The Patricia Kearney Assistive Technology Centre (ATC):
The ATC offers students:
- Ground floor location.
- Thirteen workstations, including three specifically designed for powered wheelchairs.
- High-end PCs are all housed on adjustable electronic tables, capable of running every programme in the college.
- Book scanner and book edge scanners.
- Stereo headphones connected to all PCs and available on loan to students.
- Printer and photocopier.
- One touchscreen computer.
- 32” monitors for visually impaired students.
- Dedicated Dragon booth.
- Students supplied with laptops can connect to the Eduroam wireless connection.
Patricia Kearney, Disability Officer 1999-2013
In 2014 the ATC was renamed and dedicated to the memory of Patricia Kearney. Patricia was a pioneer in establishing and developing services for students with disabilities. When the Disability Support Service was established at AIT, there were only 20 students with disabilities registered with the college. Reflecting the tremendous range of supports devised and provided by the service, today that number stands at 312 students (Disability & Learning Support Service, 2017). Patricia championed the introduction of Assistive Technology (AT) at AIT and pioneered AT outreach activities for schools in the catchment area through the REACH project.
She progressed the standardisation of needs assessment through the Ascent project in collaboration with other third level institutions. As a member of the Disability Advisors Working Network (DAWN), she played a key role in the development of national policies on disability in third level education. Notably, AIT was the first institute of technology to implement the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) scheme, which offers college places at reduced points to students with disabilities.
Patricia’s ethos was to treat each student as an individual and focus on them developing their own strengths in pursuit of their studies. She encouraged students to draw on their own abilities and resources to carve out successful academic careers. Her incredible work ethic and commitment to her role inspired both the students who knew her and the staff who worked alongside her, both in AIT and nationally. She will be sadly missed, but her valuable legacy will never be forgotten.