News

Roundtable Discussion on Education for Children with Disabilities

On 21 March 2018, the DRN will welcome to Queen’s University Professor Vicki Graf, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles (Professor of Special Education), Kristin Wright, the California State Director of Special Education and Maureen Burness, co-chair of the California State-wide Special Education Task Force. They will take part in a roundtable discussion with academics, school representatives, policymakers and representatives from non-governmental organisations working in the area. The aim of the session is to share knowledge and best practice on education for children with disabilities in both California and Northern Ireland. Places at the event are limited. For more information, please contact Dr Bronagh Byrne, b.byrne@qub.ac.uk

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Intimate Lives? Autism, Sex/uality, Gender and Identity Conference

Doctoral student David Jackson-Perry is co-organising a conference at Birmingham University on 18 May 2018.  The conference title is Intimate Lives? Autism, Sex/uality, Gender and Identity, and it is funded by the British Sociological Association (BSA).  More information can be found on the conference website (https://autgensex.wordpress.com/) and registration is open on the BSA website 

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DRN DRILL Grants Success

The Disability Research Network at Queen’s University Belfast is delighted to be involved in three grant award successes in Northern Ireland as part of the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, a £5 million scheme led by disabled people and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

More than £1 million has been awarded to 10 new research and pilot projects across the UK, of which £450,000 has been allocated to three projects in Northern Ireland.  Each research or pilot project will be led by disabled people or people with long term health conditions; they will be developing approaches and questions, working alongside academics and policy makers.

The Mental Health Foundation has been awarded £149,657 for their pilot project on supporting people with mental health problems to get involved in physical activity.  They will work in partnership with South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust alongside Dr Gavin Davidson and Dr Paul Best at Queen’s University Belfast

The British Deaf Association has been awarded £149,947 and will explore access to justice for deaf people, working in collaboration with Dr Bronagh Byrne at Queen’s University Belfast, Syracuse University College of Law and Rowan University.

Positive Futures has been awarded £149,997 for their project on supporting people with learning disabilities who have experienced violence.  Positive Futures is working in collaboration with Dr Berni Kelly and Dr Rebecca Irvine at Queen’s University Belfast, the Public Prosecution Service, Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Nexus NI.

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Conference Presentation by Doctoral Student

Doctoral student David Jackson-Perry presented a paper entitled 'Challenging Behaviour? Autism, Sexuality, and the Mythical Norm' at the 3rd International Disability Studies Conference in Amsterdam (https://disabilitystudies.nl/3rd-international-disability-studies-conference-art-belonging).  The theme for the conference was ‘The Art of Belonging’.  David’s presentation questioned the lack of autistic voices in research at the intersection of autism and sexuality, and considered how the inclusion of autistic experiences and voices in the literature may hold both ethical and heuristic value

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Supported decision making - experiences, approaches and preferences

Queen's University Belfast, Praxis Care and Mencap are the latest to receive funding as part of a previously funded £5 million research programme into independent living for disabled people.

Making decisions about your own life is a key aspect of independence, freedom and human rights. Mental health law has previously allowed compulsory intervention even when a person has the decision making ability to decline intervention. This discriminates against those with mental health problems and intellectual disabilities. In May 2016 the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) became statute law although may not be implemented until 2020. In contrast to other countries this law will replace rather than be in parallel to a mental health law. This is a unique and progressive development which seeks to address the discrimination of separate mental health law. A core principle of the new Act is that people are "not to be treated as unable to make a decision...unless all practicable help and support to enable the person to make a decision about the matter have been given without success" (Article 1(4)).

 There are people who, without support, would be assessed as incapable of making certain decisions but with the appropriate support are capable of making those decisions and so to not provide that support infringes their rights, undermines their autonomy and reinforces their exclusion from society. Supported decision making should be considered as an important part of a continuum of decision making from autonomous decision making through to substitute decision making. Law and policy have tended to focus on either end of the spectrum and have approached capacity as if people are either globally capable or incapable, but most people require some level of support with decision making.

