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Development of Inclusive Practices in Education

Info: 10109 words (40 pages) Dissertation
Published: 9th Dec 2019

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Tagged: EducationEquality


In the last 25 years a lot of changes regarding the development of inclusive practices in education. Children with Special Education Needs (SEN) now have the right to be educated alongside their peers in mainstream schools. The two Legislative Acts I am discussing are

  1. Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs 2004 (EPSEN)
  2. Education Act 1998.

The EPSEN 2004 provides that children are to be educated in an inclusive setting unless this would not be in the best interests of the child. (www.citizensinformation.ie). SEN means the special educational arrangements are in place for children with disabilities. All children, including children with disabilities and children with special needs have a constitutional right to free primary education up to age 18. (www.citizensinformation.ie)This act introduced assessment of a child and developed an educational plan for children with SEN. Educational provision for children with special needs is made in special schools; In special classes attached to ordinary schools or In integrated settings in mainstream classes. Each school with the co-operation of the parents, the Principal, teachers, a psychologist and other relevant personnel prepare an Education Plan for studentswho have been assessed as having special educational needs. If agreed by all parties’ inclusion at the mainstream school the appropriate provisions were put in place including resource teaching and special needs assistant. The EPSEN Act allowed for a specific learning plan tailored to the special needs child. The level of the educational is based on the child’s professionally-assessed disability. The assessment is carried out by the National Educational Psychological service (NEPS) no fee.  This is a school based service. The assessments are carried out in the school environment at the request of the Principal. (data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/act). The DES’ policy is to ensure the maximum possible integration of children with special needs into ordinary mainstream schools, students who have been assessed as having special educational needs have access to a range of special support services.  The services range from special schools dedicated to particular disability groups, through special classes/units attached to ordinary schools, to placement on an integrated basis in ordinary schools with supports. Once a child has been identified as having SEN the first step towards the development of an IEP is to gather relevant information as specified in the EPSEN Act, 2004.Following the establishment of the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), and the passing of the 2004 EPSEN Act which set out a future statutory framework for the preparation and implementation of such IEPs. Individual Education Plan Co-ordinator is responsibility for the development, implementation and review of an individual child’s IEP. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written document prepared for a named student which specifies the learning goals that are to be achieved by the student over a set period of time and the teaching strategies, resources and supports necessary to achieve those goals. It sets out how teachers/educators prepare for, implement and review the various milestones along the way. It emphasises that the IEP should be a practical working document, which incorporates the main areas of student need, as well as the key interventions planned to meet those needs. The IEP directs the student with special educational needs during the school years. (ncse.ie/wp-contentpdf)

The Education Act was introduced in 1998 and it was the first time that students with additional needs were identified and provided for in an inclusive environment. This was the first time that legislation stated that the state was obliged to provide education for all children regardless of their ability/disability and that the support would be available to allow the child the necessary skills to participate in an inclusive way with their peers in a social and integrated environment. It represents a landmark in Irish education. The Act marked the beginning of Integration and inclusion for children with special needs or additional education needs into Mainstream Settings. This Act allowed Parents of Children with Special Needs Education greater involvement and Parents now had the right to choose a Mainstream School of their choice and in their locality and schools were obliged to take a child regardless of the Special Need. It was the first time that Integration was allowed between children and children with additional needs. The Education Act 1998 gives statutory rights to parents in relation to their children’s education. Under the act, schools are required to use their resources to identify and provide for the educational needs of students with disabilities or other special educational needs. The act specify that the school plan shall state the objectives of the school relating to equality of access. Also the measures which the school proposes to take to include equality of access and participation by students with disabilities or SEN. Boards of management should establish and maintain an admissions policy that provides for maximum access to the school, including access for students with SEN. (www.education.iepdf) Another function from the act was to provide School transport for children with special educational needs.  This included travel to and from each day from child’s own home to school. Specialised equipment (adapted buses, lifts, and ramps), if required to provide special transportation for a child with a disability. This service allowed Parents to travel to their place of work whilst their child was transported to/from school. A bus escort would travel on the bus for the safety of the child getting on /off the bus and if they required any assistant during the journey.  This Act was the start of a new chapter in the lives of children with a disability as it provided inclusion and integration in a mainstream school setting. Applications can be made to the Department by the Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) to employ an escort to accompany a child, if the child’s care and safety needs require that support. (www.citizensinformation.ie)

