Specialised Therapists approved for 70 local schools and pre-schools Tallaght, Rathfarnham, Clondalkin and Lucan.

Children, parents and teachers in 70 schools and pre-schools throughout West and South West Dublin are to benefit from improved access to therapists. Minister Zappone confirmed that children in the Belgard HSE Area are to be the first in the country to have access to in-school and pre-school  therapy services as part of a €2.25m investment by Government.

Tallaght, Rathfarnham, Clondalkin and Lucan are among the areas which will be targeted.

Minister Zappone confirmed that 19 speech and language therapists, 12  occupational therapists and 2 national co-ordinators will begin working in  the classroom environment.

Phase one of the project will focus on:
·       Early intervention and tailored supports.
·       Bringing specialised therapists into schools and pre-schools to provide tailored support to children.
·       Collaboration and greater linkages between therapists, parents, teachers and other school and pre-school staff.
·       Developing greater linkages between educational and therapy supports.
·       Providing professional training and guidance for school and pre-school staff and parents in supporting children’s therapy and developmental needs.
·       Maximising the participation of parents in their children’s communication development.

Making the announcement Minister Zappone added: “When it comes to therapy the earlier the intervention the better – and  this new in-school and preschool approach is ground-breaking. Therapists  will be working with children from childcare all the way to leaving  certificate. I have worked closely with my colleagues the Minister for Education,  Richard Bruton and the Minister for Health, Simon Harris to deliver this  new approach for our communities first. We have been selected along with West Wicklow and parts of Kildare so that  the Government can look at the impact on the ground in both rural and  urban communities. It is my hope that the pilot project will be a success and a model which  can be implemented right across the country. We will be working during the summer to ensure that the therapists are in  post and supporting children and families as soon as possible.”