Assessing your child's disability

Assessing your child's disability

If your child has a disability or you think they may have a disability you can apply for an 'Assessment of Need'. The assessment will identify your child's health needs. The assessment will also identify what services are required to meet your child's needs.

Your child must be born after 1 June 2002 in order to be assessed.

An application can be made by a parent, legal guardian or personal advocate. From the1st June 2018 a young person aged over 16 years can apply for an Assessment of Need.  Information on advocacy for people with disabilities can be found on the National Advocacy Service Website.

A team will assess your child and identify their health needs. This assessment is a preliminary assessment.  It is not a diagnostic assessment.  After this, you will receive an assessment report. The assessment will provide you with information on health needs of your child. You will also receive a list of services your child will receive. If you are unhappy with the assessment you can have your case reviewed by contacting the Disability Act Complaints Officer.

Applying for an Assessment of Need

To apply for an assessment, contact your local Assessment Officer. You can also download the Assessment of Need application form and post this to your local Assessment Officer.

After you send in your application you will receive a letter confirming receipt within two weeks. Your Assessment Officer will contact you for more information about your child. They will look for information that will help to show the nature and level of difficulty experienced by your child. A team will start your child's assessment within 3 months of sending in your application. In some cases, there may be a delay for clinical reasons or due to illness or bereavement.  The Assessment Officer will contact you to discuss any delay in the process.

After the assessment begins there will be a further 3 months to complete the Assessment Report.

The assessment of need is undertaken in line with the same standards across the country. A copy of these standards can be obtained from your Assessment Officer.

Service Statement

The Assessment Officer will provide the Assessment Report. If your child is deemed to have a disability, this is sent to your 'Liaison Officer'.

The Liaison Officer will prepare a Service Statement for you. You will receive the Service Statement within 1 month of the completed assessment. The Service Statement will list health services and supports that will be provided to your child. You will receive your child's Assessment Report and Service Statement at the same time.

Special complaints and appeals procedure are available if you are unhappy with your child's Assessment of Needs or service statement. You can use this process if:

  • the Assessment Officer decides that your child does not meet the definition of disability and you disagree
  • your child's assessment was not started or completed within the time-frames specified. Your child's assessment must be started as soon as possible but no later than three months from the date of receipt of your completed application form. Once started, it must be completed within a further three months from the date of commencement.
  • you believe that your child’s assessment was not carried out in line with the standards for assessment
  • you believe that the content of your child's Service Statement is inaccurate or incorrect.
  • your child has not received a service that is detailed in his or her Service Statement.

You can make a complaint at within 3 months of the date on which you became aware of the cause of the complaint.

Complaints procedure

If your complaint is about the assessment process, please contact the Assessment Officer. If the complaint is about the Service Statement, please contact the Liaison Officer. They should be your first point of contact to seek a resolution.

If you are still not happy and wish to escalate your complaint you can contact the Disability Complaints Officer. You can ask the Assessment Officer or Liaison Officer for a form to complete. This form also lists the grounds on which you can make a complaint. The form, when completed, needs to be returned to the Complaints Officer. The Complaints Officer is an independent body. This means that the Complaints Officer will look at your complaint objectively and fairly.

You can also contact the Complaints Officer directly on Tel: 045-880400.

What if I am unhappy with the outcome of my complaint?

If you are unhappy with the findings and recommendations of the Complaints Officer you can appeal to the Disability Appeals Officer. If the HSE has not acted on the recommendations of the Complaints Officer, you can appeal to the Disability Appeals Officer or you can go to the Circuit Court to seek an enforcement order.  An information leaflet and an application form for this appeals process will always be included in the Complaints Officer’s final report.

The Disability Appeals Officer is independent and is appointed by the Minister for Health. The Appeals Officer is not part of the HSE. For more information about making an appeal, contact the Disability Appeals Office on LoCall 1850 211 583 or at www.odao.ie

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