Should I get Assessment ofNeed for my young son
MY 3-year-old son has been diagnosed with a severe speech disorder. The therapist recommended that I apply for an Assessment of Need, for him, to explore other possible delays. He struggles to communicate in
ITHINK you should, very definitely, pursue an Assessment of Need (AoN). I also think you should seek this AoN from the HSE. This is not because a private assessment won’t suffice, but depending on where you live, it is unlikely that a private AoN will be as comprehensive, or as integrated with the services then available to your son.
An Assessment of Need is provided for, under the Disability Act 2005, to allow any parent of a child under five, the opportunity to get an assessment of the full range of your child’s needs associated with whatever you perceive to be his or her disability.
Your Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) has already determined that your son has a severe speech disorder. She, it seems, feels that this may be only a part of a broader developmental difficulty that your son may have.
She may be correct in her view, or it may be that your son’s difficulties are restricted to his language development. Either way, a more comprehensive assessment will give you a clearer picture. preschool and has started to bite his nails and screech out during storytime. He also invades other children’s space and hit one child. At home his behaviour is really challenging, and he can have huge tantrums, hit and kick. What are your thoughts on this Assessment of Need idea? Should I go privately or wait for the HSE?
The process for applying is via the AoN officer for your HSE area. When you make an application the AoN officer must let you know whether the application for assessment is accepted, or the grounds upon which it is being rejected.
In your case, I think it is highly likely that the AoN will be approved. The AoN officer should be able to give you a date for when the assessment will commence and this should be within three months of the date of acceptance.
The practitioners then have a further three months within which they must carry out the assessment and determine your son’s needs. After this, you will receive an assessment report detailing what they perceive to be your child’s needs and the services that your son and family will require to meet these needs.
It is incredibly hard to think about our children having disabilities of some kind. Sometimes we might be tempted to stick our heads in the sand, so to speak, and just hope that things will improve, or that their development will pick up pace.
However, where children do have, or are likely to have, developmental delays, we are best to find out exactly what they are so that we can target intervention as soon as possible. Early intervention does give children the best opportunity.
Your decision to get a speech and language assessment was the first step in trying to understand your son’s needs. The more comprehensive AoN is simply the next step.
Any child with a communication difficulty can struggle socially, as they may not be able to communicate to others or, fully grasp what others are communicating to them. Frequently this leads to massive frustration for children and parents alike.
It may be that the challenging behaviour, that has been obvious at home and is beginning to show itself more in his preschool, may be linked to the communication difficulty he has. Or it may be that he has other difficulties too that are impacting on how he copes in your family and in other settings.
So, don’t delay in applying for the AoN and do follow it up with the HSE. While there will be a wait, no doubt, it is much more likely that any recommendations arising out of the assessment will be integrated with the services that are available locally.
In the meantime, patience and warmth from yourselves and the preschool leaders, as well as continued input with the SLT, is the best approach while you await that assessment and the expanded information it might provide.