NCSE Assistive Technology Applications

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 specialeducation@education.gov.ie 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. This is for illustrative purposes only to demonstrate what sort of information can go in each section. You cannot use this information in any application that you are completing unless it is actually true for the specific child you are applying for. 

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. 

4 thoughts on “NCSE Assistive Technology Applications

  1. Seona says:

    Hi ,thank you for all the information. I have a few questions if you have the time to answer. So a laptop ( any) can be applied for and the software such as proloco2go ? ( its for a non verbal child) also am I right in saying the school fills out the NCSE form and they send it off to the SENO.

    • Teaching Plans says:

      Hiya, no problem, glad it is helpful. Yes, the school must make the application to the NCSE for the assistive technology using the from which can be downloaded from the NCSE website. It is sent to the local SENO once completed.
      You can only apply for a laptop and specific software if you have a report from a professional such as a psychologist or a SLT saying that it is essential and why as per the terms of circular 0010/2013. If a laptop is recommended in the report, then you can get quotations for any model that is suitable, but be aware that there are maximum funding limits set by the Department. The last time, I did an application it was 450Euro, but you should email or phone the department to double check this. Their contact email is specialeducation@education.gov.ie.

  2. Joanne says:

    This is so helpful thanks so much! Can you tell me which providers you went to for the three quotes? As in, were they large places like PC world, or smaller shops? Just to give me an idea where to start.
    Thanks again for this post, really appreciate it!

    • Teaching Plans says:

      Hi Joanne, Glad to hear this post was helpful! If you take a look at Appendix 1 of circular 0010/2013, there is a section with Guidelines on Purchasing Procedures. It specifies that three quotations are needed only if payment of over €635 is being made to one individual supplier. The last time I made an application, the limit for purchasing a laptop from the Department was €450, and as it is below the amount where 3 quotations are needed, it is okay to just send one! For a laptop I would usually look online for it. There are a number of shops where you can get a quotation. Ones I have used in the past include Currys, Harvey Norman, and Laptops Direct. I hope that answers your question. Kind regards, Claire

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