Last week, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) held Power of Disability, an online conference for students with disabilities.
The conference, organised in conjunction with AHEAD, included discussions, presentations and feedback sessions which presented an great opportunity for students with disabilities to learn about leadership and to help encourage them and build skills for “self-advocacy and constructive advocacy”.
The conference was held from January 25-26 from 11.30am to 3pm. It was held on Zoom and was attended by students of all levels, including undergraduate, postgraduate and from further education and training (FET) courses.
In a Tweet on Wednesday, USI President Beth O’Reilly said: “So delighted to be attending #PowerOfDisability today, an amazing collaboration between @TheUSI and @aheadireland”.
Day one of the two-day conference focused on education with sessions on Language and Disability, UDL in Tertiary Education, Knowing Your Rights and Assistive Technology Demo.
Maeve Richardson, USI Deputy President and VP for Equality and Citizenship praised a comment made by the Disability and Language panel: “‘Not everyone in a minority is your own personal google’ great comment from the Disability & Language panel from #PowerofDisability taking on the role of the educator can be so exhausting when it comes to disability!”
The second day focused on empowerment and constructive advocacy. This was led fully by students and all speakers were current students with disabilities
The sessions included a feedback session followed by a breakout session where attendees were divided into 3 sessions – Setting Up a Disability Related Society, Constructive Self Advocacy and Get Involved in your SU.
AHEAD, which co-organised the event, is a non-profit organisation which is working towards creating inclusive environments in education and employment for people with disabilities.