Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Autism

Autism Policy in Education: Discussion (Resumed)

Photo of Micheál CarrigyMicheál Carrigy (Fine Gael)
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Our next business is the consideration of autism policy in education. I welcome our witnesses to the meeting today. From the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities we are joined by the director, Professor Michael Shevlin, by its ambassador, Mr. Hugo MacNeill, by Ms Marie Devitt, the employment pathways co-ordinator, and by Ms Barbara Ringwood, senior occupational therapist. From Dublin City University we are joined by Ms Fiona Earley, autism-friendly university co-ordinator, and Dr. Mary Rose Sweeney, head of the school of nursing, psychotherapy and community health. Dublin City University was the first university in the world to have an autism-friendly campus. Well done. From SOLAS we are joined by Mr. Alan McGrath, executive director of delivery, and by Ms Roisin Doherty, director of learning support.

The committee has considered a large range of issues in its public meetings so far, focusing on assessments and children's education. It is natural for the committee to progress to discuss further and higher education, along with other issues concerning adults with autism. We look forward to hearing directly from the experts in the area of autism and higher education in our first session. We are interested in initiatives that are in development or are under way in supporting people with autism in their transition to higher education and apprenticeships. We are also interested in how we can better support people with autism when they arrive at third level education and how we can make their experience of third level more comfortable and inclusive. We look forward to hearing about anything else the witnesses feel might be useful to the committee in its consideration of our final report.

Before we hear from our witnesses I propose that the opening statements and presentations are published on the committee website. Is that agreed? Agreed. I invite Professor Michael Shevlin to make his opening statement on behalf of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, TCPID. I understand that the professor will use slides as part of his opening statement.