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Access and Inclusion model (AIM) WWW>aim.gov.ie
The Better Start, Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a child centered model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme. Its goal is to empower service providers to deliver an inclusive pre-school experience, ensuring that every eligible child can fully participate in the ECCE programme and reap the benefits of quality early years care and education.
AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child and the service provider. For many children, the universal supports offered under the model will be sufficient. For others, one particular discrete support may be required to enable participation in pre-school, such as access to a piece of specialised equipment. For a small number, a suite of different services and supports may be necessary. In other words, the model is designed to be responsive to the needs of each individual child in the context of their pre-school setting. It will offer tailored, practical supports based on need and will not require a formal diagnosis of disability.
AIM supports are provided through the ECCE programme. The main supports are grouped into universal or targeted supports. Universal supports are designed to create a more inclusive culture in Early Learning and Care settings, through training courses and qualifications for staff. Where universal supports are not enough to meet the needs of an individual child, targeted supports are available to ensure the child can meaningfully participate in pre-school. In addition to targeted and universal supports, AIM also provides universal design guidelines for Early Learning and Care settings and AIM Inclusive Play resources. For further information please access https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/
AIM universal supports benefit the whole pre-school environment through empowering pre-school providers to create a more inclusive culture in their settings. This is achieved through; Continuous Professional Development (CPD), an inclusion charter and guidelines for pre-schools and a Level 6 qualification in Inclusion (LINC).For further information on LINC programme please access https://lincprogramme.ie/
Level 1 – Inclusion Coordinator Training (LINC)
The Leadership for Inclusion in Early Years Care (LINC) qualification is a level 6 special purpose award for early years educators hosted by the LINC Consortium which is led by Mary Immaculate College and fully funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Intergration and Youth (DCEDIY).
With this qualification, pre-school staff can become an Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) in a pre-school setting. The role of the Inclusion Co-ordinator is to provide leadership within the early years setting in relation to issues of diversity, equality and inclusion. This includes; supporting the implementation of inclusive practices, engaging with ongoing CPD to ensure good practice in the inclusion with additional needs and sharing their learning with other staff members,
Where a service provider is a fully qualified Inclusion Co-ordinator or employs a fully qualified Inclusion Co-ordinator in their pre-school setting, that provider will qualify for an increase of €2 per child per week in the rate of ECCE capitation payable. For further information please access https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/universal-supports/
Level 1 – EDI Training
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter was developed by DCEDIY to support and empower those working in the sector to explore, understand and develop inclusive practices for the benefit of children, their families and wider society. EDI training helps providers; understand the EDI charter and guidelines, create their own inclusion charter for their setting, develop an anti-bias approach in early years and more.
Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Charter and Guidelines for Early Childhood Care & Education
These courses are free of charge and available nationwide, more information about how to apply can be found via your local CCC, you can find your local CCC at myccc.ie.
Level 3 – Continuing Professional Development
AIM also supports settings by providing three Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses in the areas of disability and inclusion these are:
Hanen – Hanen Teacher Talk is a three day training course for providers, to help them enable young children to develop language and literacy skills.
Lámh – Lámh is a manual sign language system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs.
SPEL – SPEL stands for Sensory Processing E-Learning programme and helps providers support children with sensory processing difficulties.
Hanen, Lámh and SPEL are delivered by Better Start. SPEL is hosted on Better Start’s LMS (learning management system). for further information please access https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/universal-supports/
AIM targeted supports cater to a wide range of abilities and are focused on the needs of the child and do not need a diagnosis of disability. For many children, AIM universal supports will be sufficient to ensure inclusion. However, some children may require one or more further supports to ensure that they can participate meaningfully in the ECCE programme.
These might take the form of specialist advice and support, specialist equipment or appliances, minor building alterations, therapeutic intervention or, in a small number of cases, extra assistance in the pre-school room.
While AIM does not fund Special Needs Assistants (SNAs), in some cases funding may be provided either to reduce the child-to-adult ratio in the pre-school room or to fund an extra staff member as a shared resource with other children in the ECCE setting.
Level 4: Expert Educational Advice and Support
AIM level 4 is delivered by the Better Start Early Years Specialist Service (EYSS). Early Years Specialists work collaboratively with parents, pre-school providers, and with other professionals to develop inclusive learning environments in pre-schools. The EYSS also provides coaching and mentoring to the pre-school staff on supporting children in the ECCE programme.
For more information on the role of the EYSS in the application process visit the How to Apply section on this website. For further information please access https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/targeted-supports/
Level 5: Equipment, Appliances and Minor Alterations
Under level 5, AIM can provide specialised equipment, appliances or capital grants towards minor building alterations to ensure a child’s meaningful participation in pre-school. . For further information please access https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/targeted-supports/
Level 6: Therapy Services
AIM provides a range of services in collaboration with the HSE under therapeutic supports. These services can be either universal or targeted. Universal services are the provision of leaflets or other supporting information. Targeted services are individualised and could include; behaviour support plans, classes, equipment, professional advice or pre-school visits. Supports may be provided through a Children’s Disability Network Team (CDNT), HSE Disability Service, HSE funded Voluntary Organisation or HSE Primary Care Services.
When an application for AIM level 6 support is submitted, a Better Start Early Years Specialist is put in touch with the appropriate HSE contact, who will advise on the best support for the child.
For further information please access https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/targeted-supports/
Level 7: Additional Capitation
AIM level 7 support provides additional funding to pre-schools who have a child requiring extra support. Providers can use this funding either to reduce the child-to-adult ratio in the pre-school room or to fund an extra staff member as a shared resource with other children in the ECCE setting. For further information please access https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/targeted-supports/
Please contact Roscommon CCC office on 094 9622540 if you have any further questions
The Early Years Specialist Service (Access and Inclusion) are available and can be contacted on 01 5117222.
Please view the website as detailed above, which is the dedicated website for AIM and will keep you updated on the relevant dates from which you can apply for the different elements of the 7 levels.
Information for parents
At AIM we aspire to help all children, regardless of ability to access quality early learning and care through the ECCE programme, and create a more inclusive culture in pre-schools. Children and pre-school staff benefit from AIM through universal supports for the sector, and targeted supports for individual children. For further information please click on
Information for providers
Welcome to the providers page of the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) website. The goal of AIM is to empower you to create a more inclusive environment in your pre-school for all children, regardless of ability. AIM provides training and information in the area of inclusive practice as well as funding a level 6 qualification programme in Leadership for Inclusion (LINC). AIM also provides targeted supports, for individual children based on their needs without requiring a diagnosis of disability. For further information please access https://aim.gov.ie/providers/
AIM Policy and Rules
For information on AIM policy & Rules please access https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/aim-policy-and-rules/
AIM Inclusive Play
For information and access to inclusive play resources please click https://aim.gov.ie/resources/
Universal Design Guidelines
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment, so that it can be; accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. To access these guidelines please click on link https://aim.gov.ie/aim-supports/universal-design-guidelines/
For latest news and information on AIM please see https://aim.gov.ie/news/
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