Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Ceisteanna (81)

Brendan Howlin


81. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that in the case of a child diagnosed as having complex needs (details supplied) his Department will not appoint a special needs assistant until the child has been assessed by an occupational therapist; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that there is a long delay in the public system for first-time assessment by an occupational therapist; the action he will take in conjunction with the health services to ensure that a special needs assistant is appointed for this child without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22326/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

The availability and provision of health-related therapy services and assessments, including occupational therapy, is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE), and matters in relation to the provision of such services should be directed to the Minister for Health.