materials or software.
  • Support or assistance outside the academic year or periods during the academic year when the college is closed.

To be considered under the Fund for Students with Disabilities, each applicant must meet nationality and residency criteria and submit full verification of his/her disability which meets the eligibility criteria as outlined by the Fund. 

Please note that letters from GPs are not acceptable as evidence of disability for the purposes of the Fund.

Learners are encouraged to disclose any disability, learning difference or additional requirement at the start of their studies or at any point during their time at Carlow College.

If you would like further information or wish to make an application under the Fund for Students with Disabilities, please make an appointment with the Academic Resource Officer, Lisa Fortune, at 059 9153223 or by email at lfortune@carlowcollege.ie.

  

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How will I know what type of support I will need?


Every learner is an individual and therefore may have different academic needs/supports. 

 

The initial starting point is a needs assessment with the Academic Resource Officer, Lisa Fortune, which identifies the academic and personal supports which can be put in place in order to help you achieve your potential at college.  At your needs assessment your support requirements will be discussed in detail.  Where appropriate, arrangements at second and further education levels will be continued.

 

2. I have a disability/learning difference.  What should I do?

 

  • Make an appointment with the Academic Resource Officer, Lisa Fortune, for a needs assessment and to register with the Academic Resource Office (ARO). Lisa’s office is located in the main building, South Wing.
  • Ensure you have all documentation relating to your disability or learning difference for example; Evidence of diagnosis, Consultant’s report, Psycho-educational report, CAO Evidence of Disability Form and so on.
  • Read the following Carlow College documents:
  1. Disability Policy and Code of Practice
  2. ESF Fund for Students with Disabilities: Information for Learners
  3. Guidelines on the Modification of Examination and Assessment Arrangements. 

All documents are available on the College’s website www.carlowcollege.ie, the ARO Moodle page or from the Academic Resource Officer.

 

3. What is a Needs Assessment?


A needs assessment is a meeting between you and the Academic Resource Officer to identify what supports you may need in college and how they will be arranged.  All learners with a disability or learning difference who accept a place on an academic programme in Carlow College are entitled to a needs assessment. The assessment takes about one hour and covers the following:

 

  • Your personal details (contact, learner number, nature of disability/learning difference)
  • Background information about you as a learner and any previous support you may have received
  • Your college programme (e.g. requirements, assessment types, placement component)
  • The role of the Academic Resource Office (ARO)
  • Assistive technology options
  • Exam accommodations
  • Learning support arrangements
  • Confidentiality and release of information
  • Reviews
  • Any questions you may have

 4. What kind of supports are available for learners with disabilities, learning differences or with additional support requirements?

 

Where appropriate, the Academic Resource Officer will provide assistance with applications to the Fund for Students with Disabilities for help with the cost of:

 

  • Academic/learning support
  • Assistive technology equipment and software
  • Personal assistance
  • Transport costs

Exam accommodations such as additional time, enlarged scripts, scribe/reader, waiver for spelling and grammar and the use of tape recorder/ laptop can also be arranged by the ARO.

 

5. What is the ESF Fund for students with disabilities?


Study-related supports for learners with disabilities are financed through the ESF Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD).  This fund is sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills with assistance from the European Social Fund.  The National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education administers the Fund and sets out the categories eligible for funding under this scheme (deadlines apply each year).

 

Learners within the following categories may be eligible to apply for funding:

 

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Including Asperger’s Syndrome)
  • ADD / ADHD
  • Blind/Visual Impairment
  • Deaf / Hearing Impairment
  • Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (Dyspraxia/Dysgraphia)
  • Mental Health Condition (Including but not exclusive to: Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Clinical Depressive Conditions, Severe Anxiety, Severe Phobias, OCD, Severe Eating Disorders and Psychosis)
  • Neurological Condition (Including but not exclusive to: Brain Injury, Epilepsy, Speech and Language Disabilities)    
  • Significant on-going Illness
  • Physical Disability / Mobility Difficulties
  • Specific Learning Difficulty (Dyslexia/Dyscalculia)

Contact: lfortune@carlowcollege.ie for further information.


Note:  First time applicants do not need to be exclusively those in the first year of a course. Learners may apply in any year of their studiesFurther information is available at www.studentfinance.ie

 

6. Where can I find out about exam accommodation /alternative arrangements?


Contact Lisa Fortune, Academic Resource Officer, in the first instance. Eligible learners can avail of examination accommodations only after an assessment of needs has been conducted. Requests for exam accommodations/alternative arrangements should be made as early as possible in the academic year as deadlines apply. Learners who request accommodations after these deadlines will be accommodated in subsequent exams.

 

7. What is Carlow College’s Disclosure Policy?


Learners are encouraged to disclose information on their disability/learning difference or additional requirements through the CAO process, at the start of their studies, or at any point during their time at Carlow College. The decision to disclose rests solely with the individual student.

 

Any information disclosed will remain confidential and elements will only be disclosed, with written permission from the learner, to specific individuals in the College for the purpose of arranging supports/exam accommodations.

 

8. What is the ARO’s Policy for communicating with family members and other third parties?


Once a learner has disclosed sensitive personal information about his/her disability or learning difference, the college has a responsibility to maintain confidentiality with them. While we recognise that family members and other third parties may be concerned about the learner’s college experience, any requests to discuss the nature of the learner’s support arrangements, exam accommodations or programme progression will only be agreed to with the learner’s written consent.

What a current student has to say about ARO...

ARO helps students understand that even though they have a disability or learning difficulty they can still get through their studies like any other student – no other service in the college gives this kind of support!

Student of Applied Social Studies Year 2

The service does its best for each and every student, whilst striving to enhance and bring out the student’s ability and potential

Student of Humanities Year 2

ARO helps students to develop specific learning strategies to aid them throughout their academic years

Student of Humanities Year 1

The essay doctor service provides helpful advice and guidance to students on how to improve their academic work…it helped increase my confidence.

Student of Applied Social StudiesYear 1

The essay doctor clearly explained everything to me about referencing and structure and was extremely helpful.

Student of English & HistoryYear 4
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