There is very limited research evidence available about disabled people’s experiences of the range of approaches provided to support decision-making; what approaches work for whom; and what people’s preferences are for support. This evidence is urgently needed to inform the Code of Practice for the new Act and the wider implementation process.

 This research project is exploring how people have, or have not been, supported to make their own decisions. It was funded by Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) and is using a coproduction approach between disabled people, Praxis, Mencap and Queen’s. The project involves peer researchers interviewing 20 people with mental health problems and 20 people with intellectual disabilities to gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences of supported decision-making and their preferences and ideas for how decision-making should be supported in the new legal framework.  The project therefore aims to provide an overview of approaches to support and what people are identifying that works for them. It is intended that this will inform how the new support principle should be implemented in practice.

DRN members involved in the study are Dr Gavin Davidson, Dr Berni Kelly, Dr Rebecca Irvine and Dr Alison McLaughlin. For more information contact Dr Gavin Davidson

 

 

New Book Chapter on UNCRPD

Bronagh Byrne has a chapter in a new book Disability Law and Policy: An Analysis of the UN Convention. Essential reading for legal practitioners, academics, researchers and disability rights groups, this book undertakes a multidisciplinary examination of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Bronagh's chapter 'Reconciling Sameness and Difference in Disability Rights Ideology: The Case of Student Identity' explores barriers to education for young people with hearing and visual impairments and the ‘crisis of belonging’ that emerged for these young people between accessing the curriculum on the one hand through various forms of support, and adopting a perceived 'independent' student identity on the other. 

 

The Implications of Brexit for Disabled People

The debate about the EU referendum has so far seen the two camps facing off over trade, sovereignty and security. There has been relatively little discussion about what Brexit means for ordinary voters, especially the 11m people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability who live in the UK. Dr Bronagh Byrne from the DRN explores the implications of Brexit for disabled people in an article for The Conversation.

 

Seminar: Putting People at the Heart of Human Rights

This seminar, organised by the ARK Ageing Programme and the Disability Research Network, will compare and contrast human rights issues associated with the rights of children and young people; people with disabilities; and older people. The keynote speaker is Professor John Williams (University of Aberystwyth).


 Monday 19 October 2015 from 1.15-4.30 pm

Canada Room/Council Chamber, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University Belfast.

 

A light lunch will be available at 12.30. You can download the flyer here

The event is free, although places are limited and so must be booked in advance. If you would like to book a place, please email caroline.ohare@qub.ac.uk.

There will be a lift and a loop system available. If you have any other accessibility requirements, please emai lcaroline.ohare@qub.ac.uk

 

Upcoming event on the sexual exploitation of children and young people with learning disabilities

Friday 18th September 2015 at 2:30-4:30pm in the Great Hall, QUB.

The DRN are hosting the launch of findings from a pioneering research project. The research was funded by Comic Relief and conducted by a team of researchers from Coventry University, Paradigm Research and The Children’s Society, working in partnership with Barnardo’s and the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD). The launch is a chance to discuss the findings and recommendations of the report and share initial thoughts on the opportunities and challenges ahead to ensure this group of young people are better safeguarded in the future. To book a place at this event, please register your interest with Nicole Fassihi at policy@barnardos.org.uk

 

September 2015 Newsletter

3 September 2015

The Disability Research Network has produced its latest newsletter. To download the newsletter please click here

 

Upcoming Seminar

The ARK Ageing Programme is hosting the seminar

 

Population Ageing Affects All Age Groups

Speakers:

Professor Pearl Dykstra (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Gemma Carney and Paula Devine (ARK Ageing Programme)

Thursday 17 September 2015, 2 - 4 pm, G0/008, 18 College Green

 

 

Registration begins at 1.30 pm. Tea and coffee will be available. 

The event is free, although places are limited and so must be booked in advance. 

If you would like to book a place, please email caroline.ohare@qub.ac.uk.

Further information is available at www.ark.ac.uk/ap/events/dykstra/

 

22 May 2015

The DRN is delighted to host Kate Cameron, Lead Practitioner in Disability Services, South Australia. She will be presenting a seminar:

 

"When it seems too much: Supporting voluntarily placed looked after children and their families in South Australia".

