Course Description

Certificate in Intellectual Disability Practice – Spring 2020

Open Training College

This one year programme will ensure you have the needed qualification to be employed as a Care Assistant or SNA.  The course provides participants with the tools to take a person-centred approach to supporting individuals with an intellectual disability to have a good life of their choosing. This will enhance their quality of life and allow them to achieve their full potential. Earning the Certificate in Intellectual Disability Practice will ensure you satisfy the requirement for a Level 5 qualification which organisations are increasingly demanding from people who want to work as care assistants. It also provides the perfect educational foundation for people who want to progress their career in social care.

The certificate will provide you with the knowledge and practical skills required to deliver person centred services to people with intellectual disability. During it you will study:

  • What a person centred approach is
  • Where it comes from
  • How to use it
  • Its impact on practitioners and service provision
  • The opportunities and benefits it offers services users

Course Content: The course is made up of ‘core’ and ‘elective’ modules. The four core modules are mandatory and have to be completed by everyone.

The electives are designed to allow you ‘customise’ the course to meet your specific personal, professional or career needs.  This involves choosing four of the elective modules that most closely match your precise needs. It’s important to note that once you have been accepted for the course College staff will be available to help you make your choices.
Core Modules – Required

  1. Intellectual Disability Studies

This module serves as an introduction to the course. It explores:

  • How intellectual disability has traditionally been defined and understood
  • How societies have responded to people with intellectual disability
  • The history and evolution of support services

Contemporary thinking and policy in relation to intellectual disability and its impact on frontline workers

2. Empowering the Individual

This Empowering the Individual module will provide you with the tools to implement a person centred approach. It will demonstrate how it can be used to enable a person with an intellectual disability to make life decisions. In addition to exploring how the person centred approach positively effects people with disabilities, their families and your role as a frontline worker, the module will also show you how to practically promote empowerment in service delivery.

3. Community Inclusion

This module will provide you with the skills to:

  • Support a service user achieve active involvement in their community; and,
  • Support a person to develop roles and relationships that are based on their interests, skills and capacities.

4. Facilitating Learning

This is a practical modules that provides you with the tools to teach in a way that supports a person learn what matters to them so they can achieve their life goals.

5. Personal Effectiveness

  • Assess and reflect on your current capacities and capabilities
  • Develop the key skills required of a frontline worker, including Problem solving techniques


6. Work Practice

This module focuses on your role as a member of a team and how the organisational, regulatory, legal and economic environment you work in impacts on your ability to support service users. It explores how increased professionalism and working within defined policies and procedures make for a more effective workplace.

Elective Modules – Choose Any Two of the Following Modules

1. Person Centred Focus to Disability

This module explores in detail the philosophy behind the person centred approach to disability and examines how to apply it in your day-to-day practice.

2. Challenging Behaviour

This modules provides you with the tools required to support a person exhibiting challenging behaviour in a very person centred and effective way.

3. Sexuality and Intellectual Disability

The module explores sexuality and sexual relationships in the context of intellectual disability. It examines:

  • How sexuality and development are defined
  • the legislative environment governing how sexuality is understood in the context of  Intellectual Disability
  • How personal attitudes towards sexuality and sexual identity may impact on the supports a person receives
  • Your role and responsibilities

4. Supported Employment

This module provides an overview of:

  • What Supported Employment is
  • How it has evolved
  • The factors and principles that determine its success
  • It will provide you with the tools required to:
  • Effectively support a job seeker starting their career
  • Work with and gain buy in from employers

5. Working Together with Families

Providing maximum support to a person with disability is dependent on the active involvement of their family. This module with provide you with the skills to:

  •  Identify opportunities for family involvement
  • Work collaboratively with them to support a family member
  • Effectively address challenges and issues that can arise

6. Individualised Supports 

This module provides you with the tools needed to work closely with people with intellectual disability and their families in individualised service settings.

