If your child has special educational needs resulting from hearing difficulties or visual impairment, you can access the Visiting Teacher Service of the Department of Education and Skills from the time your child is two years old. This service provides teaching and support to parents and schools. The visiting teacher will travel to meet you and your child, and other professionals who are involved with your child.
If your child is visually impaired, you may refer them to the Visiting Teacher Service yourselves as parents, or they may be referred through an eye clinic or the National Council for the Blind. If your child is deaf or hard of hearing, they may be referred through the HSE’s audiology services, through hospital services or the Cochlear Implant Unit at Beaumont Hospital. Your child can also be referred by their school or the HSE area in which they live.
Each visiting teacher is responsible for a particular region and is allocated a caseload of pupils. The visiting teacher will continue to provide guidance and support for your child throughout their education, up to and including third level. Assistive technology is an example of the supports that the visiting teacher can provide, where necessary.
If your child is left with side effects from cancer or cancer treatment, they may be exempt from part of some exams in Junior and Leaving Certificate subjects. For example, if your child has a hearing impairment, they may be exempt from the aural component of an exam. Your child may be able to avail of special arrangements, known as reasonable accommodation, when sitting exams. These can include extra rest breaks, large-print exam papers and the services of a reader or a scribe.
Generally you apply for waivers and reasonable accommodations through your school or education provider. External candidates apply directly to the State Examinations Commission.