Early Intervention and School Age  Teams in the Mid West are committed to working in partnership with families of children with disabilities/developmental delay to minimise the impact of disability and maximise opportunities for growth and development.

Teams deliver services to children through an interdisciplinary model which supports families, schools and other services in meeting the needs of the child.

“An interdisciplinary team is a [group] of professionals from different disciplines who work with the child and family, sharing information, decision-making and goal-setting. They have common procedures and policies and frequent opportunities for communication. They work collaboratively to meet the identified needs of the child with a joint service plan, and see the child separately or together as appropriate.” (HSE, 2009)

Further details of the Service Model for School Age Teams is available here

Assessment:

The teams offer assessments for children, with actual or potential developmental difficulties, to determine the nature and extent of a child’s difficulties.  Referrals for assessment can be made by health professionals in Primary Care or in Specialist Services or through the Assessment of Need Process. Details of the geographical area served by each Early Intervention Team are available here, while the list of primary and post primary schools served by each School Age Team is available here.

Intervention:

Depending on the findings of the assessment, intervention may be offered from within the Team or by referral to other services as appropriate in response to the child’s needs.

Early Intervention for very young children is primarily focused on supporting the child’s family in enabling the child to reach his/her potential.

When a child with a disability starts school the focus of the interdisciplinary team changes to reflect the child’s new environment.  In general, the level of direct contact with a school age child is likely to be less than when the child is younger.  Intervention from the School Age Team is mainly provided in the school and team members provide advice and support to school personnel as well as parents and carers.  The team contributes to an Individual Educational Plan for the child when requested to do so.

Overall, teams aim to support children, families and schools through a combination of:

  • Ongoing assessment of the growing child’s changing needs

  • Facilitating families in identifying existing strengths, resources and family and community support networks

  • Individual or group intervention in clinic, school or home.

  • Individually tailored home or school programmes and training in use of these for parents, carers, teachers and classroom assistants.

  • Provision of training, advice and support for parents and carers, and for other health and educational professionals.

  • Referral to and liaison with other service providers, e.g. seating and postural management clinics, gait analysis laboratory etc.

  • Support for the family in identifying and accessing potential resources such as housing, entitlements, educational supports and respite and home support services as appropriate.

  • Assessment for and provision of adaptive equipment.

  • Support at key ‘transition’ stages of children’s lives – such as moves between home, childcare, preschool and school.