7. Facilitating Communication through Lámh and Total Communication (counts as 2 electives)

This bespoke training is for those who use Lámh extensively in their work and are involved in supporting Lámh users and their families. It provides comprehensive guidance in facilitating Lámh using a total communication approach.

Entry Requirements

Be working at least part-time in a disability service or as an SNA in a school, OR volunteering for at least 2-4 hours per week in a similar service.


To successfully complete the course, you will need to:

  • Write a series of short assignments
  • Demonstrate you have acquired key skills you will use in your role such as the ability to teach a task or hold a meeting, for example
  • Write accounts of what you have learnt in a module
  • Sit an exam

This may sound quite daunting and so it’s important to understand the kind of supports we offer our students.

 What Supports Do We Offer?

Every step of the way you will have the active support of the College. We understand exactly the challenges faced by people working in our sector because we come from it. We’ve built that understanding into the way we deliver this certificate course.

The course is organised around a series of workshops. Each of these is facilitated by topic experts and members of the College team who all have direct frontline experience. Workshops give students a chance to meet people who do similar jobs; and work together on small group activities and real world case studies. During each workshop you will work through your assignment with your tutor and fellow students so at the end of it you should be clear about exactly what is required and what you need to do to successfully complete it.

Key to everything we do in the College is our learning community. This is made up of tutors who have extensive firstline experience, learning support staff who understand the human challenges people can face when attending college and our students who are defined by their commitment to supporting each other. We believe this creates a learning experience that is unique to the Open Training College, one that meets the specific requirements of people working in our sector and improves the quality of service our users receive

There are four city locations being considered for delivery of this course to individuals:

  • Galway
  • Cork
  • Athlone
  • Dublin


The next courses are scheduled to commence late February 2018. Students will study 8 modules and attend a two-day workshop per module every 6-8 weeks.

Students will expect to complete the course within 12-14 months and earn a level 5, QQI validated Major Award – Certificate in Intellectual Disability Practice. More information about the course can be found HERE or on the attached brochure. Course delivery is always numbers dependent so we encourage you now to contact the OTC if you or your team are interested in participating on this very practical course.

Career Path

­After successfully completing the certificate you will be eligible to apply for our QQI Level 7 B.A in Professional Social Care (Disability) which may allow you apply to register as a Social Care Worker.

How to Apply

Applications for this course are accepted through our online application centre. To apply for the course, you will need to:

  • Satisfy the entry requirements for the programme
  • Provide a range of documents to support your application
  • Submit a personal statement explaining why you want to apply

Fees The course fee is €1,495. Fees instalment plans are available. Inclusive of Protection of Enrolled Learner (PEL) insurance costs.

For more information contact Conor on 01-2990580 or email, or visit our website:


Course Code 5M1761
College Name Open Training College
Course Category Health Care, Healthcare
Course Type Blended Learning - Mix of Classroom & Online
Course Qualification Level 5 Certificate
Course Location Dublin, Ireland
Location Postcode Dublin 9
Course Start Date 1st April 2020
Course End Date 31st May 2021
Course Fee 1495
Course Duration Students may expect to complete the course within 12-14 months
Course Times Students will study 8 modules and attend a two-day workshop per module every 6-8 weeks. The next course commences in Spring 2020
Awarding Body QQI
Title of Awarding Certificate in Intellectual Disability Practice
Entry Requirements Be working in services for people with intellectual disability.
Career Path Successful completion of this course will lead to a QQI approved Level 5 Certificate in Intellectual Disability Practice. It is an ideal first step for people who want to progress to the Level 7 BA in Social Care, which will allow you to apply to register with CORU as a Social Care Worker.
For information about Open Training College, please visit our college page on by clicking here.

Course Provider

Open Training College

Prospect Hall, Willowfield Park, Goatstown, Dublin , D14 P9E4, Goatstown, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Make Enquiry

Please insert your contact details and any additional information you require and we will forward your request to Open Training College.

Captcha code        I confirm I have read the Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions & Cookie Information and agree to join the community.