In common with other European countries the Republic of Ireland has adopted a policy of promoting inclusive education to enable all children with special educational needs (SEN) to access education alongside their peers. An essential strategy for supporting this policy has been the introduction of an early assessment and diagnostic procedure which aims to ensure that children receive appropriate support and resources on entering formal education. This paper reports the perceptions of parents of children with SEN in relation to the effectiveness of this procedure. Interviews were conducted with parents of children in the early years of education, and additional data collated from focus groups with professionals involved in the assessment process. The findings of the research suggest that whilst a comprehensive policy has been adopted, there remains much to be done to ensure that the intention to provide timely assessment and adequate resources is achieved.
- early years
- special educational needs