I’ve had to fill out quite a few Assistive Technology applications lately as I do this as part of my AP1 post. Knowing what to include, especially for the questions on page 2 often catches people out. I’ve had a few people on Facebook and Instagram asking me about it, so in this post, I’ll share some tips as well as give a sample of how to fill out the form.
First of all, you’ll need the assistive technology application form which is available from the NCSE website here (form 3). Secondly, I would advise you take a look at the Department of Education Circular 0010/2013 which outlines how the grant scheme works.
You will need a professional report from an occupational therapist, psychologist, speech and language therapist or a physiotherapist stating that the assistive technology is essential for the child. Saying that the AT is recommended is not sufficient. If it doesn’t say “essential” ask the professional to edit the report.
You can only claim funding for the equipment specified in the professional report. Often reports only specify a laptop or tablet, but if you think the child will need specific software such as Microsoft Office or equipment such as a wireless mouse or headphones, ask the professional to amend their report to include these. I would go so far as to ask them to include a laptop/ tablet case if the AT is to be brought home for homework and anti-virus software if the child will be accessing the internet.
The Department of Education specifies that you must submit quotations for each piece of equipment as per the terms set out in Appendix 1 of Circular 0010/2013. Getting these written quotations is usually extremely time consuming as it requites going in person to shops or emailing them to request that they send you a written quotation. In light of the Covid-19 restrictions to retail and the public health advice to limit movement, I emailed the special education section of the DES to ask if they would take prices from the suppliers websites at the moment instead of a written quotation and they said they would. I printed out a copy of the email from them confirming this and included it with the applications I sent to the SENO. You can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm this too for your own applications. The applications that I have done this for were approved.
Below is a sample of how to complete the questions on page 2 of the application form:
A final tip is to photocopy EVERYTHING for the application before you send it off so you have a copy on file in the school. The NCSE/ DoES have lost applications and on one occasion, the quotes, for applications I have sent in the past. If you have a copy of everything then will save you getting everything together again if they lose it. You will also need a record of where you got the quotes from so that you can buy the equipment once the application is granted.