Deaf school-leavers have the same third-level study options as their hearing peers, with digital hearing-devices giving better access to higher education. Some choose careers in the speech-pathology, audiology and ENT fields after growing up as service users
The Careers page on this site (see left) lists careers chosen by students who’re deaf and hard of hearing, who push boundaries. All were educated outside of Ireland with higher expectations overall.
In Ireland, a February 2007 paper from DAWN (Disability Advisors Working Network) found why deaf students didn’t move to third level:
- Low academic expectations for deaf students at second level
- Under-utilisation of the CAO Direct Entry system by deaf students
- Poor transition from second-level education to third-level
- The student may be the first, or only, deaf person in their class/es
- Skill gaps in areas like written English, new terminology & library use
- Lack of a national initiative involving deaf graduates and students
DAWN (now defunct?) represents all Ireland’s universities and the Institutes of Technology (AIT, CIT, DIT, WIT & ITT), NCAD & NCI, but deaf students have a way to go to reach parity with other countries.
Future progress depends on families’ self-advocacy, strategic funding for education and the determination of deaf students in using third-level study to benefit their potential quality of life.
Only then, can deaf people move beyond being one of the most significantly under-represented minority student groups in 3rd and 4th-level education in Ireland notably.