Part 2 of the Disability Act (2005) establishes a system for the assessment of the health needs of children and young people born on or after 1st June 2002 who are suspected of having a disability. Although the Act refers to education needs, it is clarified that this relates to adults only. An Assessment of Need for a child provides a determination as to whether or not they have a disability. Where the child is deemed to have a disability their Assessment of Need report will include:
1. A statement of the nature and extent of the disability
2. A statement of the health needs occasioned by the disability
3. A statement of the services required to meet these needs and the period of time for the provision of those services
4. A statement of the period in which a review of the assessment should be carried out.
The report does not always include a diagnosis. During 2018 4,237 Assessment of Need reports were completed nationally. 27% of these indicated that the child/young person presented with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Assessments of Need are not required to identify the education needs of children and as such the HSE does not collect this data. It should also be noted that not all children with an ASD diagnosis will require placement in an ASD class.
Access to special educational placements such as ASD classes is via the National Council for Special Education. Your query regarding the numbers of applications for placement in primary level ASD classes should be directed to the NCSE or Department of Education & Skills.