Inclusion and Integration

Under the Education Act (1998): Inclusion of Students with Special Educational Needs is designed to assist schools in providing appropriate and equal education for students with SEN. To assist teachers in improved methods of teaching and conducting classes. The DEP recognises the need for a range of provision for these students from full-time enrolment in ordinary classes in mainstream schools to full-time enrolment in special schools. (www.education.iepdf) Significantchallenges in the inclusion of students with special educational needs arise for schools as they are required to provide a subject-centred curriculum for the preparation of students. A challenge for Students who meet many different teachers during the school day while teachers similarly may teach a wide range of class groups. Differentiated curriculum for students with SEN all present a significant challenge for the school management and teachers. Many schools and teachers have responded positively by seeking in-career development opportunities in the area of SEN.(www.education.ie)

The Department’s policy is to achieve as much integration as possible, as envisaged in The EPSEN Act. Where placement in an integrated setting is considered to be the appropriate response, provision will normally take the form of resource teaching or special needs assistant support, or both, depending on the pupil’s assessed level of need. While the DES’ policy is to ensure the maximum possible integration and benefit of children with special needs into local mainstream schools with their sibling’s, students who have been assessed as having SEN have access to a range of services i.e. -special classes/units attached to ordinary schools, to placement on an integrated basis in ordinary schools with supports. Special rates of capitation funding to avail of the special school transport service and the school bus escort service. (www.education.ie) Resource teachers and learning-support teachers can advance the implementation of inclusive education within the school through collaborative planning with mainstream teachers. (www.ncse.ie).Behaviour issues with some additional needs students can be a challenge for teachers and other class students. Disruptive students interfere with the teacher’s ability to teach effectively. Some behaviour issues require the teacher’s time and attention and as a result the class are missing out on valuable teaching time. If the behaviour is threatening it may challenge the teacher’s authority and create tension in the classroom and learning motivation is decreased. Any disruptive behaviour compromises the teacher’s authority and ability to control the class.

Disabilities necessitating Assessment

  1. Down Syndrome
  2. Spina Bifida
  3. Autism
  4. Cerebral Palsy
  5. Dyspraxia

Children with Down syndrome effects their learning  development causing delays in language development, problems with delayed speech. Children with DS take longer to control the muscles used for speech, such as the lips and tongue. In time, most children are able to learn to talk normally and become effective communicators. Speech and language disorders would be a difficulty in school for a child with DS as it affects their intellectual ability and interaction amongst peers. Teachers in the classroom need to Present materials visually to a child with DS. If the class is doing oral language work the child needs a list with a small number of key points that are mentioned repeatedly. Through early intervention services work with health professionals to treat a child’s symptoms, support and improve outcomes for a child with DS and help him reach their full potential. The team of professionals involved in supporting the child in their school years include  physiotherapistsoccupational therapistsspeech pathologistsspecial education teachers and psychologists. (raisingchildren.net)  To achieve independence in school/life  an Occupational therapy practitioners work with persons with Down syndrome to help them master skills for independence through self-care like feeding and dressing, fine and gross motor skills, school performance, and play and leisure activities. (www.aota.org) . Children with DS have problems with delayed speech. Ideally all children with Down syndrome should receive speech and language therapy in school but access to this service will vary considerably from place to place.  The Speech and Language therapist will ensure the teachers and learning support assistants understand the speech and language needs of the child and how  it develops in class over a period. In The EPSEN Act 2004 the principal with the consent of parent must arrange for an assessment NEPS of the child for the necessary professionals to help the child in their school years.

A Child with Spina  Bifida might have paralyzed legs and use wheelchairs. Those with Spina Bifida lower on the spine (near the hips) might have more use of their legs and use crutches, braces, or walkers, or they might be able to walk without these devices. Access to school and classrooms/ toilet should include ramps, wide doors for wheelchair access and modifications enabling access to general areas such as toilet block, bus bays and the school canteen. Difficulities that can occur in school for the child include hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in and around the brain) that requires a shunt to drain the extra fluid. Teachers should be aware of symptoms of shunt malfunction, which include headache, nausea or vomiting, and a deterioration in physical or mental abilities. paralysis, depending on the location of the opening (the higher on the spine, the more severe the paralysis)bowel and bladder control problems, poor eye–hand coordination, which can make things like handwriting difficult and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (kidshealth.org) An occupational therapist can provide effective assessment and treatment for a child with SB As a result of the EPSEN Act 2004  a child with SB will be assessed and the therapist will advise a unique treatment plan with the aim of maximising the quality for the child who finds it hard to concentrate in class, has difficulty moving between classrooms and participating in P.E, Poor handwriting affecting school work Social/behavioural, Difficulty making and keeping friends, Behavioural difficulties/acting out at school due to cognitive dysfunction. All the above issues would necessitate an assessment. The school should be able to draw up an IEP as a result of the EPSEN Act 2004  for the child on the basis of the educational psychologist’s report and any other existing professional reports.(www.otforkids.co.)