 

1-2pm, Wednesday 10th June 2015

Room 1.35, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, 6 College Park

 

To register, please contact Caroline O’Hare at: caroline.ohare@qub.ac.uk

 

12 May 2015

Communication Access for Deaf people in the Healthcare Setting:  An Insider’s View from the Outside

Monday 1 June 2015, 3pm – 4pm

Canada Room, Queen’s University Belfast

 

Michael is currently a Fulbright Scholar at Queen’s University Belfast where he is conducting research on access to healthcare for deaf people in Northern Ireland. Michael Schwartz, a deaf lawyer, is an associate professor and director of the Disability Rights Clinic, Syracuse law school's civil rights clinic for people with disabilities.  Formerly a University Fellow, Schwartz holds five degrees, including a Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University in Education with a concentration in Disability Studies. Michael will discuss some of his findings to date.

 

To register, please contact Caroline O’Hare at: caroline.ohare@qub.ac.uk

 

12 May 2015

Communication Access for Deaf people in the Healthcare Setting:  An Insider’s View from the Outside

Monday 1 June 2015, 3pm – 4pm

Canada Room, Queen’s University Belfast

 

Michael is currently a Fulbright Scholar at Queen’s University Belfast where he is conducting research on access to healthcare for deaf people in Northern Ireland. Michael Schwartz, a deaf lawyer, is an associate professor and director of the Disability Rights Clinic, Syracuse law school's civil rights clinic for people with disabilities.  Formerly a University Fellow, Schwartz holds five degrees, including a Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University in Education with a concentration in Disability Studies. Michael will discuss some of his findings to date.

 

To register, please contact Caroline O’Hare at: caroline.ohare@qub.ac.uk

 

Upcoming Seminar

29 January 2015

 

The Social and Political Landscape of Family Caregiving for Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the United States

 

Speaker: Susan L. Parish

Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, Brandeis University, USA

 

2.30pm-4.00pm, Wednesday 25th February 2015

School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work,

6 College Park, QUB

 Abstract

Most Americans with intellectual disabilities (ID) live with family caregivers. These family members have unique characteristics, marked by lifelong care responsibilities, adverse health outcomes, specialized knowledge to navigate the fragmented service system, and high living costs. There are long waits for residential services, and only a small fraction of the United States’ ID system expenditures goes toward family support. Further, this population is generally the poorest in the US. Increasing life expectancies translate into the greatest unmet need for ID services in US history. This presentation will describe the challenges and landscape of family caregiving for children and adults with ID in the US. It will explore the pressing questions that face American policy makers and advocates: How will states address the needs of aging parent caregivers, as individuals with ID live longer than ever before? What are the long-term consequences of chronic poverty and deprivation in these caregiving families? How can resources be mustered to strengthen family support?

There is no charge to attend this event but booking is essential. Please reserve a place by emailing Caroline O’Hare, caroline.ohare@qub.ac.uk

 

DRN Newsletter November 2014

17 November 2014

The Disability Research Network has produced its second Newsletter outlining its activities to date. To download the newsletter please click here.

 

Child Poverty in Northern Ireland - new report includes chapter on disability
 
5 November 2014

The Child Poverty Alliance (CPA), co-chaired by Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) and Save the Children launched a report on Monday 3rd November, 2014 in the Long Gallery, Stormont. The CPA commissioned experts to write articles on key aspects of child poverty in Northern Ireland. The report, entitled ‘Beneath the Surface: Child Poverty in Northern Ireland’, aims to provide insights into the issues exacerbating child poverty in Northern Ireland. 

The report includes a chapter on child poverty and disability, authored by Dr Bronagh Byrne. Drawing on data from the 2011/12 Family Resources Survey, the chapter examines the existing evidence and considers some of the current challenges which may have a disproportionate impact on children with disabilities and on children with a disabled parent or family member. Evidence indicates that children who have a disability and children who live in a household with a disabled parent or sibling are most likely to experience poverty.  However, ascertaining the true levels of child poverty in the context of disability is deeply problematic and the extent of poverty among children living in households where someone is disabled continues to be underestimated. To treat disability benefits as income in the measurement of poverty masks the true extent of child poverty. Once benefits are removed from income, data suggests that the child poverty rate increases by 4% with the disparity greater in Northern Ireland than the UK, due largely to higher levels of disability.

