My Department does not have a role in finding places for children in early learning and care or school-age childcare facilities - this is a matter between the parents and a provider. If the parents are experiencing a difficulty in finding a place in an early learning and care or school-age childcare setting they can contact their local City /County Childcare Committee (contact details at myccc.ie/) who will try to assist them in finding a suitable place.
If the parents are seeking a place for their child in primary school or in early intervention class in a school setting, supports are available through the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), affiliated to the Department of Education. If so, I would recommend the parents to contact their local Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) for further assistance. The local SENO contact details are available on www.ncse.ie.
Many children with disabilities, including autism, take part in mainstream early learning and care services. Participation of children with disabilities in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) universal pre-school programme in mainstream preschool settings is supported by the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM). The key objective of AIM is to support early learning and care providers to deliver an inclusive preschool experience, ensuring that children with a disability can fully participate in the ECCE Programme, thereby reaping the benefits of quality preschool provision. More information about the supports under AIM are available at aim.gov.ie.
Eligibility for AIM supports is linked to participation in the universal ECCE pre-school programme. ECCE is a universal two-year pre-school programme available to all children within the eligible age range. A child must have reached 2 years and 8 months of age on or prior to 31 August of the relevant programme year to be eligible for the September start date, and a child cannot turn 5 years and 6 months of age during the course of the ECCE programme year.