Autismis a lifelong developmental disability that affects the development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication.  Behavioural  difficulties ,Social interaction Communication difficulties, Sensory issues and difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships in school with peers. All these isues necessitate an assessment taking place. Services provided by the health services include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy services. Psycho-educational assessment, in this context, is concerned with the identification of the child’s educational needs arising from ASD and from any intellectual disability. In schools served by (NEPS), the principal can request the involvement of the area educational psychologist. (autismireland.ie/education) The school draw up an IEP as was introduced in The EPSEN Act 2004 for the child on the basis of the educational psychologist’s report and any other existing professional reports.

Cerbal Palsey (CP) is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills and the ability to move in a coordinated and purposeful way. Kids with CP have varying degrees of physical disability. Some have only mild impairment, while others are severely affected. This depends on the extent of the damage to the brain. Visual impairment or blindness, hearing loss, gastroesophageal reflux (spitting up),speech problems, drooling, osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones), behavior problems, Seizures, speech and communication problems, and intellectual disabilities  (kidshealth.org) are all difficulties for the child in school environment.  As a result of the EPSEN Act 2004 a child with CP difficulties would necessitate an assessment in the school system.

Dyspraxia Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia in Ireland, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. (www.dyspraxia.ie) The child may have a combination of several problems in varying degrees. These include Poor balance, Poor fine and gross motor co-ordination, Poor posture, Difficulty with throwing and catching a ball, Poor awareness of body position in space, Poor sense of direction, Confused about which hand to use, Slow to learn to dress or feed themselves, Find some clothes uncomfortable, Difficulty with reading, writing, Speech problems – slow to learn to speak and speech may be incoherent, Phobias or obsessive behavior and impatient. People with Dyspraxia/DCD benefit most from one-to-one therapy. They need the support of qualified professionals on a regular basis to help them reach their full potential. Children with Dyspraxia/DCD need support and understanding in the educational system. (www.dyspraxia.ie) Under the EPSEN Act each child assessed with a SEN should have a personal education plan. (www.citizensinformation.ie/en/education)

Disability  – Autism   Children on the spectrum may exhibit unusual behaviouraldue to the difficulties they have responding to their  school environment. Their behaviour is generally an attempt by them to communicate their feelings to their peers. Behaviour problems may occur as the result of their heightened sensitivity to a sound in the classroom/ lunchtime or something they felt. Timetable school routines and spending their time in repetitive behaviours are ways for them to reduce uncertainty and maintain the predictability of their environment. Other behaviours include focused interests, repetitive body movements such as hand flapping, repetitive use of objects such as repeatedly lining up toys in the classroom, insistence on sticking to routines doing things in exactly the same order every time, unusual sensory interests such as sniffing or moving objects like school bag, pencil case, sensory sensitivities including avoidance of everyday school sounds (school bell) and textures (fabric on beanbag in library (autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment). People with autism have difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships. They don’t respond to many of the non-verbal forms of communication like facial expressions, physical gestures and eye contact, unable to understand and express their needs unable to interpret and understand the needs of others. This impairs their ability to share interests and activities with others. They may appear distant. Delayed in their speech and struggle to make sense of other non-verbal forms of communication, they may withdraw into repetitive play and behaviour and avoid interaction. (autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment) Children with autism often have Communication difficulties. Some children with autism who speak fluently, others who are speech impaired and others who are unable to speak. Those who speak often use language in a very limited way.  This can be difficult to communicate with peers in school. Their conversation involves repeating phrases or words back or asking the same questions again and will usually only talk about topics that interest them which makes the give and take in communication difficult. They have difficulty interpreting non-verbal forms of communication like facial expressions, hand gestures and other body language.   (autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment)Gastrointestinal (GI) Problems Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are among the most common medical conditions associated with autism and can be from chronic constipation or diarrhoea to irritable and inflammatory bowel conditions.  This can be an issue for the child with autism in the school day. The pain and discomfort caused by GI symptoms can worsen behaviour and even trigger regression in persons with ASD and especially of nonverbal persons who have difficulty expressing their distress. (autismspeaks.org) This behaviour would disrupt the  teacher and fellow class students.

