What is the Disability Access Route to Education?


The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE)

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The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a college and university admissions scheme which offers places on a reduced points basis to school leavers under 23 years old with disabilities who have completed an Irish Leaving Certificate. DARE has been set up by a number of colleges and universities as evidence shows that disability can have a negative effect on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college.

Who is it for?

DARE is for school leavers who have the ability to benefit from and succeed in higher education but who may not be able to meet the points for their preferred course due to the impact of their disability.

Click here for information on language exemptions »


Application Advice Videos for entry 2014 available now inDownloads Section

Application Advice Clinics are coming to a venue near you on 11th January – click here for details


Dyslexia and Stress


Dyslexia and Stress

All dyslexic children experience varying degrees of stress at school, doing their homework,
and even at out­of­school activities they attend. School presents a special challenge, when so
much of their day is focused on dealing with text. For children whose dyslexia is severe it can
be as stressful as a one­legged child going to a skiing or dance school.
The dyslexic child knows that something is wrong, but cannot understand why they find it so
hard to do the work that other children can cope with easily. They often can become very
Signs of stress
The signs of stress in children are well known nowadays: embarrassment, anxiety,
withdrawal, not wanting to go to school, tiredness, irritability, headaches or stomach aches,
difficulty sleeping, lying, thumb sucking, fingernail biting, loss of appetite, bed wetting, or need
to urinate frequently.
They may feel a sinking feeling on Sunday evenings because of school next day.
Teenagers may have sleep disturbances, may go off by themselves, may feel angry longer,
feel disillusioned, lack self­esteem, and have a general distrust of the world. Extreme
behaviours may result, ranging from breaking all of the rules and taking part in high­risk
behaviours (drugs, shoplifting, and skipping school) to depression and suicidal tendencies in
extreme cases.

Coping Strategies:

Help children through made­up stories
Sometimes children cannot talk to us about the anxiety they feel. They may not have the
words to express themselves. Homespun, made­up stories are a great answer. The
character in the story can be a boy or girl just like them. They are worried about the same
things and have the same problems to deal with. In the story, the boy or girl finds ways of
coping with problems which worry the child: reading, writing and spelling. As the child listens
to the story, s/he is able to identify with the hero or heroine.
You can ask them, “What do you think David (the boy in the story) was most worried about?”
The answer that the child gives will be a direct reflection of the child’s own fears, or anger.
Children can be very honest about the feelings and fears of story characters even though they
may be reluctant when asked about their own feelings.

Teaching slow breathing

In school, children can start to breathe too fast as a spelling test approaches. This can be like
a panic attack coming on. You can teach your child to sense when this reaction is starting and
learn to control their breathing. If they start taking deep breaths, then count to four before each new intake of breath, they will find that their body begins to relax and they are able to
fend off the feelings of panic.

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy helps us to stop fearing the worst. Ask your child what would happen if
they did fail the spelling test. Would they be expelled? Would they die? Of course not, the
worst that might happen would be if they were made to stay in at break time, but they would
probably get away with being told to work harder by the teacher. This realisation can take the
panic out of the situation.

Private tuition

The most significant help that can be given to any dyslexic child or teenager is to let them see
that they can progress in reading and writing. This usually means hiring a private tutor for
one­on­one help for a lesson each week. The tutor will take them back to the level at which
they are actually able to cope, and then lead them on very gradually from there.
Individual tuition always brings about a remarkable change in a dyslexic child’s self­
confidence and in their progress. They will often say: ‘Oh, I see now!’ after years of not
understanding in class. Small group support in school is also very helpful, but not as much as
one­on­one help if it can be afforded.
It’s a bit like learning to use the computer keyboard, but having missed out on how to use
the DELETE key. Everyone else seems to be getting on so much faster than you are!
Individual tuition fills in those missing steps in learning which make such a crucial difference.

Self ­confidence exercise

The child is asked to make two lists, one of things s/he is good at, and the other of things
that s/he is weak at. The ‘good at’ list is added to so that the child’s non­academic skills are
included: swimming, horse rising, cycling, modelling, collecting stamps, relating to other
children, being helpful at home, etc. The ‘weak at’ list has reading, spelling, writing, and
perhaps math, but always ends up shorter than the ‘good at’ list.
Read with your child at home
Whilst reading at school can be demanding for a child, reading at home can be an altogether
different experience provided that the parents use the right techniques. Methods for hearing
your child read are described in an article HEARING YOUR CHILD READ  The parent tells
the child any hard words straight away so that the child can get on with the story and start
to enjoy reading. As soon as the child shows any signs of frustration, the parent take over and
reads the whole of the next page or two.

Praise children

Every child is good at something, so make a lot of this. Put their certificates, badges, models,
etc. in a prominent place in the house for visitors to see. Don’t be afraid to do this ­ every
parent is proud of their children!
Using a number of techniques like these can really help your child to learn to cope with the
stress in their daily lives at school.

Tips on how to teach your dyslexic child to read.


Dyslexics have difficulty recalling words.

