Social Workers in Disability

Social Worker is Disability (SWID) is a special interest group of the IASW for social workers with an interest in the area of disability services. Traditionally there were separate SIG’s for social workers in intellectual disability and physical disability but these have merged in recent years. SWID is now a SIG for any social worker in the field of intellectual, physical and sensory and neurological disabilities as well as social workers employed in other areas that have an interest in or come into contact with disability services.

The national SWID committee consists of representatives from various disability agencies/services and representatives from regional SWID groups across the country. There are also reps for IASW and IMPACT. A list of the current committee and their contact details is attached.

The national committee meeting approximately every 6 weeks and holds an AGM in October/November of each year. The committee also organises two national educational seminars or conferences per year and responds to requests from Social Work training courses regarding practitioner talks on the area of disability services. We have an e-mail network where relevant information and courses are circulated. 


The topics of SWID seminars in recent years include: 

  • Suicide and Mental Health in the area of Disability
  • Recording practices in social work
  • Partnership with Parents in Disability services
  • Progressing the new model for Children’s Disability Services
  • Evidence based tools for Social Work Practice
  • Parental assessment of parents with an intellectual disability
  • Implications of FOI and Data Protection for Social Workers
  • The Care and Connect - Family meetings Research (Tallaght Hospital and TCD)
  • The Value for Money review of Disability Services 


The policy issues and committees SWID has participated in/currently involved with:

  • The National Rehabilitation Strategy Group (HSE and Dept of Health)
  • The Rehabilitation Medicine Programme (HSE)
  • Council on Stroke (IHF)
  • Committee reviewing Domiciliary Care Allowance (Dept of Social Protection)
  • National Survey of Public Attitudes to Disabilities (NDA)
  • National Guidelines on Building for Everyone (NDA)
  • National Standards for Better Healthcare (HIQA)
  • National Quality Standards for Registered and/ or Inspected Services for Children and Young People (HIQA)
  • National Draft Standards for Designated Centers for People with Disability
  • Integrated Discharge Planning Policy (HSE)
  • Progressing Children’s Disability Services Caseload Committee
  • Mental Capacity Bill
  • The Ryan Report
  • The Assessment of Need Consultation Process
  • Early Intervention Standards (HSE) 

If you would like further information please contact the SWID secretary, Anne O’Loughlin, Principal Social Worker, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Ave, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin (anne.o’loughlin@nrh.ie/ 01 2355372) or via the IASW office