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National Educational Psychological Service

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (268)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

268. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education the reason a person (details supplied) has been waiting a long time for an assessment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58221/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In relation to the NEPS service, NEPS Psychologists work with schools using a problem solving model to help schools identify need and interventions to support those needs. Under the special educational needs model, NEPS encourages schools to use a continuum based assessment and intervention process whereby each school takes responsibility for initial assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention for pupils with learning, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Details of planning and the student response to interventions are recorded on the Student Support File and the teacher may then wish to consult with their assigned psychologist. Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school's best efforts in consultation with NEPS, will the psychologist become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention or assessment. This system is in line with international best practice and allows psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually.

Parents/guardians should engage with the Principal of their child’s school or the school’s SET co-ordinator to discuss their child’s needs. In September 2017 a new model to support pupils with special educational needs in our schools was introduced. The new model differs significantly from the old Resource Allocation Model, in that Special Education Teacher allocation is now frontloaded into schools to support children with special educational needs. This model differs from the previous system whereby pupils were allocated a prescribed number of resource teaching hours on the basis of a named disability. The new model gives schools the capacity to respond to individual needs in a flexible way and pupils do not have to have a psychological assessment, or a diagnosis of a disability, in order to access Special Education Teaching. This means that those with highest level of need can access the highest level of support within the school in a timely manner.

In the first instance I would advise that this child’s parents should consult with the school’s principal to discuss the supports in place to meet their daughter’s needs and their daughter’s response to those interventions. Following this, and if appropriate, consideration may be given to a consultation with the assigned NEPS psychologist.

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