Nothing About Us Without Us: A call to action for embedding transformational change and widening social experiences and participation for disabled students in higher education.

image credit: Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

In this podcast episode (link above), I talk with Dr Vivian Rath.  Vivian is a teaching fellow in Trinity College Dublin and recently completed his PhD on the “social engagement experiences of disabled students in higher education in Ireland”.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

We talk about his personal journey accessing higher education as a disabled person himself.  The barriers that he faced, and how his own social experiences in higher education influenced his desire to research this important issue for disabled students.  He explains how the use of the Transformative Paradigm and the Bioecological Model put his participants at the centre of his research and at the same time working alongside them for transformational change by using a social justice approach and human rights.

Vivian explains how the presence of disabled students in higher education is a relatively new phenomenon and their presence is surprisingly low… but dramatically increasing.  We discuss the lack of agency and a sense of disempowerment when disabled students feel unseen and unheard.  It is critical to listen to the voices of ALL students and to be aware of the barriers that many different students face. He shares the endearing voices of his participants, their sense of belonging, their desire to be seen and heard, and the impact a lack of awareness by higher education institutions has on them. While he does see changes being made, it is largely sporadic across university settings and much more needs to be done.

University leaders and stakeholders need to realize that social engagement is important for ALL students.  If disabled students can’t access a coffee with a fellow student because the campus canteen’s lift isn’t working, and their request to have it repaired goes unheard, they are left feeling like their needs don’t matter. Disabled students just want to be able to access facilities, events, or opportunities to volunteer and engage.  They want to have meaningful connections and relationships with others as part of their social engagement experience, and to be heard and valued, just like every other student on campus.  

Come, listen and learn!







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Garth von Buchholz 📲

Author of the Digital MANiFESTO, educator, blogger, speaker & digital literacy activist

Tesoro Irlandese: The Adventures of an 'Undercover' Irish Writer in Rome.

Tesoro Irlandese or Irish Darling, is the adventure and travel blog of Ciara Aoife O'Síoráin. Follow for posts on Ancient Rome, Roman Art and Architecture, Italian food and culture, learning Italian as a beginner, how to move to Rome, and tips and tricks about living in Rome as a straniera.

Michaela Movement

Views expressed within blog content belong to me.


rewind & remind

32 Summits with 32 Friends

Climbing the highest points in the 32 counties of Ireland, each with a different friend, to explore the idea of friendship in a digital age. This blog is a tease. For the full reveal, you'll have to read the book, when it comes out.

Ms Carberry - Hibernia College PMEPP

They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel

Cian Commins - Student Teacher

Hibernia Autumn Cohort 2020

Craig Butler

Student Teacher

The Teacher Student

sharing my student teacher experience

Amy's Journey to Teaching

Trials and Tribulations of an Aspiring Teacher

Múinteoir Sandra

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. W.B. Yeats

PMEP Digital Portfolio

Teaching, creativity, learning


My reflections as a mother and student teacher

Ms Gallery's Teaching Journey

The long road to teaching.....

Orla Dennison's Digital Portfolio

My personal journey to becoming an inspiring teacher

Jasmine's PMEP E-Portfolio

My journey in becoming a primary school teacher

Educate to Inspire

PME learning journey and resources

%d bloggers like this: