Relationships, Friendships & Supports


The National Federation dedicated 2010 to the Research topic 'Relationships, Friendships & Supports' for People with Intellectual Disability. An Action Plan has been developed to pursue this goal.

The Inclusive Research Network contributed to this topic by carrying out research which culminated in the launching of their Report Relationships & Supports Study: People with Intellectual Disability in Ireland on 1st March 2011. 

The Action Agenda for 2010 describes the actions and plans for this year's research topic.
A comprehensive reading list is available on this topic from the National Federation.

A review of the literature & presentations on the topic was held during a Residential Weekend on October 15th & 16th 2010.

Residential Weekend 15th & 16th October 2010Logo Residential Weekend.JPG

A Residential Weekend took place on 15th & 16th October 2010 which debated the topic of Relationships, Friendships & Supports for People with Intellectual Disabilities. People came together to review the literature on this topic, clarify what the research is telling us and discussed the challenges and dilemmas faced in supporting people with intellectual disabilites to have relationships & friendships.  

Presentations on the literature were as follows:

Orla Kelly, a Research Interin with the National Fedaration of Voluntary Bodies, gave a presentation on "Sexuality and People with Intellectual Disabilites".  This was followed by another presentation from Orla entitled "Friendships, Relationships and Supports for People with Intellectual Disability".

Edel Tierney, Director of Research & Policy Development, National Federation of Voluntary Bodies gave a presentation on a review of the book "Shared Lives" about building relationships within the community with people who have disabilities.

Christine Linehan, Senior Research Officer, NDA "Breaking out of a distinct social space: reflections on supporting community participation for people with severe and profound intellectual disability

Sarah Kelly, Quality Manager, KARE gave two presentations entitled "I get a little help from my friends" and "May we have sex tonight please?"

Bob McCormack, Chief Executive Officer, Dara Services gave presentations entitled "Rights, Sexuality and Relationships in Ireland - It'd be nice to be kind of trusted" and "Community Participation of People with an Intellectual Disability: A review of Emperical Findings".

Aine Taylor, Client Advocate, Camphill, gave a presentation "Reading of People with ID living in an intentional community"

Francis Coughlan, SOS Kilkenny, presentation entitled "A Question of Friendship"

Paul Henry, Client Advocate, Brothers of Charity Roscommon reviewed the paper entitled "Increasing Community Integration and Inclusion for People with lntellectual Disability"

The culmination of these discussions, presentations and critical analysis of the literature as well as the various consultations made with all stakeholders during the year will be compiled in a report which will be available on this topic at end of the year.


Update on Relationships Action Agenda

March 2009

On March 29, 2010 there were three presentations to the Research Sub Committee:

  • The Brothers of Charity Research into Action Group presented on choosing supports- 'is this a reality for people?'
  • 'Playing the Game' from Cathal Leonard, a Parent of Sam who gets services from a service provider in Dublin.
  • 'Relationships, Vulnerability and Empowerment' from Martin O’Connor Senior Clinical Psychologist with the Brothers of Charity Services in Clare

                Research sub committee seminar March 2010       Cahill presented Me-opoly

June 2010

The Inclusive Research Network is undertaking a National Study through peer-to-peer focus groups on "Relationships, Friendships & Supports" is available under the Inclusive Research Network section of this website.

On the 21st June, 2010 Orla Kelly Research Intern with the National federation of Voluntary Bodies presented to the research sub committee on the key findings of the literature pertaining to this years' topic.

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