Assessments identify the full range of your child’s health and educational needs and are a start for planning the future. The first step is to call your local HSE office to request an assessment and the likely timeframe.
Families can find themselves accessing previously unknown public service systems like the health system, the educational system and the social system at this time.
Visits to doctors, clinics, hospitals, speech therapists, schools, psychologists and other services can become routine. For parents, this is a daunting time and it helps to understand what an initial assessment of need involves.
Many parents say they feel overwhelmed when dealing with professionals from different fields. Researching the issues however increases your confidence that you and your child are selecting the best services for your needs.
Sound Advice’s Facebook page will link to you to families who have travelled the path and can answer your questions.
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Once your child is assessed by a local health office or private service provider, you will have:
- an assessment report related to their hearing and / or other issues
- a better picture of their health and educational needs
- a statement of the support services they will receive
Make sure you are satisfied with your child’s assessment and the support services offered.
Ask questions if any issues are not fully understood at the time. Then you can start making informed decisions about your child’s future. Plenty of detail is on this site, to guide you in this process.
Assessing your child’s needs
Family Entitlements under the Disability Act 2005
The first step is knowing your entitlements when it comes to getting your child assessed.
On June 1 2007, Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005 became law for children under 5 years of age. Under Part 2 of this Act, children with disability have a right to:
- an independent assessment of their health and educational needs arising from their condition
- 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
Further details of assessments can be found at the HSE website.
Some of the staff working with your child when hearing issues are detected
In the hospital setting, staff refer children to the Audiologist (the hearing scientist) to test for hearing issues.
- Audiological Scientist
The audiological scientist has a Masters in Audiology and specialises in diagnosis for babies and children.
- ENT Consultants
Specialists in Ear, Nose and Throat issues, these IMC-registered doctors work at hospital out-patient clinics.
This person (usually a nurse) distracts an infant’s attention during tests for the audiologist to work effectively.
- Public Health Staff
The area medical officer and nurse run child development and hearing tests on infants, with referral pathways.
- Visiting Teacher
Employed by the Department of Education, these teachers support children and educators to third level stage.
- Counsellor for Special Needs
The counsellor directs families to specific supports, or to other services for children to develop their potential.
- Speech and Language Therapist
The SLT delivers speech and language development for children with moderate to profound hearing issues.