Sunday, June 17th, 2012
The University of Queensland (UQ) has exported its successful literacy program for young adults with an intellectual disability to Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI).

UQ’s main research commercialisation company, UniQuest, today announced the licensing agreement with DSI to run Latch-On (Literacy and Technology Hands-On) in the Republic of Ireland, marking Latch-On’s launch in Europe.

Latch-On is an evidence-based, multimedia literacy program which provides opportunities for adults with an intellectual disability to continue their literacy development in a post-secondary environment, using computer technology to enhance literacy, self-confidence, independence and employment opportunities.

UQ and UniQuest representatives met with DSI in Dublin earlier this month to launch Latch-On with the Australian Ambassador, UQ alumnus Bruce Davis.

The launch in 2012 coincides with a Latch-On Olympics resource for schools being distributed by the Queensland Olympic Council.

UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson said the licensing agreement was a significant step in introducing the highly successful Latch-On program to the world beyond Australia.

“Latch-On is an important program that has been transforming the lives of Australian adults with intellectual disabilities for more than a decade,” said Mr Henderson.

“UniQuest’s help with packaging and promoting Latch-On for dissemination beyond university walls has made it possible for this unique, evidence-based program to be available world-wide, with licensing income funding further research and program refinement.

“We are delighted to see Latch-on open up new horizons for Down Syndrome Ireland’s clients,” he said.

Latch-On is a comprehensive program that runs over two years. Research has shown it significantly improves students’ literacy and self-confidence. It also helps these often withdrawn members of the community to engage more meaningfully with the world.

DSI CEO, Patrick Clarke said DSI hoped to have more than 70 students participate in the program at 12 centres in 2012.

“The United Nations has made 2003 – 2012 the decade for literacy, and as literacy is a basic human right, we believe Irish people with Down Syndrome have been ignored for far too long when it comes to our educational system. Educational opportunities depend on literacy and as we know literacy is the bedrock for basic education for all,” Mr Clarke said.

“Our quest is to campaign for the rights of Irish citizens with Down Syndrome. We expect great achievements from this world class programme of education and sincerely hope it will enhance many people’s learning skills.”

Education and literacy experts, Dr Anne Jobling and Associate Professor Karen Moni from the School of Education in UQ’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, developed Latch-On.

“Anne and I created Latch-On to help intellectually disabled adults reach their full potential,” said Associate Professor Moni.

“We’ve been working with UniQuest to take Latch-On to the world because we wanted young people everywhere to have access to this invaluable program. It’s extremely rewarding to now see the program available across Ireland.

“Commercialisation has enabled us to finance ongoing research and development for Latch-On as well as produce resource materials and run annual training and professional development programs for the licensees,” she said.

The Endeavour Foundation has a licence to offer Latch-On in Australia. In 2011, Endeavour ran the program for 36 students in Queensland and New South Wales, and is planning to offer the program to more students this year.

About Latch-On

Latch-On is a two year post-school literacy program for adults with intellectual disabilities. Initiated and designed by Associate Professor Karen Moni and Dr Anne Jobling, the program provides opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to continue their literacy development. Latch-On began in the School of Education at The University of Queensland in 1998, and has a strong foundation in educational research and practice. Latch-On draws on over 30 years of research into children and young adults with intellectual disabilities and has been successfully researched and conducted at the University of Queensland for six years. Unlike other literacy programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities, Latch-On is long term. The program is sequenced over two years with students attending two days a week. The four semesters of work in the program provide a balanced approach to literacy education and are fully resourced. The program’s key teachers are registered teachers who have been accredited through the Latch-On program. Tutors are also trained to Latch-On program standards.

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UniQuest Pty Limited

Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year. UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.

Leanne Wyvill phone: +61 7 3365 4037
mobile: +61 409 767 199
fax: +61 7 3365 4433
email: [email protected]

Joe McLean phone: +61 7 3365 4037
email: [email protected]
Leanne Wyvill phone: mobile: email: website:
P: +61 7 3365 4037
M: +61 409 767 1993


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