At a minimum get your Leaving Cert, that’s required anyway. But don’t sell yourself short aim for a third level college qualification, something like a science degree. It may not have obvious benefits now but the career is changing direction so fast it could stand to you big time.
Take your time in applying I joined the service when I was 25 yrs old and looking back I think around that age is the right time. When you consider some of the calls we attend and things we may need to deal with, joining at 17 or 18 after the Leaving Cert with little or no life experiences may turn you off because it is very demanding physically, mentally and emotionally.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a general term covering a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and coordination. Neurological conditions affect the brain and nervous system. Cerebral Palsy is caused by damage to the brain, which normally occurs before, during or soon after birth.
There are several different types of CP. The main categories are defined according to which messages are jumbled - brain and nervous system functions, such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing and thinking.
Types of CP include spastic, athetoid, ataxic,and also mixed:
Spastic CP affects the muscles and joints
Athetoid CP results in involuntary movements as muscles tense and relax. There can often also be difficulty controling movements for breathing nad speech. Hearing may also be affected.
Ataxic CP - the whole body is affected, in particular balance and co-ordination.
It is estimated that 1 in 400 students are affected by CP and there is a huge variation in the manner in which cerebral palsy affects each individual.
IMPACT ON LEARNING SKILLS & DEVELOPMENT
The effects of CP vary from individual to individual. Some people appear to have no obvious effects while others may be non-speaking or may use mobility devices and personal attendants to assist them with daily living.
Depending on which areas of the brain have been injured, one or more of the following may occur:
muscle tightness or spasm
difficulty with gross motor skills such as walking or running
difficulty with fine motor skills such as writing and speaking
abnormal perception and sensation
The main effect of CP is difficulty in movement, but other parts of the brain can also be affected, resulting in sight, hearing, perception and learning difficulties.Some people are also affected by epilepsy. Mental abilities may not be impaired at all.
Students with CP may experience:
Difficulty distinguishing shapes (A problem of visual perception rather than eyesight)
Learning difficulties that are sometimes related to a specific activity such as reading, drawing or maths
Communication difficulties (including social mixing difficulties)
Difficulties in processing and in ordering information
Spatial and perceptual difficulties.
Learning Strategies and Supports
Cerebral Palsy affects the part of the brain which controls movement and posture. In some cases, it also affects speech and /or sight.
Students with CP may require the support of an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist's recommendations are shared with the mainstream class teacher. As cerebral palsy affects muscle control, students with cerebral palsy in an academic setting, may require:
The support of an SNA
Use of assistive technology to cope with the written demands of the school curriculum
Handouts of class materials
Help with copying materials from the board
Extra time for specific tasks and in examination conditions
Large print/audio text books
To being given rest breaks if required
Specialised equipment may also be necessary such as adapted keyboards, page turners, word boards or special desk
If writing is difficult consider using a tape recorder
As students tend to become distracted quite easily minimise distractions in the classroom/study environment
Where the person with CP is a wheelchair user, where possible place yourself at their eyelevel when talking to them
Table-type desks with adequate leg space will need to be considered if the student has a wheelchair. The board in the classroom may have to be lowered if the student is in a wheelchair
Use easels, portable reading racks or adjustable desks to facilitate students’ reading
At Primary Level Education:
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At Second Level Education:
Post-primary students with special educational needs may attend a mainstream post-primary school. They may be in mainstream classes with the support of a learning support/resource teacher and/or the care support of a special needs assistant or may be in a special class.
A school may apply for a grant to make the school accessible for a student with a disability, for example, to put in a ramp or accessible toilet accommodation. Information about this provision can be obtained from the Building Unit of the Department of Education and Skills – see 'How to apply' below.
The following support services are available for students with disabilities and special educational needs attending post-primary schools:
Special needs assistants
Resource teachers are allocated by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). If a student had additional teaching support in primary school, a formal assessment or diagnosis will now be required by the post-primary school when it applies for additional resource teaching for the student.
Reasonable Accommodations at the Certificate Examinations (RACE)
The Race scheme aims to assist students who are at a disadvantage due to a disability, by facilitating access to the state certificate examinations. The scheme has been the subject of much discussion and controversy in recent months and is currently undergoing changes.
Cerebral Palsy is one of the Physical Disabilities covered under the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) system.
Details of the DARE screening criteria for applicants with CP are available here.
In the Workplace
Many organisations now make public claims to be an "equal opportunities employer". This suggests the existence of an equal opportunities policy (EOP), which is a policy statement adopted by the organisation declaring an intent not to discriminate and, further, to promote equality by taking steps to aid disadvantaged groups. Such employers are in effect promising to avoid discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status, and may also make such a commitment in relation to people with a disability and racial and ethnic minorities.
Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant (WEAG)
If you are a person with a disability who has been offered employment or are in employment, and require a more accessible workplace or adapted equipment to do your job, you or your employer may be able to get a grant towards the costs of adapting premises or equipment. Details of WEAG grants available and how to apply are available here.
Impact on Career Choice
Skills for workplace success fall into two main categories: hard skills and and soft skills. Hard skills are job-specific and they vary, depending upon the industry or field in which you want to work. For example, a graphic artist must have the computer skills that go with that job.
Soft skills are the personal characteristics that go with a variety of jobs - they include social skills, problem solving, communication, time management, and organisation. For example, a person who prefers to work alone might find a research job particularly appealing. Explore Career Skills in more detail here.
People with CP are found in many different careers and work roles, from occupational, speech and physio therapy, to the hospitality sector, and as carers, key workers or social workers, early childhood teachers, and psychologists - the opportunities are wide and varied.
Famous People with Cerebral Palsy
Irish writer and poet Christoper Nolan; Irish Author, painter, poet Christy Browne; US Artist, Dan Keplinger; Australian author and activist Anne McDonald.