The Psychological Society of Ireland



The Psychological Society of Ireland,
Floor 2, Grantham House,
Grantham Street, Dublin 8, D08 W8HD.

Special Interest Group in Learning Disabilities

PSI Learning Disability Special Interest Group Committee

Anne Marie Scott (Chair)
Catherine Jackman (Vice-chair)
Claire Lacey Quinn (Secretary)
Mary Atkins (Treasurer)
Sarah Loughman (Membership secretary)

Committee Members
Genevieve Marren
Jackie Flannagan
Gillian Martin
Michael Tully
Maria Paula


The PSI Special Interest Group in Learning Disabilities was founded in 1974 after the idea had been discussed at the PSI annual conference in Limerick in 1973. The founding members were David Kenefick, Stephen Kealy, Dympna Walsh, Sally Jackson and Seamus McLoone.

It was the first special interest group to be formed within the Psychological Society of Ireland and the first Easter workshop was held in 1975 and received approval from the Department of Health.

Initially, issues addressed included:

  • Managing Psychological Services
  • Conditions of Employment, e.g. pensions
  • Training
  • Collaborating with health boards
  • Curriculum for special schools

By 1981, the aims of the group were

  • Promoting good practice
  • Charting a course for service development in a climate of changing models of service provision
  • Providing support to psychologists often in departments that were just developing.
  • Providing information based on best international research and practice.

Over the years, the Special Interest Group in Learning Disabilities has provided psychologists working in the field of learning disabilities with a forum to share professional skills and expertise and access best practice of the time, therefore playing a key role in continuing professional development.

Through conferences, workshops and seminars, many international experts have been brought to Ireland to share their research findings and challenge the profession to take a leading role in influencing the delivery of services to people with learning disabilities and their families.
The SIG has provided and continues to provide a means of support on ethical and service issues and plays a leading role in advocating for better lives for children and adults with developmental disabilities whether in education, residential services or the work place.

Through this dynamic, the learning disability special interest group have produced a number of significant position papers and policy documents.

Aims of PSI Special Interest Group in Learning Disabilities

The aims and vision of the group have remained consistent and can be summarised as follows:

  • To promote good practice in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • To facilitate high standards of competence in assessment and intervention in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • To educate the public on issues relating to intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • To support continuing professional development for Psychologists working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities

Structure and functioning of group

  • The group has a committee with a chairperson, secretary, treasurer and committee members. 
  • The chairperson, secretary and treasurer are elected for two years at an annual general meeting, which takes place in April each year.
  • New committee members can be elected annually.
  • There are usually four meetings in a year with an annual workshop, which takes place in Easter week.
  • Subgroups/working parties may meet more regularly if working on a particular issue.


Criteria for membership

  • Membership is open to qualified Psychologists and psychologists in training who are working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and who are members of PSI
  • There is no membership fee

Download an application form from the 'Downloads' section on the left of this page.

"Ethics in Disability", Research Papers.

The Responsible Researcher
Ethics in research in Disability
Conducting Service Based research

Adults with Mild Intellectual Disability: the "forgotten" diaspora.

Psychologists working with people with intellectual disability are concerned that the needs of adults with mild intellectual disability are not being met adequately either by generic, mainstream services or by specialist services for people with intellectual disability. The PSI Learning Disability Special Interest Group is proposing:

A position paper on the needs for adults with a Mild Intellectual Disability (MID) and

That PSI facilitate a policy making initiative inviting representatives of the intellectual disability sector, relevant mainstream services and service users to critically review concerns and current service provisions for this population.

Winter e-zine
For full details please click here

Related Upcoming Events

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Presenters: Colin O’Driscoll and Gary Broderick

21st - 22nd September


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Prsenter: Ian O’Grady

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Speakers: Dr Kate Kirby, Dr Tadhg MacIntyre, Jessie Barr & Niamh Briggs

21st September


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