Are you planning to apply to the CAO? Do you stammer? Then you may be eligible for DARE.
24 colleges, universities and Institutes of Technologies (Higher Education Institutions – HEIs) around Ireland take part in the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) scheme. DARE is for students, under the age of 23, who experience a negative impact on their school education as a result of a disability or specific learning difficulty. Speech and language communication disorder is one of the conditions considered as part of the scheme, which could include having a stammer.
If you’re an eligible applicant, you may be offered a place on your preferred CAO course, even if you don’t have enough Leaving Certificate points. All of the participating HEIs have a reserved number of DARE places, and the reduction in Leaving Certificate points can vary year-on-year. As usual, you must meet the HEI’s minimum entry requirements and any specific programme requirements. Details of places available and requirements can be found on www.accesscollege.ie.
As a DARE student, you’re encouraged to register with student support services. Even if you don’t qualify for DARE, you might still be able to access a variety of academic, personal and social supports in your HEI.
Am I eligible and how do I apply?
To be eligible for DARE, you must apply for the scheme via the CAO, providing evidence of 1) being a person who stammers and 2) the educational impact this has had.
1) In order to provide evidence of being a person who stammers, you must submit an Evidence of Disability Form (available on www.accesscollege.ie or www.cao.ie) or an existing report completed and signed by a Speech and Language Therapist.
2) In order to provide evidence of the educational impact this has had, you must submit an Educational Impact Statement (available on www.accesscollege.ie or www.cao.ie). This must be completed with your school, signed and stamped by your school principal or deputy principal, and signed by you and your parent/guardian. It should outline how you meet any two of the DARE Educational Impact criteria: 1. Have you received intervention or supports in secondary school as a result of having a stammer? 2. Has having a stammer impacted on your attendance or regularly disrupted your school day? 3. Has it affected your school experience and wellbeing? 4. Has it impacted on your learning or exam results? 5. Has it caused any other educational impact?
It can take a while to gather and finalise your documentation so you’re encouraged to start as soon as possible.
Applicants who are eligible for both the HEAR and DARE schemes are prioritised. HEAR is for students from a background of socio-economic disadvantage and, like DARE, offers HEI places on reduced Leaving Certificate points. You should apply to both DARE and HEAR if they are relevant to you.
If you have more than one disability, all of your disabilities can be assessed for eligibility under DARE as long as you provide evidence of them and the educational impact they have had.
People who stammer are individuals. We all have our own thoughts about stammering, and we have all had our own unique experiences of being a person who stammers.