Students Leanne Doyle and Luke Reissig-Dowling (centre); with Katherine Doyle (left) Service Support Officer IWA Athy; and Kieran Bergin, Project Assistant, IWA, Athy
St. Conleth’s Community College in Newbridge celebrated disability awareness day on April 4, in conjunction with the Irish Wheelchair Association Athy.
The Social Care Level 5, Nursing Level 5 and Childcare Level 6 students took on a disability for the day, to bring awareness to themselves and the citizens of Newbridge.
“We each were given a disability and a task to complete, to gain an insight as to what it is like to live with a disability. The disabilities included people in wheelchairs, visually impaired, people on crutches and living with a speech impairment,” said Aoife McNamara, a Social Care student.
“With each disability, we were given a task to complete to see if we encountered any challenges.
“These tasks included attempting to take a bus, to use a bathroom in a retail outlet, and to buy a coffee, all of which are tasks we find easy on a daily basis.”
During this experiment, it became evident that some areas did not cater to those disabilities. “We found that many places were not wheelchair accessible, such as no ramps or lifts to places. Surprisingly, it was not the lack of wheelchair facilities that was most challenging to overcome, but people’s negative attitude towards those with disabilities, particularly the younger generation,” she added.
The students said it was a great revelation as to what living a disabilities is like, and made them more grateful for their capabilities.
They thanked the Irish Wheelchair Association and the public who facilitated them. The Irish Wheelchair Association in Athy said the annual disability awareness day has been a great success.
“Our aim is to highlight everyday access issues to the students and the larger community,” said Gillian Goulding, Service Coordinator, Irish Wheelchair Association, Athy.
Students Caitlin Delaney-Quinn and Stacy Fitzpatrick experience first-hand accessibility issues for people with disabilites