Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, The National Rehabilitation Hospital, Children’s Health Ireland and Brain Tumour Ireland are delighted to publish this strategic direction paper: Rehabilitation for Children and Young People in Ireland Following Acquired Brain Injury: current services and potential future directions.

Special thanks to our team members who made a huge contribution to this paper, Grainne McGettrick (Policy and Research Manager), Caroline Donnellan (Clinical Programme Manager), Ged Barry Ryan (Social Worker), Dr. Brian McClean (Senior Psychologist) and Karen Foley (Head of Service Operations).

The paper outlines the current provision of rehabilitation services, the experiences of young people and their families, and the need for improvement. The authors acknowledge the contributions of service users and are committed to working towards child-centred rehabilitation services.
Here are some of the key points from the paper:

• Children and young people with ABI in Ireland benefit from access to rehabilitation services when these are available to them.
• The consequences of ABI for young people are often invisible, with a significant risk of their difficulties going unrecognised, or of being misunderstood.
• The current capacity of specialist paediatric rehabilitation services in Ireland is insufficient to meet the needs of young people with ABI in Ireland.
• Current triage criteria for Children’s Disability Network Teams may not recognise the needs of children with ABI.
• Long waits for services are common.
• Accessible services often are not sufficient to meet children’s needs.
• Educational support specific to ABI is limited by capacity.

This document is the product of collaboration by dozens of contributors across the aforementioned organisations who have jointly published it; the authors also acknowledge the contributions of colleagues in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Faculty of Paediatrics, Children’s Disability Network Teams and Health Service Executive who have consulted on its content.