Miriam Walsh, IDK´s journalist intern, recently met Emma Clarke, project officer of Trinity College Dublin´s Deaf Support at Third-Level (DS3) project to find out what supports students can use.
Starting college is never easy. Sometimes none of your friends are at the same college and you may be far away from home. Being deaf or hard of hearing brings extra challenges and can make it harder to fit into college life, leaving students feeling isolated.
DS3 tackles this by offering a summer school for secondary school students. This takes place during the summer before college. Here, students can meet other deaf or hard of hearing students and build up a network of friends to turn to when starting college. Sometimes they may be lucky enough to find someone going to the same college or even doing the same course.
DS3 can also arrange shadow days for 5th/6th year students for students to shadow someone in the career they wish to study. This benefits students as they can see first hand the challenges they would face, and find out if they would like the job or not.
Once students get to college, DS3 is also there to help. Students receive texts on a regular basis to make sure they are doing OK and in November there is a summer school reunion.
The main challenges that DS3 faces is getting through to students in schools. There is no simple way to do this other than through the CAO, which is not always reliable. It is important for students and parents to know that DS3 exists as the transition into college can be made easier.
Each year there has been an increase in numbers attending the summer school and it is hoped this will continue.
DS3 provides information on the supports available to third level students including note takers, subject specific tuition, academic support, reading support, electronic notetaking and ISL interpreters.
The DS3 website has more information on all of the above. As Emma notes the website is “for students by students”. The content is student friendly with blogs and videos. In the blogs students talk about the supports they use, the challenges they face and also some of the fun they have. They are good reading for students considering college.
DS3 is also on YouTube, Facebook and Flickr. Through these sites students can get in contact with old friends and make new ones.