Empowering Parents

Empowering Parents

The Empowering Parents Programme is an advocacy and capacity building programme for the parents of disabled children and young people. It aims to support parents to acquire the knowledge and skills to effectively advocate on behalf of their children, in particular in relation to accessing education and health services supports. 

It won’t solve all problems, but it will offer parents information and advice which will help them to see things differently and to find ways of getting what they and their child need.  

Peer support is a key element of the programme, parents will be with other parents who are in a similar situation, so there will lots of opportunity for getting and giving real support.

What does the Programme entail?

Empowering Parents will:

  • Show parents new ways of thinking about their child’s disability, which will help them to see new possibilities and ways of doing things
  • Tell parents about their child’s rights, and how to achieve them
  • Explain who can help parents to get what you need from public services and the local community
  • Help parents to build confidence and keep their spirits up!

The training consists of six 2.5 hour sessions and can be delivered at a time suitable to parents. A maximum of 18 parents can participate in the programme. 

Accessibility Seminar: Creating accessible community facilities 

This workshop addresses how equality and building legislation applies to community organisations and people with disabilities with regard to accessibility and supporting participants in identifying practical actions for the inclusion of people with disabilities within their organisations.

At the end of the seminar participants will:

  • have understanding of access issues including universal design; 
  • be aware of legislation as it relates to access issues and people with disabilities;
  • feel confident to explore and identify ways in which community-based organisations can be more inclusive of people with disabilities.

Duration: One day 10.30am to 4.30pm

All participants will receive a copy of the DESSA publication Access for All, a guide to making community facilities accessible. 

Childcare Inclusive Policy and Practice: An Introduction 

The aim of this one day workshop is to begin to develop the knowledge, confidence capacity of childcare and play workers, to develop inclusive policies and practice. 

It introduces childcare practitioners to key concepts in relation to disability and social inclusion and explores the issues in making settings inclusive. It also supports participants to reflect on the attitudes and values that acknowledge all children’s rights, irrespective of ability, to actively participate in settings. 

The training consists of a full day workshop starting at 9.30am to 4.30pm or, alternatively, two half day workshops starting at 9.30am to 12.30pm. A maximum of 20 people can participate in the workshop. 


‘I felt the main benefit has been giving us the courage, as parents, to speak up for our children and not be apologetic for doing so. This course has opened our eyes to the rights of our children and taught us invaluable information’   --  Dublin Parent 2018

‘It clears the fog around all the different service providers, HSE services and legislation etc. No other course I’ve done has taken the time to explain things and I feel empowered with much more understanding now’   --    Donegal Parent 2016

‘I needed help in the areas of talking to teachers and fighting for rights’   -- Dublin Parent 2017

‘It was wonderful to come together with other parents with kids with extra needs as we were all like-minded’   -- Kerry Parent 2018

‘... you let us know that it was ok to expect things, that we could challenge the system… and exactly how to go about. [This course] …has changed our experience and has meant the world’  -- Kerry Parent 2018

‘Got to learn differently about disability and [was able] to meet other parents and share information‘  -- Kerry Parent 2018

‘This course exceeded our expectations. We were educated on so many things that will help us to avail of supports for our child, particularly in education, although we learned much about other aspects of specific needs’  -- Donegal Parent 2016

‘I am only disappointed that I didn’t do this course 10 years ago as my son is 16 years old now’   -- Donegal Parent 2016

'It gave us the courage as parents to speak up for our children and not be apologetic in doing so. This course has opened our eyes to the rights of our children and provided invaluable information’  -- Donegal Parent 2016