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Special Educational Needs

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 9 November 2021

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Questions (436)

Michael Collins


436. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Minister for Education when an application for assistive technology by a school (details supplied) will be processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [54476/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the Assistive Technology scheme, as set out in my Department’s Circular 0010/2013, funding is provided to schools towards the cost of computers and specialist equipment, which are required for educational purposes.

All equipment provided under this scheme supports children with more complex disabilities who, in order to access the school curriculum, require essential specialist equipment.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports. SENOs also make recommendations to my Department where assistive technology/specialised equipment is required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in making recommendations for support.

In order to qualify for equipment under the assistive technology scheme, a student must have been diagnosed with a physical or communicative disability and must also have a recommendation in a professional assessment that the equipment is essential in order to allow the student to access the curriculum. It must also be clear that the existing I.T. equipment in the school is insufficient to meet the child's needs.

Schools make applications directly to the SENO, providing details of the student’s special educational needs or disability, including details of the approach taken by the school in making relevant interventions.

SENOs will review the application, and professional reports provided in support of same, in order to establish whether the criteria of the scheme have been met. They will then make a recommendation to my Department as to whether or not assistive technology is required; and based on this recommendation, my Department will decide on the level of grant, if any, to be provided.

Although equipment is sanctioned under the Assistive Technology scheme for use by particular students, it is the property of the school, and the school’s management authority is responsible for maintenance, repair, and insurance of the equipment.

An application has been processed for this child , a sanction letter has issued to the school on 9th November 2021.