Observational Methods

1. Checklist Method. This observation checklist is a list of things that an observer is going to look at when observing the child. This list may have been prepared by the observer or the teacher or both. Observation checklists not only give an observer a structure and framework for an observation but also serve as a contract of understanding with the teacher, who will get specific feedback on aspects of the child. (teachingenglish.org.)

2. Time Sampling Methods. The observer records the frequency of the child’s behavior’s occurrence over time. Involves observing specified behaviors of the child, and recording the presence or absence of this behavior during short intervals of uniform length. (msu.edu)

Importance’s of observation

An Observation takes place before assessment and it can enable informed understanding of a child’s current competence levels. (www.sagepub.com.pdf) For children experiencing difficulties an observation strives towards early identification, diagnosis of specific difficulties and the introduction of appropriate intervention strategies. None of these can take place without prior observation. Purposeful observation offers benefits to practitioners, parents and teachers, and is a positive way of responding to the needs of the child. In the case of an autistic child, practitioners need to understand the effects and implications of autism, focus on the child’s current skills, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes which will inform planning. The autism is secondary. With each observation it increases knowledge and considering each child as individual and unique. An observation usually is when children are involved in their everyday activities, but there may be occasions when there is need to set up specific activities to support a specific observation. However an observation and assessment should be an integral part of every early years establishment. (www.sagepub.com.pdf)



The assessment of the TC it identifies problems and also patterns of behaviours. It builds a portfolio of the TC. Early intervention is vital to put all the necessary personal in place.  The EPSEN Act puts an onus on the Principal to provide for child with SEN and adapt a teaching method to suit the individual child. The child will receive learning support or resource hours in school if needed. Parents will be informed of the process and permission requested. The importance’s of assessment enables early Intervention. The child will get the help needed faster. Learning goals and needs are met. The earlier the intervention will benefit the child as they develop and grow. Specific to the child’s needs predicated on the outcome of a Psychological Assessment or Individual Education Plan (IEP) or both evidence based delivered by professionals who have the correct training and resources to deliver the requirements of the Psychological Assessment and/or IEP.

Assessment for Autism

On June 1 2007, Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005 becomes law for children under 5 years of age. Under this Act, children with disabilities have a right to An independent assessment of their health and educational needs arising from their disability, An assessment report, A statement of services they will receive and Make a complaint if they are not happy with any part of the process. Autism Spectrum Disorder is generally diagnosed from the age of 2 ½ years. This is because some of the skills or emerging skills that the assessment team are looking for would not be apparent. When the assessment is complete, an HSE Liaison Officer will prepare a service statement. It will say what services and supports will be provided for the child and will be prepared within 1 month of the assessment being completed. The child’s assessment report and service statement at the same time. Once seen by the Paediatrician or Educational Psychologist and they agree that there are areas of the child’s development which warrant further investigation, the child will be referred again to an Autism Team. This team is typically made up of a Clinical Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Social Worker. The Psychologist and Therapists will then conduct an assessment of the child using recognised diagnostic assessment tools coupled with their observations of the child’s behaviours. When the diagnostic reports are complete they will list recommendations for therapies and for educational supports.

Multidisciplinary Team

Occupational Therapist  (OT) helps a child attain maximum levels of functioning, thus gaining self-esteem and independence. Motor, sensory, perceptual, social, emotional and selfcare skills are assessed. Working with the child, parents and teachers, occupational therapists use therapeutic techniques to improve a child’s ability to access the physical and learning curriculum. (ncse.ie) Many children with autism also struggle with fine motor skills and sensory issues, which are usually addressed with the help of an occupational therapist.  The OP will include all of these areas when assessing the child and make a list of goals for the child with autism as part of IEP. Monitor progress and review.

