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Access and Inclusion Model

The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) ensures all children, regardless of disability can fully take part in mainstream pre-school. AIM helps pre-schools create an inclusive environment and provides supports to children to meaningfully participate in ECCE, the state funded two year pre-school programme.

AIM provides universal and targeted supports, which focus on the needs of the individual child. AIM is a Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEIDY) initiative, administered by Pobal and Better Start AIM.

How will AIM help my child?

Your child and your child’s pre-school can avail of universal and targeted supports from AIM. Some children may need more targeted supports to participate in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme.

For more information: Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)

For more information: AIM Inclusive Play

What is the role of the AIM Early Years Specialist in my child’s pre-school?

The role of the AIM Early Years Specialist under Level 4 of AIM (Early Years Educational Advice and Support) is to work with parents and pre-school providers to develop an inclusive learning environment for your child. They offer coaching and mentoring which focuses on your child’s strengths through reflection on practice. They use the national frameworks of Síolta and Aistear to develop specific goals and an Access and Inclusion Plan to support your child in the pre-school.

For more information: National Frameworks

How do I apply for AIM educational advice and mentoring for my child?

Applying for AIM educational advice and mentoring is very simple. If you think your child will need support in pre-school, speak to your child’s pre-school provider. Applications for targeted supports are made by the pre-school provider in collaboration with the parent. Most pre-school providers should be familiar with the AIM application process and be able to guide you through the application. It is important to read the application form and complete the consent when starting the application process in collaboration with the pre-school. Once all the information is complete, the pre-school will submit this application to Better Start through the Early Years on line portal ‘the HIVE’ on your behalf.

How long will it take to process the application for my child?

Once the completed application with correct consent has been submitted by your pre-school provider to Pobal, a Better Start AIM Early Years Specialist will review the application. The Better Start AIM Early Year Specialist will contact you and your pre-school to get more information and plan to complete an observation in the pre-school.

It can take between 4 to 12 weeks from the date of submission to when a decision is made about what supports your child will receive.

What happens after the application is submitted? 

The Better Start AIM Early Years Specialist will visit your child’s pre-school. The Early Years Specialist will complete an observation of your child using an Access and Inclusion Profile to identify their strengths and needs. They will help the pre-school practitioners to develop strategies for your child based on the observation. This will involve linking in with health professionals and other agencies.

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