As soon as your child has learned enough common sight words if they continue reading very easy books every day they will usually be able to recall the words they have learned and gradually build up a reading vocabulary.

If your child reads only now and then, they will forget the words, begin substituting others, become discouraged and make little progress.
Easy going love may lead a parent to neglect daily reading.

There are so many things that make it difficult to read daily your child wants to play, they have homework, birthday parties, play dates, the list goes on and on. If your dyslexic child’s reading is often neglected, they assume it is unimportant and cease to cooperate.
To teach your dyslexic child to read, you must have proper materials and know-how, but most of all you must have tough love. Love strong enough to enable you to find the time every single day to help your child to read.

Reading must be part of your child’s daily routine the same as brushing teeth, having breakfast or getting up in the morning.


Choosing a book.

Use the 5 finger rule to determine if the book is “just right”

1. Open a book to any page.

2. Start reading the page.
3. Hold up one finger for EVERY word that you don’t know or have 
trouble pronouncing.

0-1 Fingers 
The book is too EASY.
2-3 Fingers 
The book is at the Interest level.
4 Fingers 
The book is at the Challenge level. You can try it ~ be sure it makes sense.

5 Fingers 
The book is at the Frustration level and is not a good choice for now.


How to do paired Reading.

  • Read aloud from the book with your child.
  • When your child taps your hand, let them read alone as you follow along silently.
  • If your child reads a word wrong, skips a word, or doesn’t know a word the use the 5 second rule, count five then.
  1. Point to the word.
  2. Tell them the word
  3. Have them repeat the word
  4. Join them in reading aloud again


Talk about the story.


  • What do you think it’s about?
  • What happened?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • If the book is too hard (5 words wrong in 100) change the book.

You must be enthusiastic and supportive. Daily practice brings success!

Exercises to help with learning difficulties and concentration. Eye Tracking


Exercises to help with learning difficulties and concentration.
Eye Tracking

Materials: Hidden picture magazines and games like where’s Waldo? also, Highlights, magazine offers a lot of hidden picture activities.

Method: Have the child do the activities below.

Levels 1 to 2: Use the Highlight, magazines or where’s Waldo? Books.

Levels 3 to 5: Use normal reading material. Designate a letter (for example, R) and ask the child to look at the page of print and circle as many R’s as he can. Vary the letters he is to find. Time him and see how fast he can find the designated letter. You can vary this and ask him to find blends or circle all the words with “tion” in them or that end with “ing).

Letter Search

Materials: Normal reading material.

Method: Have the child do the following activity.

Levels 2 to 5: The child is to circle all words where a letter appears twice. This can be varied by finding words with three letters or words where there are no letters that appear more than once. For younger children, use large print books. The child is to scan to a left to right direction on each line of print. He is not to randomly search or use his finger as a marker to keep his place.

Words in Words

Materials: Reading material.

Method: Have the child do the following activity.

Levels 3 to 5: Have the child find as many words as he can that are hidden in other words. For example many = man; other = the.

One Foot Hop

Materials: None.

Method: Have the child do the following activities.

Level 1:

Have the child hop in place on one leg, hop four steps forward, four steps backward, hop to the left, hop to the right, hop in place and turn around.
Repeat with opposite foot.

Level 2:

Hop while grasping the ankle with the opposite hand behind the back.
Hop while grasping the leg in front of the body with both hands.
The child should try to do at least 10 hops across the room on each foot.

Coordination between left and right.
Stepping Stones:

Materials: Different coloured tile or carpet cut into 4 inch squares (have 20 squares – 10 of one colour and 10 of another colour).

Method: The child is to walk on the squares. He is to keep his body straight and have good posture.

Level 1: Put the squares in a straight line. The child is to walk on them and keep his balance.

Level 2:

Arrange the squares slightly off centre with one colour on the right of centre and the other on the left of centre. For example:


Have the child walk on the squares and call out the side that is stepping on the square. For example, each time he steps on the blue square, he calls out “right” and each time he steps on the red square, he calls out “left”.

Put the squares in various patterns that make up letters or numbers. Have the child walk on the patterns and tell you which letter or number it is.

Pattern Hopping

Materials: None.

Method: The child will do the following activities.

Level 1:

The child stands in front of you, arms at his side. Have him hop up and down. Make sure both is feet leave and touch the floor at the same time.
Have him hop across the room on one foot. Have him do it first with his right foot and then hop back on his left foot.

Level 2:

Clap a pattern and have him hop to the pattern. For example, one clap, pause and two quick claps would be one hop, pause and two quick hops. Have him do this first on both feet, then on one foot.
Do #1, but have the child facing away from you as so he cannot see you clapping.

Level 3: Have the child facing you. Clap a pattern. He is to alternate feet as he hops to the pattern. For example, clap, clap, pause, clap, and clap, clap would be right, left, pause, and right, left, right.

Level 4: Have the child facing away from you. Clap a pattern. He is to alternate feet and call out which foot he is hopping on as he hops to the pattern. For example, clap, pause, clap, clap, he would hop and call out “right”, pause, “left”, “right”.