Following a High Court ruling any child born after June 1st 2002 is eligible to apply for an assessment under the Disability Act 2005 regardless of their age at the time of application. This assessment is called Assessment of Need.
Children who qualify for an assessment of need under the Act have a right to:
- an assessment of their health and education needs arising from their disability;
- an Assessment Report;
- a statement of the services they will receive;
- make a complaint if they are not happy with any part of the process.
The AON documentation (application forms/leaflets) were subsequently changed to reflect that. There are some points to bear in mind though regarding specific types of assessments:
- It is a matter for clinicians, based on their experience and qualifications, to decide how best to evaluate the needs at the time of the child being assessed. The Act does not give the right to a specific assessment at a particular point in time.
- The Disability Act does not give a right to access to a diagnosis unless it is required at that time to identify the health needs occasioned by the disability.
There is also a protocol regarding accessing psychological assessments once a child is attending mainstream school i.e., formal cognitive assessments must be accessed through NEPS (National Educational Psychological Service) except in the case where there are significant emotional and behavioural difficulties presenting across settings.
For more information see https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/4/disability/Disability_Assessment/