Addressing the challenges posed by the intersection between disability and childhood, and ensuring the right to an adequate standard of living for all children and their families, must first begin by acknowledgment of the true levels of poverty and the subsequent implications this poses for children with disabilities and children living in disabled families in realising their full potential. Concluding, the chapter recommends that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) guide ministerial fulfilment of the right to an adequate standard of living for children living with disabilities.

The report can be downloaded from Children in Northern Ireland here.

 

Age Encounters, 25 November 2014

27 October 2014

‘Age Encounters’ is hosted by the ARK Ageing Prorgramme, and is a network of researchers, academics and practitioners with an interest in age. Each ‘age encounter’ has presentations from speakers from different sectors, along with time to chat over coffee. The next event will take place on Tuesday 25th November 2014, in the Old Staff Common Room, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University Belfast. Tea/coffee and registration start at 2.30, and presentations will begin at 3pm.

Our speakers will be:

  • Lorna Montgomery and Janet Carter Anand (School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast), who will discuss their recent research on services for socially-isolated older men in Belfast
  • Rejuvenate Project, North Belfast, who will highlight their services for men aged 55+ living across North Belfast

The event is free, but places must be booked in advance. Please RSVP by Friday 21st November to Caroline, by email caroline.rice@qub.ac.uk or by phone 028 9097 3222

For more information, see http://www.ark.ac.uk/ap/age_encounters/aenov14/

 

Visit by Professor Nancy Hansen, University of Manitoba

26 October 2014

The Disability Research Network were delighted to welcome Professor Nancy Hansen from University of Manitoba, Canada to QUB on 21-24 October 2014. During her visit, Nancy gave a presentation on the following topic:

‘Chronically unexpected: Disabled People's Experiences with Primary Healthcare’


Nancy also met with DRN members, social work students, and gave a talk to final year undergraduate disability studies students on 'Disability, Media, Art and Culture.

Nancy is currently Director of the Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba. Nancy obtained her PhD from the University of Glasgow. Her thesis examined the impact of education and social policy on the employment experiences of women with physical disabilities . Nancy’s Post-Doctoral Research, also at University of Glasgow, examined women with disabilities’ access to primary health care. Nancy received an Einstein Research Fellowship examining Disability Studies and the Legacy of Nazi Eugenics. She is also past president of the Canadian Disability Studies Association (CDSA).

 

Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

29 September 2014

The second Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival will be held on 8th-13th October 2014 – details of all events on the Festival website at www.nimhaff.org or here

 

New report on challenges young deaf people experience when making the transition from school

26 September 2014

A new research report ‘Opening Doors’ has been launched at Queen’s University Belfast. The research, carried out by Dr Bronagh Byrne and Dr Siobhan McAlister on behalf of Action on Hearing Loss NI, looks at the difficulties many young people who are deaf or who have a hearing loss experience when making the transition from school.

The research team interviewed young deaf people, aged 16-24, with varying levels of hearing loss and different communication methods, from across Northern Ireland, on their experience of transitions to post-16 education, employment and training. Interviews were also carried out with professionals working across these settings.

The report points to a number of common themes:

  • Limited access to information – young deaf people are not always informed about the options open to them when they leave school, or what support they can access.
  • Limited access to qualified sign language interpreters– the lack of qualified interpreters, and the high costs associated with these, impacts on the level of inclusion and understanding of young people and the ability of educators, trainers and employers to meet communication needs.
  • A disjointed approach to careers planning and support across Government departments, schools, colleges, universities, and employment and training services.
  • Lack of confidence and low expectations: Many felt that young deaf people often had low levels of confidence which impacted on their school and post-school experiences. This could also impact on their ability/ willingness to request support in school, further and higher education, and work environments.
  • Insufficient deaf awareness: Lack of deaf awareness was a major concern. This ranged from teachers at school through to Disability Advisors and Learning Support Offers in further and higher education. Disability training for trainers and employers often does not include deaf awareness.
  • Limited participation of young people in decision-making processes: Despite policies and legislative frameworks to enhance young people’s participation, their experiences often suggest that these are not effectively translated into practice.
  • Social isolation: Young deaf and hard of hearing people reported feelings of exclusion and social isolation in mainstream schools, in further and higher education and in work environments. This issue was not recognised by professionals.

