Children with special needs

We have many years experience with children who have additional needs and we aim to provide a fully inclusive environment. All children are given time to settle in and become familiar with their new surroundings and routines. If staff have any concerns about a child they will pass these on to the SEN co-ordinator, whom along with the manager and keyworker will observe the child and assess their needs.

Our SEN co-ordinator, Fiona Brennan, ensures that we are meeting each child’s needs and writes up individual educational plans. She also assists staff in each class with strategies to use, goals, etc. We hold regular meetings with parents as part of our partnership with parents and always work in their child’s best interests. In some classes we have AIMS workers for children who qualify for extra support, this ensures that children with additional needs get one-to-one support when they need it.

We regularly link in with any early years specialists involved in the child’s life and make sure they are ready for the transition to primary school when the time is right.

A new Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) was introduced in June 2016 for children starting ECCE in September 2016. AIM supports a child-centered model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from universal to targeted support, based on the needs of the child and the pre-school provider. The model offers tailored, practical supports based on need.

Levels 1 – 3 of the model involve a suite of universal supports which are designed to promote and support an inclusive culture within pre-school settings by means of educational and capacity-building initiatives for providers and practitioners. Where a pre-school service provider, in partnership with a parent, considers that some further additional support may be necessary to meet the needs of a particular child, they can apply for one or more additional targeted supports under levels 4 – 7 of the model.

Additional targeted supports could take the form of expert early childhood care and educational advice and mentoring (level 4), specialised equipment, appliances and minor alterations (level 5), therapeutic supports (level 6) or additional capitation to fund extra assistance in the ECCE pre-school room (level 7).

When you have identified a pre-school for your child, your service provider, in consultation with you, will consider what supports may be needed to ensure your child’s participation in pre-school.

Where it is considered that your child needs additional support, your pre-school service provider can apply, in partnership with you, for targeted supports under AIM.

The AIM website provides information for Parents and Frequently Asked Questions on supports available. Your local City or County Childcare Committee will also be able to provide you with information and guidance on AIM.