Dáil Éireann - Volume 643 - 11 December, 2007
Written Answers. - Psychological Service.
Deputy John O’Mahony Deputy John O’Mahony
Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of people currently waiting for assessments by the school psychological services in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33852/07]
Deputy Mary Hanafin Deputy Mary Hanafin
Deputy Mary Hanafin: I can inform the Deputy that all primary and post primary schools have access to psychological assessments either directly through my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) or through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA) that is administered by NEPS and full details of which are available on my Department’s website.
NEPS does not keep waiting lists for assessments of children but in common with other psychological services encourages a staged assessment process, whereby each school takes responsibility for initial assessment, educational  planning and remedial intervention, in consultation with their assigned NEPS psychologist. Only if there is a failure to make reasonable progress in spite of the school’s best efforts, will a child be referred for individual psychological assessment. This system allows the psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually.
The introduction of the General Allocation model for primary schools in 2005/06 means that children with high incidence special needs no longer have to wait for an individual assessment before they can get access to extra support. Children who manifest very special or urgent needs in school and who have not been previously assessed by a psychologist and are brought to the attention of a NEPS psychologist by the Principal teacher will usually be assessed by the psychologist within that school term. Normally, principals of schools prioritise those children in need of psychological assessment in consultation with the assigned psychologist.
Schools that do not currently have NEPS psychologists assigned to them may avail of the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA) under which the school can have an assessment carried out by a member of the panel of private psychologists approved by NEPS and NEPS will pay the psychologist the fees for this assessment directly. The prioritisation of urgent cases for assessment is a matter for the principal of the school in the first instance.
Dáil Éireann 643 Written Answers. Psychological Service.