About the Early Intervention Team and School Age Disability Team

The Early Intervention and School Age Disability Teams

We are a team of professionals who offer a range of services to children between the ages of 0-18 years who have complex developmental needs.

We are made up of two teams

Early Intervention Team for Children aged 0-5 years

Who are we?

The Early Intervention Team is for children, aged 0-5 years, and their families who have complex developmental needs. The team comprises of an Occupational Therapist (OT), Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Social Worker and Speech and Language Therapist (SLT).

Where are we?

We are based in Summerhill Primary Care Centre, 46 - 65 Summerhill, Dublin 1.

Telephone Contact Details

Our contact number is 01 9211 658

Which children and families might benefit from our service?

We work with children aged 5-18 years, with identified developmental delays/disabilities, who are experiencing difficulty in their ability to function successfully across a variety of environments.

This might include difficulties in the following areas:

  •  communication
  •  speech and language
  •  motor skills
  •  self-care and independence
  •  learning
  •  social interaction and play or managing feelings.

Some of the children referred have a diagnosis already.

Telephone Contact Details

Our contact number is 01 9211 658

We work with children attending mainstream school for whom areas of concern extend beyond issues of a purely academic nature. Children who are eligible for specialist or mental health service are not suitable for referral. Currently, referrals are accepted for children live in the Dublin North Central Local Health Office area. Queries regarding the appropriateness of referrals are welcome and appreciated

School Age Team for Children aged 5 to 18 years

Who are we?

The School Age Team is for those aged 5 to 18 years and their families. The team comprises of a Psychologist, Occupational Therapist (OT), Physiotherapy, Social Worker and Speech and Language Therapist (SLT).

Where are we?

Our office is based in Summerhill Primary Care Centre, 46 - 65 Summerhill, Dublin 1.

Which children and families might benefit from our service?

We work with children aged 5 to 18 years, with identified developmental delays/disabilities, who are experiencing difficulty in their ability to function successfully across a variety of environments. This might include difficulties in at least two of the following areas: communication, speech and language; motor skills; learning new tasks, independence and self-care, social interaction and managing feelings.

We work with children attending mainstream school for whom areas of concern extend beyond issues of a purely academic nature. Children who are eligible for specialist or mental health service are not suitable for referral. Currently, referrals are accepted for children live in the Dublin North Central Local Health Office area. Queries regarding the appropriateness of referrals are welcome and appreciated.

The Assessment and Intervention Team Roles

Psychologist

The clinical or educational psychologist works with other members of the team to assess and understand your child’s unique strengths and abilities. The psychologist will work with you and the team to identify how you can support your child to reach his or her potential and to experience success at home, school and in the community.

The psychologist often helps with the following:

  •  learning, thinking and problem-solving
  •  skills for independence, for example - toileting, feeding, sleeping
  •  play skills
  •  social skills

The assessment usually happens in the following way:

  •  Talking to you about your child’s strengths and needs. You may be asked to fill out some forms and questionnaires.
  •  Talking to your child’s teachers about his/her strengths and needs; the teacher may be asked to fill out some forms and questionnaires.
  •  Observing your child at home, at school and in the clinic.
  •  Playing with and talking to your child.
  •  Using formal tests of ability with your child - your child will be asked to play with blocks, puzzles, toys and to look at pictures.

The psychologist may:

  •  work with your family to encourage positive adaptive behaviour and social-emotional skills
  •  provide parent and staff training
  •  support to explore the impact of your child’s special needs on the family as a whole and help siblings to understand more about their brother or sister’s special needs
  •  advise and support your child’s pre-school and school teachers In combination with the supports available in the education system
  •  support you when you are making a decision about starting your child in pre-school, primary and secondary school.

The psychologist will explore the various types of educational options available and offer a formal evaluation of your child’s abilities and needs.

Speech and Language Therapist

The Speech and Language Therapist aims to improve your child’s communication skills. Communication involves getting a message across to another person. 

It includes the ability to understand and use words, say words clearly, and use body language and actions e.g. pointing and eye contact

The Speech and Language Therapist will help with the following areas:

  •  Assess your child’s communication skills to develop an understanding of your child’s strengths and needs.
  •  Play while supporting communication and social interaction.
  •  Early communication skills e.g. promoting eye contact turn-taking and listening.
  •  Understanding of words and sentences.
  •  Using words and sentences.
  •  Using gestures and actions including signs, picture systems and computerised aids.
  •  Oro motor skills – exercises for developing movements of lips, tongue.
  •  Speech skills – pronunciation of sounds in words.

The Speech and Language Therapist can:

  •  work with you and your child to help meet their communication needs - the therapist will do this by playing with your child and training you on how to help your child’s development of communication, may take place individually or in groups
  •  advice and support your child’s pre-school and school teachers.

Occupational Therapist

The Occupational Therapist will be working with you in helping your child gain important skills needed to support their independence in meaningful activities relevant to their daily life and give support around sensory processing.

This can include activities in the areas of school, self-care, play and leisure.

 The Occupational Therapist often helps with the following:

  •  Fine motor – such as pencil grasp, handwriting and cutting skills, manipulating small items, buttoning a button on a shirt, etc.
  •  Coordination – using both hands and both sides of the body together to perform a task – such as tying shoelaces, throwing/catching a ball, skipping, jumping, running.
  •  Self-care – such as toileting, dressing, grooming, and feeding.
  •  Visual perception – organizing visual information from the environment in order to perform a task – such as putting a jigsaw together, copying from a blackboard etc.
  •  Sensory processing – responding appropriately to different sensory experiences such as touch, taste, sound and movement.

The occupational therapist may offer:

  •  individual OT treatment sessions or treatment in a group with other children
  •  multidisciplinary treatment sessions with another therapist
  •  home/school programmes - exercises and activities to be carried out regularly at school and/or at home.
  •  techniques vary, but the emphasis is on learning through enjoyable activities which also motivate your child.
  •  our aim is to make your child as independent as possible in the skills he/she needs for everyday life.

Physiotherapist

The Physiotherapist is concerned with movement, balance, coordination, posture and gait. Our goal is to ensure optimal physical function and development of each individual child.

This is carried out through assessment, intervention and management of the child.

The Physiotherapist often helps with the following:

  •  Facilitating normal developmental activities.
  •  Positioning.
  •  Strengthening of the muscles.
  •  Stretching of the muscles.
  •  Balance and coordination exercises.
  •  Home/school exercise programmes for parents/teachers to carry out with the child.

Physiotherapists may provide the following:

  •  Equipment to assist with positioning during exercises e.g. gym balls, steps, benches.
  •  Aids and appliances such as corrective shoes and orthotics.
  •  Play equipment. 

Social Worker

The main role of the social worker is to offer support to you and your child when you have been accepted onto the team.

The Social Worker often helps with the following:

  •  Information about the assessment and intervention service and who might be working with your child.
  •  Practical and emotional support to you and your family in relation to any worries or concerns you might have about your child.
  •  The social worker can be available to you if you would like support before and during your child’s Individual Family Service Plan.
  •  Information and advice about your benefits and entitlements.
  •  Information about other services in the area that might be useful for you and your child.
  •  Parent support groups
  •  Liaising with other services your child may be involved with