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Training for Success, the story of an award-winning course for people with epilepsy

Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder effecting over 37,000 Irish people and fifty million worldwide. It is a complex disorder which is accompanied by considerable medical, psychological and psychosocial consequences and has historically been misunderstood and stigmatised.

People with epilepsy have a higher rate of educational difficulties and academic underachievement than average, have higher unemployment rates and can be socially isolated. In recognition of these issues Epilepsy Ireland took a proactive approach and Training for Success came into existence in 1998.

The course provides the experience of life in a third level college for many who would not normally have that opportunity. It is not a third level course, however students are registered as Institute of Technology Sligo students and have access to all of the facilities and services available on campus. Most importantly, students feel they are part of a modern vibrant third level institution. They bond with students from other courses and this is enormously beneficial to them.

Students participate in lectures, presentations, field trips and have individual education and progression plans conducted on a regular basis. In addition to their accredited modules areas such as self-confidence and self-esteem are addressed. Students are encouraged to engage in their communities and become active citizens. They are supported to gain access to education, vocational training and employment. They have the opportunity to sample the world of work through their work placements.

The positive contribution of TFS is best summed up by past students.

“This course was brilliant for me; before I started it I had no direction or goals. Now I am doing a degree course which I thought I could never do”

“As a result of my participation on Training for Success I managed to get a full time job. I recently passed my driving test. I believe that Training for Success gave me the belief to go out and do it.”

“When I was in school all people saw was the epilepsy. When I came to Training for Success it was the first time I was seen as D…., an individual with individual needs. I now intend to do a degree in Event Management and set up my own business”

“I owe my success to TFS”

 

Honor Broderick is Programme Manager of Training for Success, Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland. Further details about the course are available here.

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