Donegal County Childcare have undertaken a review of the impact of government supports for children with special needs in the county.

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) was launched last year by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone and has delivered real benefits across County Donegal.

Hundreds of children now attend pre-school services which are more inclusive and in tune with individual needs. 255 Donegal children have received supports including specialised equipment to support learning and development, therapeutic intervention and additional assistance in the pre-school room.

To promote the supports available to parents in Donegal, DCCC embarked on a comprehensive communications campaign last year. This included information sessions throughout the county and the development of a specific AIM section on the DCCC website.

DCCC also have a dedicated member of staff who provides telephone or email supports from the Letterkenny Office around AIM.

There is also an in-house library where educators can borrow recommended study and practice books free of charge.

Continuing professional development sessions on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion were provided to 55 early childhood educators and training for a further 60 educators is planned by the end of 2017.

In addition, 63 early childhood educators have just completed the LINC (Leadership for Inclusion in Early Years) Programme which will enable them to become specialised Inclusion Coordinators in their early childhood service. An additional 21 educators are enrolled for the September 2017 roll out.

Avril McMonagle, Manager of DCCC is “delighted with the response to the new initiative which is a long overdue development for children with additional needs in Donegal”.

DCCC’s latest communication tool for parents prior to children starting pre-school in September is a motion animation. This animation (above) explains the seven levels of progressive support involved in the AIM model, which move from the universal (1-3) to the targeted (more complex supports, 4-7), based on the individual needs of the child and the pre-school provider.

If you require any further information please check out or contact DCCC on 07491-23442.

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