Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Brian Cadigan from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Brian Cadigan

Primary School Teacher

Department of Education and Skills

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  Brian Cadigan
Don't just go into teaching because you are looking for long holidays. To teach everyday you need to like children, be very patient and understanding. However I feel it is one of the most rewarding jobs out there.
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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Tourette Syndrome
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Tourette Syndrome

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a hereditary neurological disorder characterised by repeated involuntary movements or sounds called 'tics'. It tends to first appear between the ages of seven and 10 and boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

Young people with TS may have:

  • Motor control difficulties
  • Sometimes suffer from depression and moodiness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Compulsions or obsessions
  • Be unable to carry out an action (apraxia)
  • Repeat what others say (echolalia)
  • Imitate the actions of others (echopraxia)
  • Shout obscenities (coprolalia)
  • Repeat obscene gestures (copropraxia)

Children with TS suffer a mild form of condition, often with just transient tics. Some young people have a more chronic tics that can last for years. The condition can improve in adolescence, and does so in may sufferers.

IMPACT ON LEARNING SKILLS & DEVELOPMENT

Tourette Syndrome does not affect intelligence or learning ability in any way. Most students with Tourette syndrome test within average limits on standardised IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests.

The difficulties experienced by students with Tourette syndrome in the classroom are often related to the symptoms of the disorder themselves (such as when tics disrupt other classmates or interfere with handwriting or participation in class discussions).

Some difficulties are caused by co-existing symptoms (such as OCD and ADHD). Other difficulties are associated with learning and academic learning difficulties, for example, tics such as severe head shaking, neck stretching or eye rolling may cause the student to be unable to look directly at the teacher or read easily; hand tics often interfere with legibility of handwriting and visual spatial deficits may result in the student having difficulty with copying from the board or elsewhere. Tics may also impede activities that have strict timing criteria, which may result in lowered test scores and associated inaccurate estimates of ability.

Learning Strategies

It is useful to:

  • Provide oportunities for short breaks from the classroom/study session
  • Encourage the student to recognise when they need a break
  • Allow extra time to do taks to minimise stress
  • Provide a quiet place for the completion of tasks and activities
  • Allow extra time for taking tests
  • Give short, clearly defined tasks and instructions
  • Teach keyboard skills so written work can be typed and encourage the use of ICT
  • Break instructions into bite-sized pieces and check for understanding by asking the learner to repeat each part
  • Use visual and concrete materials to focus attention and aid understanding
  • Position the student away from windows and other distractions to aid focus
  • Teach organisational skills and maintain routine

Supports available

 

At Primary Level Education:

 

At Secondary Level Education:

A student who has been receiving special education support or resources while in Primary School is eligible for continuation of support at secondary level, once they continue to have a special educational need.

The same general provisions he/she received in primary school apply at Secondary Level. This typically includes specialist teaching from a Learning Support or Special Education Resource teacher (both now referred to as Special Education teachers).

This support is provided based on need, with the number of hours of support determined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) drawn up in the last year of primary school.

At Third Level Education:

Going to college is the gateway to many rewarding careers for all young people, including those with Tourette Syndrome. It also provides life-changing opportunities for more mature people with TS.

You don’t have to be eligible for DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) to get support in college. All students with a verified disability, regardless of whether they come through DARE or not, can avail of a variety of academic, personal and social supports while studying at third level. Further information on the support available in college can be found at accesscollege.ie

Full details of the DARE screening criteria are available here.

In the Workplace

Many organisations now make public claims to be an "equal opportunities employer". This suggests the existence of an equal opportunities policy (EOP), which is a policy statement adopted by the organisation declaring an intent not to discriminate and, further, to promote equality by taking steps to aid disadvantaged groups.  Such employers are in effect promising to avoid discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status, and may also make such a commitment in relation to people with a disability and racial and ethnic minorities.

Having Tourette Syndrome (TS) does not prevent a person from fulfilling their career aspirations. Many people with TS have successful careers, and are able to sustain employment.

However, for some people with TS, their symptoms can make it difficult to work regular hours or in their preferred field. Sometimes it is necessary for an employer to know if their employee has TS, so that practical solutions can be created in the workplace to support the employee.

Impact on Career Choice

Skills for workplace success fall into two main categories: hard skills and and soft skills. Hard skills are job-specific and they vary, depending upon the industry or field in which you want to work. For example, a graphic artist must have the computer skills that go with that job.

Soft skills are the personal characteristics that go with a variety of jobs - they include social skills, problem solving, communication, time management, and organisation. For example, a person who prefers to work alone might find a research job particularly appealing. Explore Career Skills in more detail here.

People with TS have been highly successful in many lines of work, from driving a bus to making feature films. Numerous career stories are documented online for people with tourette's who successfully pursued careers as  Pilots, Surgeons, Tree surgeons Those with the best career stories are not always those with “minor” tics—they are those with desirable job skills, and a strong sense of self, and a positive attitude.

Whilst self-employment may not be for everyone, there are some benefits that could help people with TS. For example, people can work at their own pace (and work the hours that best suit them), can release tics when they need to. You might also be able to delegate tasks that are difficult because of TS.



Useful Links
Tourette Support Ireland 
Support website for people with Tourette Syndrome and their families.
Tourettes Action (UK) 
Comprehensive information website for people with TS and their families.
The National Tourette Syndrome Association (USA) 
Resource website for people and their families coping with the problems that occur with TS
Special Education Support Service - Tourette Syndrome 
Brief description of Tourette Syndrome from the Department of Education's Special Education Support Service.
HSE Ireland - Tourette's Syndrome 
HSE Ireland health information portal - detailed information on tourette's syndrome.
Tourettes Action [UK] 
Guidance on employment for people with Tourette Syndrome.
Disability Access Route to Education
Higher Education Access Route
Student Finance