Jackie White, NI Director of Action on Hearing Loss says: “We are pleased that we have now got real evidence to support what we have known for a long time – that young people who are deaf or who have a hearing loss are not being given the support they are entitled to, to enable them to be involved in making important decisions about their future.

"The work now begins to effectively tackle issues such as inaccessible information, inadequate budgets for qualified communication support, confidence-building and empowerment for school leavers, the education of professionals, and creating equality in how young deaf people experience education and the workplace.”

The report has been welcomed by the Minister for Employment and Learning, Stephen Farry MLA. The Department of Employment and Learning are due to issue a response to the report in due course.

Read the Summary Report or download the Full report here


For more information contact Dr Bronagh Byrne or Dr Siobhán McAlister

 

6th World Congress on Mental Health and Deafness, 16-19 September 2014, Queen's University Belfast

31 July 2014

The 6th World Congress on Mental Health and Deafness is being hosted by European Society for Mental Health and Deafness in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast and The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The theme of the Congress is Pathways To Rights. This reflects the rights of Deaf people to equality in mental health care. On all levels of care, diagnosis and treatment, research and development of provision, professionals all over the world are confronted with the challenge to provide this care.

The Congress takes place on 16-19 September, Riddel Hall, Queen's University Belfast. For full programme and to register, see www.wcmhd2014.org

 

Event: At the Crossroads: Preparing for an Ageing Population, 27 August 2014

28 July 2014

Jointly organised by AgeNI and the ARK Ageing Programme, this conference will bring together leading experts on ageing and will explore how policy makers and service providers in Northern Ireland can best prepare for demographic change.

Academics and practitioners will present their analyses and recommendations on key issues including dementia, housing, employment, building an age-friendly Northern Ireland, effective consultation processes, and engaging with ‘hard to reach’ groups. This conference is free of charge.

Speakers include:

  • Professor Robin Means, University of the West of England
  • Professor Marian Barnes, University of Brighton
  • Professor Vanessa Burholt, Swansea University
  • Dr David Lain, University of Brighton
  • Susan Russam, GEMS Northern Ireland Limited
  • Dr Malcolm Fisk, Age Research Centre, Coventry University
  • Dr Katherine Brookfield University of Edinburgh
  • Paul McGarry, Valuing Older People Team, Manchester City Council

Date: Wednesday 27th August, 2014, 9:30am to 4:00pm

Riddel Hall, Queen’s University Belfast. Lunch will be provided.

To register your interest and receive a full programme of the day, please contact Michele Young; e: Michele.young@ageni.org,

t: 02890 892606

 

New Report on shortfalls in public policy and programme delivery in Northern Ireland relative to the Articles of the UNCRPD

11 July 2014

In 2010, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI), as part of the Independent Mechanism in Northern Ireland (IMNI), contracted research to develop an expert paper to set out robust evidence of any substantive shortfalls in public  policy and programme delivery in Northern Ireland relative to the key requirements of  the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD);  highlighting any key issues / barriers to full implementation. The report, ‘Disability  programmes and policies: How does Northern Ireland measure up?’ was published  by ECNI in 2012. The present report was commissioned by the ECNI to update the 2012 Report an  to contribute to the evidence base that IMNI will draw upon in its engagement with  the examination of the United Kingdom (UK) by the United Nations (UN) Committee in 2014 and 2015.

The research, which was carried out by Dr Bronagh Byrne, Dr Colin Harper, Rebecca Shea Irvine, Hannah Russell, and Barry Fitzpatrick, found that priority gaps identified in 2010 remained - specifically with respect to: Awareness raising (Article 8); Participation in political and public life (Article 29); Access to information (Articles 9 and 21) and Statistics and data collection (Article 31).  Read the report at: http://www.equalityni.org/Research-investigations#sthash.q8dPzrcl.dpuf For more information please contact Dr Bronagh Byrne.

