Expansion of AIM scheme for children with disabilities to be welcomed
The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, has welcomed the expansion of the Access Inclusion Model (AIM) which supports children with disabilities in childcare, saying it is evidence that a child-centred approach, can and does, work.
“I am very encouraged by the announcement that the AIM scheme, which supports children with disabilities at pre-school, is to be expanded. Since its introduction in June, this scheme appears to have had a very positive start, indicating that tailored, practical supports based on need are what children with disabilities really need.
“Since our investigation into access to pre-school for children with disabilities in 2013, we have been calling for supports for children with disabilities that are responsive to needs and not based on formal diagnosis. The AIM scheme marks an important step.
“While the AIM scheme has already made a big difference to many children and their families, there are still major gaps and inconsistencies in the provision of services for children with disabilities in other areas.
“I am particularly concerned about the delay in advancing Progressing Disabilities Services for Children and Young People, a strategy which has wide reaching implications for children with disabilities in Ireland.
“The aim of Progressing Disabilities Services for Children and Young People is to provide one clear pathway to services for all children with disabilities according to need, and teams should be in place to work in partnership with parents.
“At present there are 56 teams in place with 81 still to be established. The Minister with responsibility for Disability, Finian McGrath, has assured me that making progress in this area will be a priority for 2017, however a concerted effort and sufficient resources are needed across Government to make this happen.
“Effective inter-departmental communication and action has been key to the success of the AIM scheme so far. A similar spirit of cooperation and determination is needed to advance Progressing Disabilities for Children and Young People. We should not make these children wait.”
Ombudsman for Children’s Office
01 865 6800