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Intellectual Disability, Mental Health and Dementia

  • Education and Research Centre, Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's X
  • 9.30 - 4.00
  • 22 Sep 2017

Full day conference with the IASW and Social Care Ireland


€20 IASW members/ €40 non-members

Price includes lunch and refreshments


Book online on the Social Care Ireland website at




 9.30     Registration

10.00    Care and Capacity in the Domestic Space: Current and Future Challenge (Damien Brennan)

10.45    The Impact of Ageing and Dementia for People with Down Syndrome (Evelyn Reilly)

11.30    Comfort break

11.45    Social Work Perspective on Dementia and Intellectual Disability - Supporting service users and their families experiencing transition

  (Nasrin O'Kelly)

12.30    Q&A

12.45    Lunch

1.45      Mental Health and Intellectual Disability (Dr Evan Yacoub)

2.30 - 3.45    Workshops (choose one at registration)

Developing a Team Approach to Working with People with Down Syndrome/Intellectual Disability who experience Dementia and Mental Health Issues (Jacinta Flynn)

Thinking about Capacity in terms of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Josephine McLoughlin)

4.00      Close of conference


Speaker Biographies

Dr Damien Brennan is an Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, where his teaching and research are focused on the sociology of health and illness. His agenda of research examines ‘Contexts of Care Provision in Ireland’ which seeks to understanding Ireland’s problematic institutional past, while also examining the capacity for care provision within communities and families within contemporary ‘post-institutional’ Irish society, with particular reference to intellectual disability and mental illness. This research agenda has been supported with funding from bodies such as the Irish Research Council, the National Disability Authority, and the Irish Penal Reform Trust.  Dr Brennan acts as a public intellectual disseminating research through Books, Journal Articles, TV Documentaries, Radio, Print Media, Key Note Addresses and Public Lectures. Damien will speak about Care and Capacity in the Domestic Space: Current and Future Challenges

Nasrin O'Kelly is a social worker at St Micheal's House, Ballymun, Nasrin has worked as a medical social worker and with elderly patients who were diagnosed with dementia. Nasrin has worked in the area of Intellectual disability for the past 15 years. As part of her role she works in a special Alzheimer unit for services users with dementia/ Alzheimers. Nasrin will speak on Social Work Perspective on Dementia and Intellectual Disability - Supporting service users and their families experiencing transition.

Evelyn Reilly is a Registered Nurse in Intellectual Disability Nursing (RNID) and has a particular interest in ageing and care of the older person with intellectual disability (ID). As one of the first Clinical Nurse Specialists in ID and Dementia, she manages the day-to-day operations of a service wide Memory Clinic for the Daughters of Charity Disability Support Service.   She plays a lead role in assessing the symptoms of dementia, contributing to final diagnosis in consultation with other practitioners, and offers training in dementia care to all levels of staff, family, and peers.   She works closely with IDS-TILDA at Trinity College Dublin, and is activity involved in research for the study of the complex interrelationship between pre-existing impairment, physical, psychosocial and environmental factors that affect healthy ageing in persons with an Intellectual Disability. Evelyn will focus on The Impact of Ageing and Dementia for People with Down Syndrome

Dr Evan Yacoub is a Consultant Psychiatrist & Chair of the Faculty of Learning Disability at the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland. He previously worked in the UK in forensic learning disability and has a particular interest in service development. Evan will speak on  Mental Health and Intellectual Disability

Jacinta Flynn is a Senior Social Work Practitioner working in Cope Foundation, Cork. Her areas of interest/research include Sibshops, Autism, Mental Health, Dementia, Housing.  She works from a Human Rights perspective and has an interest in any legislation with regard to Disability.  Jacinta also supervises social work students in training. Jacinta's workshop will focus on Developing a Team Approach to Working with People with Down Syndrome/Intellectual Disability who experience Dementia and Mental Health Issues

Josephine McLoughlin is the director of Legal Capacity Training Ltd, a company which inspires health and social care practitioners to embrace the values and principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Before devoting her work to Legal Capacity Training, Josephine worked as a qualified Social Care Leader for 20 years. During this time she developed and ran an educational programme for people with intellectual disabilities. The aim of which was to build capacity to make decisions so people with disabilities can exercise their legal capacity. Inspired by this experience Josephine completed an LL.M in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy from the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUIG. Upon completion of her studies she was awarded the CDLP Gold Medal for Excellence. Throughout her learning she developed an expertise in the Convention and continues to do by attending the CDLP Summer School on an annual basis. This year Josephine also attended a two day seminar on supported decision making provided by international expert Cher Nicholson. Josephine is also a member of the Human Rights Committee at St John of God Services. Since 2014 Josephine has provided training to service providers and to people who use their services on the Convention and the Assisted Decision Making(Capacity) Act. 

Workshop: Thinking about Capacity in terms of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015. The Act is of particular relevance to health and social care professionals and legislates for supported decision making and maximising a person’s capacity to make decisions. Although most of the Act is not yet commenced, it is timely for HSCPs to inform themselves of how this legislation will shape their practice in the coming years. The workshop will provide the opportunity to focus on:

  • The Guiding principles of the Act
  • Statutory obligations
  • Who will assess capacity?
  • HSE guidance document (draft document)
  • Where to find further information and relevant resources


Background and Context

Intellectual disability (ID) involves a lifelong and greater than average difficulty in intellectual, social and vocational ability with significant deficits in adaptive skills and covers a range of conditions and syndromes including Down’s syndrome. Increasingly people with ID are living longer with implications for the provision of HSE services in particular, residential care and mental health services. Studies show that the prevalence of dementia appears about the same as in the general population. However, the prevalence of dementia among people with Down’s syndrome is higher and has increased from 15.8% to 29.9% between 2010 and 2014 (Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). The average age of the onset of dementia for people with Down’s syndrome is 55 years old, with some cases presenting in their 40s. People with ID who are diagnosed with dementia may require specific supports and services but most continue to live within the community.

The TILDA report shows that the vast majority of people with intellectual disability live at home with family or with carers.  The improved life expectancy among adults with severe intellectual disability has placed an increased demand on full-time residential services as fewer places are becoming free over time.


Conference Aims

As such, this conference aims to provide information and increase understanding among Health and Social Care Professions (HSCPs) about

  • the mental health needs of service users with intellectual disabilities, with a particular focus on dementia
  • how to recognise early signs of dementia and other mental health difficulties & illnesses and how to secure a timely diagnosis for service users
  • Conducting a needs assessment
  • Connecting service users with appropriate services and resources
  • Working with families and carers



  • Registration is not currently open