Students entering First Year who require Learning Support should, ideally have had a psychological assessment carried out to determine their level of need while at Primary level. Having an assessment means access to learning support will not be delayed and can be put in place in the first term of First Year.
All students are expected to study Irish unless they have an official exemption from the Department of Education and Skills. This exemption is normally obtained through a psychological assessment.
If students have a psychological assessment they may qualify for either resource or learning support hours. Learning support and resource support may be received in different ways. This is dependent on a student’s daily timetable and if the student is exempt from Irish.
- Students may have one to one teaching support.
- Students may have a Special Needs Assistant.
- Students may have a second teacher in the classroom to support them, and others.
- Students may be withdrawn from class into a small group with one teacher.
- Some students may have a combination of these models of support.
Students who have not had a psychological assessment carried out but who are found, through specific testing to be in need of literacy and/or numercy support, will be given learning support where possible. We shall inform parents and will often advise them to seek a psychological assessment for their child.
Students meeting certain criteria in specific tests or having specific recommendations in their psychological assessments may get reasonable accommodation in state exams. They may be entitled to a spelling and grammar waiver, a scribe or the use of a tape recorder for answers in these exams. The final decision rests with the Department of Education. Accommodation granted at Junior Certificate is not guaranteed at Leaving Certificate.
Third level institutions require a ‘recent’ psychological assessment in order to meet the needs of students with specific learning disabilities. This is important to note as students may not be aware of this until they apply through the C.A.O. in sixth year. Waiting lists for private assessment may be several months long and so students are reminded of this while still fifth year.
At present there is a long waiting list for assessment through the school’s N.E.P.’s psychologist. Private assessments cost, on average, €500. Parents who suspect their child has any learning difficulties should consider having their child assessed privately where possible. It would make a significant difference to their child’s educational prospects.
You may contact the Special Needs Department in school should you wish to get the names of some psychologists who carry out private assessments.