Speech and Language Therapist diagnose and provide speech and language therapy to individuals with ASD. People with ASD may have major problems with both speech and nonverbal communication. They may also find it very hard to interact socially and in the school setting. Therefore speech therapy is an important part of treatment for child with autism and has a major involvement with the creation of IEP. The SLT will assess the child, and design a program which will be written into IEP to help the child achieve communication goals. Monitor and review progress.

Dietician is a health professional who specialises in the development and preparation of healthy balanced diets. Children with ASD have fussy eating habits and a dietician can help the family introduce new foods and monitor the child’s diet and help in the creation of IEP.

Behaviour Therapist offers treatment for people with an ASD is called applied behaviour analysis (ABA). ABA is used in many schools and encourages positive behaviours and discourages negative in order to improve a variety of skills. The child’s progress assessed, tracked and measured.(autismireland.ie) With this information the therapist can devise exercises which can be written into IEP .The process monitored and reviewed.

Physical Therapy  emphasises the use of physical approaches for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of an individual’s physical, psychological and social well-being. Working with the child, parents and teachers, physiotherapists use techniques to improve a child’s ability to access the physical and learning curriculum that can be practiced everyday activities. This practice can be monitored and reviewed as IEP.




Appendix 1

Individual  Education Plan


Name of child:  TC









Parents/Guardian Name:  Mary and Tom Honey

Address:  Summerlane, Galway. Address: Summerlane, Galway

Contact Number:  089-1234567


Date of Birth:  01-09-10                                                   Age: 7


Class:  First Class.


School: Educate Together, Galway


Date of IEP;       16/05/18                                                 Date of review:  May 2019

Multi disciplinary Team involved:


Teacher:  Mrs T. Doyle

SNA: Katie Apple

Learning Support:  Anna Bunch

SLT: Agnes Browne

Physio:  Jen Wood


Brief statement of child strengths and weaknesses in educational setting:

TC is good at visual search tasks. TC is good at learning poems and stories by heart. TC enjoys building lego construction blocks using a variety of colours and designs. TC enjoys playing on his ipad alone. TC struggles with change in school timetable and interacting with his peers at playtime in the classroom. TC has difficulty putting on coat and hat when getting ready to go outside into play yard. Following this are tantrums when asked to put on his coat as his refuses. This always interrupts break times at school everyday for TC. TC does not like washing his hands before/after being outdoors.

Aim of Plan: To help TC with changes to the school daily activities.

To work with TC towards independences with putting on coat/ hat when going outdoors using visual aids.

Try to foresee tantrums and identify triggers.

To help TC understand the importance of washing his hands after the toilet, this can be done through demonstration and the use of visual aids.




Learning Objective



Strategies Achieved by Comment
Communication Get TC to  ask questions why the change in timetable before any issues develop. Teacher / SNA Visual Aid

Task  Analysis PEC’s

12/12/18 Talk  to prior/Explain to TC if any changes in the school timetable
  Independence For TC to put on coat/ hat by self every day when going outside. Decrease tantrums Teacher / SNA Visual Aid 22/12/18 Allow TC to choose a friend each day to join him first in line to put on coats before going outside.
Personal Hygiene Encourage TC to wash hands when asked. SNA Task Analysis

Visual Aid

20/11/18 Observe until TC succeeds. Reward with extra time on ipad.

    Appendix 2                                                   Lesson Plan

Student: TC

Skill: Washing Hands


Initial instruction:

“It’s time to wash your hands”

Resources Equipment required

Hand Basin

Hand Soap

Lukewarm Water

Paper Towel


SNA – to Assist


Full Physical prompt      – FP

Partial physical Prompt – PP

Verbal prompt                – VE

Visual Prompt                 – VI

Model                               – M

Gesture                             – G

Independent                     – I

Date 18/06/18

Initial       TM







1.pm TM

Turn on water


Wet both hands


Hold right hand under soap pump


With Left hand, pump soap into right hand


Rub palms of hands together


With left hand rub back of right hand


With right hand rub back of left hand


Rub between fingers of both hands


Rinse both hands until all soap is gone


Turn off water


Reach for  paper towel


Dry palms of both hands


Dry back of left hand


Dry back of right hand


Put paper towel in bin.

