DCU is the first university in Ireland to recognise the JAM Card, which helps people with a learning difficulty, autism or communication barrier who need ‘Just A Minute.’
Brian MacCraith, President of DCU said, ‘‘I am proud to say that DCU is the first university on the island of Ireland to introduce the JAM Card. It builds on our well-established track record as an inclusive university that is committed to values of equality and educational opportunity.
‘‘We live in an impatient world that seems to be moving faster every day. By allowing extra time, the JAM Card helps everyone feel welcome in our university community. It offers them the chance to flourish and benefit from the ‘transformative student experience’ that DCU offers,” said MacCraith.
The initiative is designed to make life easier for members of the community who may have hidden disabilities such as autism, acquired brain injury or a learning difficulty, who need ‘Just A Minute’ to allow them to complete their business.
JAM Card allows people with a learning difficulty, autism or communication barrier tells others they need ‘Just A Minute’ discreetly and easily. Some disabilities are hidden and therefore some interactions that are straight-forward for most of us, can be quite difficult for others.
Those with a communication barrier are sometimes reluctant or unable to tell others about their condition. JAM Card allows this to happen in a simple, effective non-verbal manner.
Dr Claire Bohan, Director of Student Support and Development, said ‘‘The JAM Card will help us all realise that taking a few moments for each other is always a good thing. DCU is known for its student-centred ethos, and this initiative further reinforces the importance we place on the individual. It’s a wonderfully simple but effective tool to remind you to slow down.’’
JAM Card was developed by participants of the NOW Group in Belfast. The NOW Group is a social enterprise based in Belfast who support people with learning difficulties and autism.
Their services focus on supporting people into employment, training, transition and volunteering. They also offer a family service to support new and expectant parents with a learning difficulty or autism.
‘‘For some people taking the step into higher education can be very daunting. We are so pleased that a major institution like DCU recognises that the JAM Card can help break down some of these barriers,’’ said Maeve Monaghan, Chief Executive of the NOW Group. “‘The JAM Card training that DCU staff have undertaken will help them recognise students with hidden disabilities and support them appropriately.”
Transport for Ireland along with Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland, Iarnród Éireann, Local Link and Luas are all JAM Card friendly.
JAM Cards will be available in the Disability and Learning Support Offices, through the Autism-Friendly Coordinator and at the Student Advice Centres on the Glasnevin and St Patrick’s campuses. The app can also be downloaded for free at http://jamcard.org/.