The progression of early intervention disability services in Ireland
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Carroll, C,Murphy, G,Sixsmith, J (2013) 'The Progression of Early Intervention Disability Services in Ireland'. Infants And Young Children, 26 :17-27.
The Republic of Ireland is an island situated in north-west Europe inhabited by 4.6 million people, with 2.8% between 0 and 4 years of age with a disability (Central Statistics Office, 2012). The Irish Government funds the Irish health services, which, in turn, directly and indirectly funds disability services. Education and Disability legislation have developed in parallel, with an apparent increasing congruence with both moving toward a rights-based approach. Today, early intervention disability services are delivered by both statutory and nongovernmental agencies with wide variation and no national consistency in service provision. Some components of the Developmental Systems Approach can be discerned in Irish service provision, and these include screening, access, comprehensive interdisciplinary assessment, and early childhood programs. However, assessment of families, development and implementation, monitoring and outcome evaluation, and transition planning are not as identifiable. Guided by legislation and organizational restructuring, early intervention provision in Ireland is in a state of flux with an emphasis on developing national uniformity of family-centered early intervention services.