 

DRN Newsletter

30 June 2014

The Disability Research Network has produced its first newsletter outlining activities to date. To download the newsletter please click here.

 

DRN to host annual seminar of the UK Disabled Child Research Network

18 June 2014

The Disability Research Network at Queen’s University Belfast is hosting the annual seminar of the UK DISABLED CHILD RESEARCH NETWORK on the 25th June 2014.  This UK wide network brings together academics and practitioners who are acknowledged experts in the field of disability research with reference to children and young people, as well as early career researchers and PhD students.  The scope of their work is interdisciplinary and firmly grounded in the social, educational and policy context pertinent to disabled children and their families.  There is a strong focus on methodological developments in research within the network.  This free event has been hosted at Universities throughout the UK on successive years (since 2011), with the Network having formed following an ESRC Seminar Series entitled Researching Disabled Children’s Lives.  The full day seminar will present an exciting programme of speakers will be attended by delegates from all over the UK.

 

Call for Evidence: Committee Inquiry into Post-Special Educational Need (SEN) Provision in Northern Ireland

5 June 2014

The Committee for Employment and Learning is undertaking an inquiry into post-special educational need (SEN) provision in education, employment and training for people with learning disabilities in Northern Ireland. A 'Call for Evidence' seeking views on this issue has been issued with an extended deadline of the 30 June 2014. Additional information on submitting a response (including the Terms of Reference) is available on the Northern Ireland Assembly website, http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Assembly-Business/Committees/Employment-and-Learning/Inquiries/Inquiry-into-post-Special-Educational-Need-Provision-in-education-employment-and-training-for-those-with-Learning-Disabilities/. Rebecca Irvine is assisting the Committee with the Inquiry and may be contacted at rirvine13@qub.ac.uk with any questions.

 

New publication on disability, crisis and conflict

4 June 2014

Irvine, R (2014) ‘Getting Disability on the Post-Conflict Agenda: the Role of a Disability Movement’ in D. Mitchell & V. Karr (Eds.) Conflict, Disaster and Disability: Ensuring Equality. New York: Routledge. 

Rebecca Irvine (DRN member & QUB post-graduate student) has published a chapter in the new book Crises, Conflict, and Disability: Ensuring Equality edited by David Mitchell (College of Education at Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand) and Valerie Karr (University of New Hampshire and Director of World Enabled). The book, which includes global perspectives on how people with disabilities are adversely affected by conflict and natural disasters, will be launched on the 12th of June as a side event to the Seventh session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York. Information on the book can be found at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crises-Conflict-Disability-Ensuring-Routledge/dp/0415811651.

 

Consultation on new Mental Capacity Legislation for Northern Ireland


28 May 2014

Proposals for new Mental Capacity legislation for Northern Ireland have now been released for consultation. Further information can be found on the DHSSPS website:

DHSSPS E-Consultations | DHSSPS (NI)

http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/showconsultations?txtid=68523

 

Presentations at the ‘Growing up with an intellectual disability’ conference, Mencap and Inclusion Europe

20 May 2014

Members of the DRN presented two presentations at the recent Mencap and Inclusion Europe Conference in Belfast on the themes of participation and priorities for disabled young people in transition.

Dr Berni Kelly & Sam Gibson (Barnardo’s Participation Project) - Priorities for Young People: Moving Forward into Adult Life

This paper focused on the process of working in partnership with the disabled young people as part of a study on transition to adult life for young people with learning disabilities. The presentation explored the ways in which academics and disabled young people can work together at all stages of the research process including the production of accessible recruitment materials to analysis and presentation of findings. Three key themes arising from the study were addressed including: having a say, person-centred planning and action; and emotional wellbeing.

Dr Patricia McNeilly & Teresa Stewart (Barnardo’s Participation Project) – The participation of children and young people.

