Education – The Pre-School Years

Most children with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus will qualify for early intervention services. These services are available for infants and toddlers ages birth to five years old.

They look at five areas of your children's development: physical development; cognitive development; communication; social or emotional development; and adaptive development. If your child is having problems in any of these areas, he or she may receive services designed to help them reach their full potential.

Pre-school children do not have a specific right to education. However, they are entitled to certain health services which are related to education. The Health Service Executive is responsible for providing psychological services and speech and language therapy services for pre-school children with disabilities who are assessed as needing these services. Assessments of children under the age of 5 are carried out under the assessment of need provisions of the Disability Act 2005.

Support services are provided and which service you are referred to is dependent on which facilities are available in your county. Usually services will fall into one of the following providers:

Early Intervention Team

The Early Intervention Team is set up through the HSE and is a support service for young children aged 0-6 with childhood development delay and disabilities. The Early Intervention Team work in partnership with parents to provide a service that meets the needs of your child.

The team will screen, assess and identify the needs of your child, together with parents and develop a plan of action for providing services. Services will be provided based on available resources.

Referrals can be made through your Paediatrician, GP’s, Publix Health Nurse, SBHI Family Support Workers or parents can also contact the Early Intervention Team directly. Contact your local HSE to see if there is an Early Intervention Team in your county. For further information visit

Enable Ireland

Enable Ireland provides free services to over 3,700 children with disabilities and their families from 15 locations and in local communities countrywide.

Service provisions in Enable Ireland vary from county to county but are usually serviced by a team which includes: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, social work, clinical psychology, paediatrician, early education and childcare. More information on services in specific areas by visiting

Enable Ireland adopts an interdisciplinary team approach to working with children with a physical disability. Individual Family Service Plans, where both team and family work in partnership to set goals and make decisions is an integral part of the service provision. The team currently consists of Occupation Therapist, Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Therapist, Social Worker and Administration.

Primary, Community and Continuing Care (PCCC)

Children with disabilities are entitled to avail of the range of community care services. In many cases, they have priority in access to the services. The relevant community care services are:

• Public Health Nurses • Home Helps • Psychological Services • Speech and Language Therapy • Occupational Therapy • Social Work Services • Physiotherapy

This service is provided by the HSE in your local community. For further information visit

Central Remedial Clinic (CRC)

The Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) provides a range of specialised services for children and adults with physical disabilities. Its facilities and services are available to people from all over Ireland.

We specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children and adults with a wide range of physical conditions. Services include:

• Physiotherapy • Occupational Therapy • Seating and Mobility • Gait Analysis at the Gait Lab • Speech and Language Therapy • Nutrition and Dietetics • Nursing • Educational Technology • Social Work • Psychology

For further information on services in your community visit

Under 5’s Assessment of Need

An independent assessment of need is an assessment of the full range of your child's needs associated with their disability. When the assessment is complete, a HSE Liaison Officer will prepare a service statement for you. The service statement will say what services and supports will be provided to your child and will be prepared within 1 month of the assessment being completed. You will receive your child's assessment report and service statement at the same time. For further details click here

What is a Multidisciplinary Team?

A Multidisciplinary Team is a group of professionals from diverse disciplines who work together, usually on an ongoing basis. Professionals often use the word 'discipline' to mean a 'field of study,' such as medicine, social work, or education. A Multidisciplinary Team could consist of GP’s, Consultants, Social Workers, Physiotherapists, Clinic Nurse Specialists, Occupational Therapists, SBHI Family Support Worker, Parents/Guardians/Carers, Teachers and any other professional who may be working with your child such as a Special Needs Assistant. The team works together to find the best solution to your child’s social, emotional and physical needs.