NUI Galway research seeks to record decision-making experiences of young people with disabilities

Sep 25 2020 Posted: 09:32 IST

A researcher at NUI Galway is seeking to record the experiences of a group of young people of disabilities who made decisions that affected their lives.PhD candidate Clíona de Bhailís has launched the project in the University’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy and is recruiting young disabled people from Ireland aged 15 to 20.The research project, It’s My Life!, is exploring how young people with a disability can exercise their right to make decisions and use support when making decisions in line with Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The project will recruit people with experience of a broad range of disabilities including physical, sensory, intellectual or learning disability, neurodiversity or those with experience of the mental health system.Ireland ratified the UNCRPD in 2018 and will submit a report to the UN Committee which monitors countries compliance with the Convention in the coming year. The researcher would like young people with disabilities to answer questions about a good experience of decision making as well as a bad experience of decision making, or a time they didn’t feel listened to and what helps them to make decisions.

Researcher Clíona de Bhailís said: “Decision making for adults with disabilities has come under increased focus in recent years with a number of very important research projects and law reform initiatives taking place. But decision making skills don’t magically appear when you become an adult at the age of 18.

“It is only by being given the opportunity to make decisions that these skills are developed over time

“Young people should have a say on issues that affect them and this project is designed to hear directly from young people with disabilities about their experiences.”

Ms de Bhailís added: “We want to build a better understanding of how young people with disabilities are using support and use research as a means of influencing policy and law. It should also help to look at how we might apply the Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act to people at a younger age in the future.”

The research was changed in light of the Covid-19 restrictions and the reduced supports available to many young people and it can be done remotely or digitally. The questions are available in a variety of formats including a link to an online survey and an Easy Read form.

The It’s My Life research project is funded by the Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme and supervised by Professor Eilionóir Flynn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway.


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