This session was presented in 2 parts.  The first part reported findings from an ESRC funded research study that aimed to explore the participation of disabled children, young people and their parents in health and social care. While many disabled children and young people in the study indicated that they were happy for parents and professionals to take the lead in decision making, evidence from this study suggests that when they are drawn into participatory processes this built self-confidence and self-determination.  The second part of the session reported current work around this area within Northern Ireland by the Disabled Children and Young People’s Participation Project.  The aim of the Project is to create opportunities for children & young people with disabilities to have their say on issues that affect them and to support them in having their say.  This part of the presentation explored various ways of how best to engage and work with children and young people who have disabilities. It high-lighted a range of mediums in doing this; such as art, drama, group discussion and games.  The audience were reminded about the importance of young people having their say, as they were informed itgives the young people confidence.  Furthermore, the audience were told that the young people consider themselves as the experts in their own lives and they feel their opinions can make a difference for other young people and families.

New York Academic awarded Fulbright Scholarship to undertake research with DRN

19 May 2014

Professor Michael Schwartz from Syracuse University, New York has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to undertake a research project at Queen’s University Belfast in the 2014-15 academic year. Michael’s research will focus on: ‘Access to Health Care for Deaf People: How is Northern Ireland Complying with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?’

Michael Schwartz, a deaf lawyer, is an associate professor and director of the Disability Rights Clinic, Syracuse law school's civil rights clinic for people with disabilities.  Formerly a University Fellow, Schwartz holds five degrees, including a Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University in Education with a concentration in Disability Studies.

 

New publication on experiences of young people with visual impairment and hearing impairment in third-level education

15 May 2014

Byrne, B. (2014) Getting In and Getting On? The Experiences of Young People with Visual Impairments and Hearing Impairments in Third-level Education, International Journal of Disability Development and Education, 61(2) pp.119-133

Abstract

Young disabled people continue to be under-represented throughout further and higher education settings. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s social theory of habitus, capital and field, this paper explores the practices of domination and oppression that have made it difficult for young people with visual impairments and hearing impairments to participate in third-level education on the same basis as non-disabled people. Twenty young people with hearing impairments and visual impairments were interviewed about their educational experiences. In addition, 31 interviews were conducted with third-level education providers, policy-makers and non-governmental organisations. This article has two aims: firstly, to critically examine the experiences of young people with hearing impairments and visual impairments in accessing and engaging with support provisions in further and higher education settings; and secondly, to identify and explore the diversity of ways in which these young people have managed and responded to the practices they have encountered. This article emphasises the journey from ability to dis-ability that young people with hearing and visual impairments experience in their quest for educational achievement. The ambiguities of “inclusion”, “widening participation” and “support” are highlighted and critiqued for their extensive failure to challenge taken-for-granted discourses.

For full publication, see: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/.U3JFB1e7n1I#.U3nK3PldVqU

 

Seminar on Northern Ireland Mental Capacity Bill by Dr Colin Harper

07 May 2014

DRN Visiting Research Fellow Dr Colin Harper gave a seminar on the Northern Ireland Mental Capacity Bill. The seminar which was entitled ‘Policy development, mental disorder and legal drafting: the NI Mental Capacity Bill’ explored the international human rights framework approach to ‘disability’ and ‘mental capacity’ and its impact on social policy using the Northern Ireland Mental Capacity Bill as an example.

For more details, contact Dr Colin Harper at c.harper@qub.ac.uk

 

Submission to UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

01 April 2014

DRN Visiting Research Fellow Dr Colin Harper has made a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in response to its call for comments on its Draft General Comment  No. 1 on Article 12 of the CRPD on Equal Recognition before the Law. His submission is available on the Committee website at:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/DGCArticles12And9.aspx

 

New Visiting Research Fellow

30 March 2014

The Disability Research Network is delighted to welcome Dr Colin Harper as the DRN’s first visiting research fellow. Dr Harper previously managed the Centre on Human Rights for People with Disabilities and was involved in actively lobbying the UK Government in the ratification of the UNCRPD. He was also previously a philosophy lecturer at UU and a research fellow in the Department of Mental Health in Queen’s School of Medicine. Dr Harper is currently Assistant Director for Mental Health and Community Care Policy at the Law Centre NI as well as an independent consultant. His research interests lie in the CRPD, mental health and mental capacity law, and the law and ethics of confidentiality in health and social care. Dr Harper is currently working with Dr Bronagh Byrne and Dr Gavin Davidson on a range of projects.

