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Important information for parents of
pre-school children with a disability.

Early Childhood Care and Education and the Access and Inclusion Model

Posted: 28th June 2016

Early Childhood Care and Education and the Access and Inclusion Model 2016.


In June 2016 the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone T.D. launched the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), which is designed to ensure children with disabilities are supported within the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) preschool programme.

This follows the publication of an Inter–Departmental Group Report in November 2015 on Supporting Access to ECCE Programme for Children with a Disability. The report set out a clear vision for children with disabilities to be able to access and meaningfully participate in the ECCE Programme in mainstream pre-school settings. “This is an important step to break–down barriers preventing children with disabilities from taking part in the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme,” the Minister said.

AIM has 7 levels of support. Levels 1–3 are universal, and are comprised of an inclusive culture (Level 1); information for parents and providers (Level 2); and a qualified and confident workforce (Level 3). Levels 4–7 involve targeted supports whereby a pre–school, in partnership with parents and guardians, considers that additional support may be necessary to meet the needs of a particular child. In these circumstances an application can be made for one or more of the following supports:

Level 4: Expert Early Years Educational Advice and Support: A team of 50 specialists in early years care and education are available to provide expert advice, mentoring and support to service providers.

Level 5: Equipment, Appliances and Minor Alterations Grants: a scheme is available to provide grants if necessary to support a child’s participation in an ECCE programme.

Level 6: Therapeutic Interventions: where therapy services are critical to a child’s participation they will be avilable through the AIM  and will be provided by the HSE.

Level 7: Additional Assistance in the Pre–School Room: where supports under Levels 1–6 are not sufficient to meet the needs of a child, service providers can, in partnership with parents/guardians, can apply for additional capitation to fund extra support in the classroom.

How do I access AIM supports for my child?

Service providers and parents/guardians can now submit applications for AIM supports to allow them to plan ahead for enrolment in September. While applications can be mnade at any stage of the school year, in the case of children with complex needs, service providers and parents are encouraged to make applications as early as possible.

Advice and support to apply for targeted supports are available by phone at 01–511 7222; email , or through the AIM aplication form at

Further information on the AIM, go to the dedicated webpages for parents at: contact your local DeafHear Resource Centre.


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