Independence level

Steps completed/independent

4/15 3/15 5/15 9/15

Appendix 3      Steps to Washing Hands


Turn on water


Wet both hands


Hold right hand under soap pump


With Left hand, pump soap into right hand


Rub palms of hands together


With left hand rub back of right hand


With right hand rub back of left hand


Rub between fingers of both hands


Rinse both hands until all soap is gone


Turn off water


Reach for paper towel


Dry palms of both hands


Dry back of left hand


Dry back of right hand


Put paper towel in bin

Image result for cartoon picture  showing someone turning on water tap   http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zaXqZl8hJgA/To5XNACSDlI/AAAAAAAAAV0/jgWDtAmmnfE/s200/hands2.gif   Related image

3. Hold Hand under soap pump

1.Turn on water tap                                    2. Wash both hands

Washing hand with Alcohol Sanitizer   Related image   Image result for cartoon picture  showing someone  rubbing hands

6. With right hand rub back of left hand

5.Rub Palms together

4.With Left hand pump

soap into right hand.

Image result for cartoon picture  showing someone  rubbing hands        Related image                                Related image

7.With left hand rub back

of right hand

8.  Rub between fingers of                          9. Rinse both hands till soap is gone

both hands

Image result for cartoon picture  showing someone  turning off water tap                                   Image result for cartoon picture  showing someone reach for paper towel                                Image result for cartoon picture  showing someone reach for paper towel

10. Turn off tap.                             11. Reach for Paper Towel.

12. Dry Palms of both hands

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/drying-hands-towel-11327789.jpg                                     Related image                                  Image result for cartoon picture  showing someone  putting paper towel into bin

13. Dry back of left hand.                         14.Dry back of right hand.                             15. Put Paper towel into bin.


Educational Provisions

Most children with Down’s syndrome attend their local mainstream primary school along with brothers and sisters and other children from their community. Children with DS will learn more slowly than other children, but also have a specific pattern of strengths and difficulties. The child’s support in school will be overseen by the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO). Day to day help will generally be provided by a learning support assistant (LSA), who will provide one to one supervision and support for part or all of the school day. The class teacher must be involved in planning their learning and in teaching them within the class. Children with DS will generally require speech and language therapy to help with language difficulties. This will be provided by a speech and language therapist visiting the school to draw up a programme and train and advise school staff. The child may also receive individual direct therapy sessions. (www.downs-syndrome.org.)

Young people with Spina Bifida are often socially adept and good with words. The student can have co-ordination and perception difficulties that will affect learning. Short-term memory, speech and vision difficulties may also be present. Many children with SB attend mainstream primary with their peers unless they have additional needs requiring a special placement. Whilst having the same level of ability as their peers, children with SB can be at risk of underperforming due to seizures, hospitalisation, effects of medication and cognitive issues such as memory problems. These issues themselves do not attract school-based learning support, unless the child is performing in the lowest range at school. In this instance, NEPS is responsible for providing assessments within schools. The School can commission a small number of assessments each year through the NEPS but waiting lists are lengthy and private assessments by NEPS approved psychologists will be accepted for this purpose. If the child meets the assessment criteria, they may be awarded a set number of hours of resource time per week and may also be eligible for a SNA.

Children on the autistic spectrum may avail of special needs education in the same way as other children with special needs. There are also specific provisions for them at Primary Education Level. Special pre-School Class Units – A small number of special pre-school class units are attached to certain mainstream primary schools for children with ASD.  Home Tuition Scheme – If your child is unable to go to school on a regular basis because of serious medical difficulties, they may be able to access home tuition, which may also be provided if your child has special educational needs and is waiting for a suitable school place. Home tuition is also used to provide early intervention for pre-school children with autism. The grant aid is for 10 hours home tuition a week for children aged two and a half to three and 20 hours a week for children aged three and over. The funding is not provided if there is a place in school or early education available to your child. (careersportal.ie)

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a general term covering a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and coordination. Students with CP may require the support of an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist’s recommendations are shared with the mainstream class teacher. As cerebral palsy affects muscle control, students with cerebral palsy in an academic setting may require the support of an SNA. The child with CP may attend a mainstream school. They may be in mainstream classes with the support of a learning support/resource teacher and/or the care support of a special needs assistant or may be in a special class. A school may apply for a grant to make the school accessible for a student with a disability, for example, to put in a ramp or accessible toilet accommodation. (careersportal.ie)

