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Promoting Disability Equality in Ireland The Role of DESSA – the Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency. Presentation to the FRC National Forum Tuesday 10 th March 2009 . Social Model of Disability.

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Promoting Disability Equality in IrelandThe Role of DESSA – the Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency

Presentation to the FRC National Forum

Tuesday 10th March 2009

Social model of disability
Social Model of Disability

Restrictions imposed on disabled people are not a natural or inevitable consequence of their impairment but are a product of a social environment which fails to take into account certain people.


To change society so that disabled people can participate on an equal basis with everyone else

Delivery of strategic supports to Family Resource Centres

FRCs identify actions to include all members of their communities

Challenge of inclusion
Challenge of Inclusion

  • Premises inaccessible

  • Don’t know any disabled people

  • Not our responsibility – taken care of elsewhere

  • Don’t know how

  • Never been asked/never considered it

  • Fear of offending/doing the wrong thing

Dessa work

  • Capacity Building

  • Networking

  • Policy Development


DESSA will pursue the active involvement and full participation of disabled people in society by delivering strategic supports to Community Development Organisations

Steps to mainstream participation
Steps to Mainstream Participation

A series of programmes and supports designed to empower disabled people and community development practitioners with knowledge and capacity to ensure the active participation of disabled people within the community

Community advocacy
Community Advocacy

Use the FRC model as a means of providing representative advocacy services to disabled people and their families

Disabled people will have access to a professional and effective advocacy service within their local community

Community inclusion initiative
Community Inclusion Initiative

The Community Inclusion Initiative will bring together FRCs and other stakeholders in the West Cork / South Kerry region to develop a coherent strategic approach to the inclusion of families experiencing disability

Community inclusion initiative1
Community Inclusion Initiative

A model of good practice for the inclusion of disabled children within community based childcare and play settings which contributes to the overall mainstreaming of disabled children within their communities

Establishment of a peer support structure for parents of disabled children

Project background
Project Background

June 2007

Meeting with the Caha Centre and local parents

Family Support & Inclusion Network

2006 – 2007

DESSA Childcare Inclusion Programme

92 childcare and play workers trained in Inclusive Provision

Manual of Best Practice developed

Framework for accredited Early Years Training

What we hope to achieve
What we hope to achieve?

  • Awareness of Inclusion

  • Provision of support and training enabling inclusion

  • Engagement with parents

  • Build ways and means for communities to meet disabled children and their families