Disability/Specific Learning Difficulty

Disclosing a Disability/Specific Learning Difficulty

Although you are not obliged to do so, if you have a disability or specific learning difficulty you are encouraged to indicate this on the Application Form and supply details in the Supplementary Information Form which forms part of the CAO online application form. CAO will then supply these details to the HEIs. The purpose of this procedure is to allow HEIs to consider any specific support needs you may have in a higher education institution. If you do not wish to disclose your disability and/or specific learning difficulty on the Application Form, you may do so at any time on entering a Higher Education Institution and reasonable accommodation will be made at that stage.

Please note that disclosure of a disability and/or specific learning difficulty will not adversely affect your application in any way.


Supplementary Information Form (SIF)


You are asked to complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF) when you disclose a disability and/or specific learning difficulty. The SIF requests additional information on your disability and/or specific learning difficulty and these details are then presented to the HEIs to which you have applied. The SIF may be accessed by logging on to your CAO application using the My Application facility.

The SIF has three sections:

  1. Section A is to be completed online by you, the applicant.
  2. Section B is to be completed by you and your school.
  3. Section C is to be completed by a Consultant/appropriate professional (if you do not already have a report verifying your disability). Applicants with a specific learning difficulty are asked to provide a psycho-educational assessment completed by a qualified Psychologist, in place of Section C.


SIF Applications


When you submit your application online you will be asked to complete Section A of the SIF online. You should print Sections B and C and return them to CAO.

Guidelines to assist you in completing the SIF are available on the CAO website. If you require further assistance, please contact the Disability Service in the HEIs to which you are applying.

Applicants whose disability prevents them from completing the online Form should be told to contact CAO.


Supplementary Admissions Route for Applicants with Disabilities


Some HEIs take account of the impact of your disability and/or specific learning difficulty on your educational performance, through the provision of a supplementary admissions route known as the Supplementary Admissions Route for Applicants with Disabilities.

In addition to supports, if deemed eligible for the scheme applicants may be entitled to a reduction in points for entry to participating HEIs.

The following HEIs participate in the Supplementary Admissions Route for Applicants with Disabilities:

HEIs Operating individual supplementary admissions routes for applicants with a disability HEIs operating a joint supplementary admissions route known as DARE
Carlow College - PC Athlone Institute of Technology - AL
National College of Art and Design - AD Cork Institute of Technology - CR
Dublin City University - DC
Dundalk Institute of Technology - DK
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology - GA
Institute of Technology Carlow - CW
Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire - DL
Institute of Technology Sligo - SG
Institute of Technology Tralee - TL
Letterkenny Institute of Technology - LY
Limerick Institute of Technology - LC
Marino Institute of Education - CM
Mary Immaculate College Limerick - MI
National College of Ireland - NC
NUI Galway - GY
Maynooth University - MH
  Pontifical University Maynooth - MU
Royal College of Surgeons - RC
  St Angela's College Sligo - AS
Technological University Dublin - TU
  Trinity College Dublin - TR
  University College Cork - CK
  University College Dublin - DN
  University of Limerick - LM
  Waterford Institute of Technology - WD


Full details on the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE), and other supplementary admissions routes can be accessed from www.cao.ie, www.accesscollege.ie, and the websites of the participating HEIs.


Applying for Supplementary Admissions Routes for Applicants with Disabilities

  1. Complete the CAO application online.
  2. You must disclose your disability and/or specific learning difficulty in your online CAO Application by 17:15 on 1st March 2021.
  3. You will then be directed to the online Supplementary Information Form (SIF).
  4. Instructions will be given about the completion and return of Sections B and C of the SIF to CAO by 15th March 2021.

Note: There are particular requirements for Section C of the SIF when applying for the Supplementary Admissions Route:

  1. Applicants with a specific learning difficulty are asked to provide a full psychological assessment of any age completed by an appropriately qualified psychologist instead of the Section C Evidence of Disability form. This report must be accompanied by attainment scores from tests administered by your school and/ or an appropriately qualified psychologist carried out after 1st February 2019.
  2. Students with a mental health condition and/or a significant ongoing illness and/or ADHD/ADD must submit Section C of the SIF or supply a report from a relevant Consultant/appropriate professional carried out since 1st February 2018.
  3. There are no age limits on reports for all other disabilities.

Further information on Supplementary Admissions Route for Applicants with Disabilities is available on the CAO website and on websites of the participating HEIs.