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Early Intervention and Inclusive Practice for Children – MA

  • Campus: Moylish, Limerick City


Course Overview

The Master of Arts in Early Intervention and Inclusive Practice for Children is a pioneering programme designed to provide postgraduate-level study for those who wish to enhance their knowledge, skills and competencies in working with children (Birth – 12 years) from diverse backgrounds who experience adversity and a resultant inability to meaningfully participate in their education.  

This adversity may result from various sources, including but not limited to disability, additional learning needs (ALN), poverty, parental substance abuse, and social/emotional disturbance. Irrespective of the source, childhood adversity and the subsequent need for early intervention to support inclusive practice is an area of widespread interest that reaches far beyond Ireland. Therefore, this master’s degree will appeal to national and international graduates.   

The overarching aim of this programme is to equip students with the skills, knowledge and competencies required to successfully support inclusion of all children experiencing challenges within their learning and development. 

More Information

 The key features of this master’s programme have been designed to evaluate the evolving international theoretical frameworks, policies and varied research in relation to Early Intervention and to explore its links to supporting the inclusion of children and their families. The key features of these programmes will be discussed throughout the document but can be summarised as:   

  • Delivered as a one year full-time or two year part-time on-campus, or part time blended Level 9 master’s degree.  
  • A focus on the skills and early intervention strategies that may be used in supporting the inclusion of children from birth to 12 years and their families.  
  • Specialised skills and knowledge of strategies to ensure that graduates are industry ready following completion of either programme.  
  • The programme is underpinned by Sustainable Development Goals, students will be afforded the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues in the that context .  

The modules within the Master of Arts in Early Intervention and Inclusive Practice will take the students through the skills, knowledge and competencies required to support inclusion through early intervention and to reflect on the complexities and adversities that may impact the development of children.  Throughout their year of study students will complete four modules per semester with a summer dedicated to the writing of their final dissertation which will be action-based research.  

Contact Details

Ashling Sheehan Boyle

Email: ashling.sheehanboyle@tus.ie

Dr. Craig Coffey

Email: craig.coffey@tus.ie

Entry Requirements

The programmes entry requirements for Level 8 (2.2) in cognate discipline. RPL including– application form, mature applications. 

Students can also apply through the TUS RPL process: Recognition of Prior Learning – TUS 

Module Overview

  • Historical & Contemporary Perspectives Of Inclusion

    Credits: 5

    • This module provides a broad foundation for learning and studying inclusion. It is designed to enable students to gain an understanding of the field of inclusive practice both internationally and in Ireland. It will give an overview of the historical, contemporary, legislative and research frameworks regarding the development of Early Intervention. 
    • The module also introduces students to some key contemporary issues as a basis for critical examination and further development of their knowledge and understanding of inclusion in practice and policy and draw on different perspectives, such as the rights-based approach, strengths approach, universal design for learning and other theories such as the systems theory. Students will be enabled to explore the connections between issues, perspectives and with emphasis on understanding different sociological, medical, educational models. 
  • Early Intervention Through Physical Education

    Credits: 10

    • The purpose of this module is to critically examine the role of physical activity and the development of physical education in structured settings in line with the Aistear theme of Well-being. The module will focus on including children of all abilities in structured physical activities in various settings such as indoor and outdoor environments. Students will develop the skills necessary to adapt various exercise programmes for indoor and outdoor areas to meet the needs of specific special population groups.  
    • This module will focus on methods and strategies to improve participation and retention in physical activity, play, risky play and education in school indoor and outdoor settings. Students will review, critique and implement evidence-based strategies, current literature and recommendations for physical activity and play. Additionally, students will analyse and investigate the barriers to the implementation of physical education and available support for services. Students will also explore the use of technology as a tool to implement exercise and activities in a structured setting. 
  • Therapeutic & Creative Play Skills

    Credits: 10

    • The focus of the module to empower students to understand how therapeutic play and the creative arts can support in the holistic and in particular their emotional development of children. Analysis of the theories of therapeutic play and child development is examined.  
    • Using a range of creative mediums such as paint, sand and clay, students explore through practical experiential learning, how they can support children’s wellbeing, nurture critically thinking and promote interpersonal skills. 
    • Students will plan and develop therapeutic play experiences and consider children’s presenting concerns.  Students will also explore and develop an awareness of their personal sense of self through experiential practices to develop their own sense of creativity and wellbeing. 
  • Professional Development & Self-care

  • Adversity Trauma & Resilience

    Credits: 5

    • This module aims to explore the critical perspectives and applications to practice in relation to complexity and trauma in children and young people. Current perspectives and theoretical models will be critically reviewed and evaluated. Students will consider factors that influence how children and young people respond to trauma and evaluate how that may impact on the process of recovery over the lifespan, including short and longer term impacts on development and wellbeing. The module offers a critical examination of research evidence relating to trauma assessment and intervention with children and young people, taking account of their family, their experiences and the larger community. 
  • Strategies for early intervention and practices

    Credits: 10

    • This module will aim to critically examine current legislation and policy relating to children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Students will further explore the influential role of wellbeing maintenance for the prevention of issues as well as risk factors associated with child learning and development. It will consist of elements that further examine the varied early intervention designs and specialist concepts that advocate for early intervention. Students will further examine the application of a systems approach to early intervention strategies that may be employed to protect, support and prevent problems with child and young children  health and wellbeing. 
  • Positive Behaviour Strategies & Child Development

    Credits: 10

    • This module is designed to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to evaluate and examine the cultural, social and psychological perspectives of behaviour and development. It aims to allow students to explore and understand the concepts and issues that impact both behaviour and development in young children. This module is also key in initiating group discussions in relation to a broad range of ‘presenting difficulties’ and to explore the implications arising from these difficulties for childrens  development. 
  • Applied Research Methods

    Credits: 5

  • Research Thesis Taught Masters

    Credits: 30

    • The module aims to encourage learners to develop an integrative approach to learning and critical thinking as they bring together a range of concepts, theories, frameworks and practices within a research setting. The module focuses on the following: preparation of a small-scale research proposal, analysis and synthesis of extant literature at the forefront of the candidate’s research interest; application of the findings from the literature review to the design; testing and execution of an in-depth; primary research study; interpretation and reporting of findings to supervisor, and the application of both secondary and primary findings to the preparation of clear, well-justified conclusions which address the original aims and objectives of the research. 

What can you do after the course?

Master of Arts in Early Intervention and Inclusive Practice graduates may find work in the private and public sectors nationally and locally. Settings include but are not limited to ELC & SAC settings, Primary Schools, Government departments and agencies including but not limited to DCEDIY, NCCA, Pobal, Tusla, Better Start (Area based Childhood, Family Resource Centres, Family Support services, youth work other agencies such as Enable Ireland, Coolmine , youth services Therapeutic Community, City and county-based Early Intervention Services. 

Students may find opportunities to work in the UK and other European countries on targeted early intervention programmes. Students could potentially source employment with statutory, non- statutory or charitable organizations. The programme will provide the students with relevant research skills to explore specific national and interactional policy and practice.  

Upon successful completion of this programme, graduates have the opportunity to complete Level 9/10 programmes here at TUS or elsewhere.