Children with a Disability entering the ECCE programme.
The new Access Inclusion Model (AIM) is a new National Disability Model which focuses on the developmental level of children with disabilities, their functional ability and their needs. It does not focus on diagnosis, and in any event, it recognises that many children may not have a formal diagnosis at the time of presenting to pre-school.
There are 7 levels to the new National Disability Model which are explained in the animation below:
Level 1: An Inclusive Culture: This level is the critical foundation for the model. This sets out that a strong culture of inclusion must be fostered and embedded to support all children’s maximum participation in the ECCE Programme. Recommendations include the development of a national inclusion policy for ECCE, the identification of an Inclusion Co-ordinator in each ECCE setting, funding being made available to provide training in inclusion for these and other early years practitioners, and a small increase in capitation for ECCE settings who meet certain criteria to incentivise fully inclusive practice.
Level 2: Information for Parents and Providers: This level recognises the requirement of parents and providers to have clear, consistent and up to date information accessible to them regarding ECCE services and supports. Recommendations include the development of a national website which is linked from all relevant children’s services and the development of information packs which can be provided at local level.
Level 3: A Qualified and Confident Workforce: This level recognises the requirement to continue to develop a qualified workforce that can confidently meet the needs of all children wishing to participate in the ECCE Programme. It supports the recommendation from the Interdepartmental Group (IDG) on Future Investment in Early Years and School Aged (Including After-School and Out-of-School) Care and Education to continue to raise the minimum qualification for employment in the sector. It also seeks dedicated funding for formal and informal training and a structure to be put in place to ensure same.
Level 4: Expert Educational Advice and Support: This level addresses the needs of early years practitioners across the country to have timely access to advice and support from experts in early years education (and disability in particular) to assist them meet each child’s needs. It recommends an enhancement of the Better Start Early Years Specialist Service (EYSS) that was established in 2014.
Level 5: Equipment, Appliances and Minor Alterations Capital Grant: This level recognises that some children require specialised equipment, appliances, assistive technology and/or that some ECCE settings may require minor structural alterations to ensure children with a disability can participate in the ECCE Programme. It recommends the provision of annual funding, the establishment of a grant and an application process to access these supports.
Level 6: Therapeutic Intervention: This level provides for access to therapeutic services where they are critical to enable the child be enrolled, and fully participate, in the ECCE Programme. It recommends further enhancement of HSE Therapy Services to enable priority be given to this important aspect of early intervention.
Level 7: Additional Assistance in the Pre-School Room: This level recognises that a small number of children (approximately 1.0% – 1.5% of those availing of the ECCE Programme) will require more support than is available through Levels 1 – 6. The IDG recommends the provision of additional capitation to providers where an application process has demonstrated that supports for Levels 1 – 6 have not, or will not, by themselves, meet the child’s needs. The additional capitation will be agreed with the provider and parent. It can be used by the provider to buy in additional support, to reduce the staff/child ratio, or for other specified purposes, all centred on supporting the pre-school leader to ensure the child’s optimal participation.
To find out more information on the ECCE Programme or the Access and Inclusion Model contact DCCC or your Early Childhood Service where you would like your child to attend the the ECCE programme.
Click on the image for a close up on the 7 Steps Model.