 

Seminars on Mental Health

20 February 2014

Members of the DRN presented two presentations at the Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS) in Parliament Buildings on the theme of mental health.

Dr Gavin Davidson - How will the Mental Capacity (Health, Welfare and Finance) Bill work in practice?

This presentation used case examples to demonstrate how the proposed Mental Capacity Bill will provide a comprehensive framework for supported and substitute decision making, for people whose decision-making ability is impaired, in Northern Ireland. The case examples covered both civil and criminal justice aspects of the new law across a range of levels and settings. This applied approach explored the proposed assessment, intervention and review aspects of the Mental Capacity Bill. It also facilitated consideration of: the scope of the new law; the proposed safeguards; compulsion in non-hospital settings; advance care planning; and addressing public safety issues. The discussion of the case studies, and how the new law would apply to them, was based on the views of a range of key stakeholders. The presentation also highlighted education, training and research priorities for implementing the Bill.

Dr Berni Kelly & Dr Sandra Dowling - Addressing the over-representation of looked after children with mental health needs and/or disabilities in Northern Ireland

This presentation reported on a study examining disabled looked after children in Northern Ireland. Drawing on the UNCRPD definition of disability, the study includes looked after children with mental health needs, and this presentation focuses on this group, which represents a high proportion of the looked after population. The presentation presented themes arising from completed literature and policy reviews, and findings from a survey that profiled disabled looked after children in Northern Ireland. Focusing on those with mental health needs, the presentation explored findings in relation to: reasons for entry to care; family contact; looked after status; number and type of placements; service needs and service access.

 

 

Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

24 February 2014

 The second Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival will be held on 9th-13th October 2014 – details of all events on the Festival website at www.nimhaff.org

 

   

Members examine shortfalls in disability policies and programmes in Northern Ireland

04 February 2014

Members of the Disability Research Network have been commissioned by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to look at how well policies and programmes measure up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The project is being undertaken by Dr Bronagh Byrne, Dr Colin Harper, Barry Fitzpatrick, Hannah Russell and Rebecca Shea Irvine. It will be used to assist the Equality Commission, and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (who have been jointly designated as the ‘Independent Mechanism’ for NI under Article 33 of the UNCRPD), in the development of:

  • Potential topics to be raised to the attention of the UN Committee and subsequently the UK State Party in a 2014 ‘List of Issues’ paper;
  • Submissions to the UN Committee, by the UK Independent Mechanism, to assist in its examination of the UK State Party in April 2015; and
  • Engagement with the Executive, Departments and Stakeholders in Northern Ireland regarding the advancement of the Convention and equality for people with disabilities in Northern Ireland.

The project is a follow up to an earlier piece of work (Harper, McClenahan, Byrne and Russell, 2012) which identified a range of shortfalls and gaps in key policies and programmes relevant to the articles of the Convention. The research also highlighted three key (cross cutting) areas for action fundamental to fulfilling the implementation, monitoring and accessibility requirements of the Convention. These were:

  • Awareness Raising (Article 8);
  • Participation in Public and Political Life (Article 29);
  • Access to Information and Statistics and Data Collection (Articles 9, 21 and 31)

The current project will examine what, if anything, has changed since the last report.

For more information on the project, contact Dr Bronagh Byrne b.byrne@qub.ac.uk

Dr Berni Kelly and Dr Bronagh Byrne launched the new Disability Research Network

20th September 2013 at Queen’s University Belfast.

‌The Disability Research Network is a new multi-disciplinary initiative aimed at enhancing collaboration between academics, policymakers, practitioners and community and voluntary sector organisations with an interest in disability studies and research. It provides a unique opportunity for members to share knowledge and disseminate the growing body of disability research being carried out in Northern Ireland, stimulate debate about disability issues and develop collaborative partnerships for future disability research and further development of disability policy and practice.

 

Further information is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/DisabilityResearchNetworkAcademics and researchers who are members of the Disability Research Network