Dyspraxia is a Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD) and a recognised Specific Learning Difficulty. Primary schools get a general allocation to meet the needs of children with special educational needs. This includes specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia and borderline and mild general learning disabilities and Learning difficulties. Children with Dyspraxia can attend mainstream school with the necessary learning and teaching supports available to them. (careersportal.ie)

Benefit of Assessment

The benefit of an assessment for a child with ASD offers a comprehensive understanding of the child and shows the child’s abilities and challenges. The school Principal makes the referral to NEPS with permission from parents. The SENO co ordinates the assessment. The Psychologists observes the child in class and makes recommendations. The SENO makes the final decision. The Child as a result from this procedure may have access to a multidisciplinary team. The assessment will determine the child’s eligibility for accessing disability services. In school extra support SNA and learning support teachers are put in place should the child require and an IEP is written up and reviewed annually by teacher. Many of the child’s presenting difficulties may have a good chance of being improved with appropriate interventions as a result of the assessment. The earlier a diagnosis and interventions are put into place, the greater the likelihood for the reduction of associated symptoms (school disruptions, mental health problems, etc). Helps explain the child’s behaviour, thereby reducing frustration. (www.asantecentre.org)The assessment can be a positive turning point for a child with ASD.


Although many people choose to follow the public route regarding diagnosis and assessment, the waiting lists can be  a major factor. Assessments can be arranged through consultation with your GP. You will then be referred to the local Disability or Mental Health Team for a consultation. There may be limited support available after a diagnosis. An alternative route for many parents is to seek out a private assessment. Although waiting times will be considerable shorter than the public route, the average cost of consultation can be high priced. (www.google.ie) The Review of the operation of the Disability Act 2005 (2011) year stated that ‘there is an uneven implementation of and lack of consistent approach to the assessment of needs process’. There needs to be equity of service and supports regardless of geographic location. The quality of the supports available should not be reliant on the autistic child or adult’s address. This is having a detrimental effect upon many young people with autism. Without the early diagnosis they cannot receive the supports that they require and valuable time is lost. The National Review of Autism Services highlights the significant shortage of multidisciplinary staff to manage the size of the caseloads for both diagnosis and intervention. The growing emphasis by the HSE upon targeted funding in order to put in place such multidisciplinary supports for children has resulted in a lack of recognition for the needs of adults with autism. The amount of new funding available for young people leaving school and making the transition into adult services is cut in the budget. This results in significant stress for families living with autism. (frontline-ireland.com) Labeling a child gives others the ability to make assumptions about the child based on their understanding of the diagnosis. This can lead people to make decisions and judgments about the child based on the diagnosis rather than on the needs and characteristics of the child. This is something the child has to carry with them always in life.

Improve the Procedure

The announcement by The Minister for Education and Skills on 18 January 2017 that a new model for allocating Special Education Teaching Resources to mainstream primary and post primary schools will be introduced from September 2017. I think this is a fairer and better way to allocate resources to support children with Special Educational Needs. The Ministers said Barriers to accessing resources will be removed and children who need support can have that support provided immediately rather than having to wait for a diagnosis. This is very positive news for all the hundreds of SEN on waiting lists. This will help decrease the backlog.  According to the NCSE the number of pupils “accessing” SNA support in mainstream schools in 2010 was 13,000. In 2013, the figure is 15,000. This shows the demand there is SNA in schools to assist SEN Children. I think all children who need extra class support should receive an SNA for the child’s development and education needs. So an increase of SNA positions in schools is needed and allow SNA be involved in care decisions and assessment feedback. The Government need to increase funding for SEN. A sharp increase in the numbers of school pupils diagnosed with autism since 2011 is among the factors that has led to a huge jump in the budget for special needs education, according to a Government report.(www.irishtimes.com) Additional learning support resources should be allocated to schools on the basis of enrolment or number of class teachers (primary) and not linked to the level of need for such support in schools. Use a school’s educational profile as the main basis for resource allocation. The school’s educational profile should capture the school’s requirements without the need to count each student, and should include those with the most complex needs. (ncse)

Appendix 1      Individual Education Plan

Appendix 2      Lesson Plan

Appendix 3      Task Analysis Washing Hands

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Autistic Spectrum Disorders – A Western Care Association- Publication February 2013

NCSE  Delivery For Students with Special Education Needs March-2014


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