Child Services


Special Schools

Ability West is patron of four special schools located in Ballinasloe, Carraroe, Galway City and Tuam.   The special schools are under the remit of the Department of Education and Skills and Boards of Management are in place in the schools.  Ability West nominates two representatives to each Board of Management, one of whom takes on the role of Chairperson.  Ability West, together with the HSE, Brothers of Charity Services Galway and Enable Ireland are working towards the implementation of Progressing Disability Services or Children and Young People (0-18).

The Special Schools are

  • Tigh Nan Dooley Scoil Speisialta, Carraroe

  • St. Joseph’s Special School, Galway City

  • St. Oliver’s Special School, Tuam

  • St. Teresa’s Special School, Ballinasloe

Last year's Nativity Play at St. Joseph's Special School.

Short Breaks

The aim of short breaks respite is to support people with an intellectual disability or autism within their family and community. 

Ability West aims to assist families to engage their own supports through their own natural support networks such as family, local community, neighbours and through our volunteer programme. 

However, we recognise the need for more formalised supports. 

It is recommended that where possible, respite supports should be provided in the home and in the community via Host Families, Community Support, Outreach Projects and in other innovative and inclusive ways.  

Residential respite is a prioritised and resource dependent service and services are registered and inspected by The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA)

The types of short breaks that can be accessed include:

  • Social Groups and Summer Camps

  • Home Sharing

  • Volunteers

  • Community Support/Outreach Programmes

  • Residential Respite

Multi-Disciplinary Supports

Our experienced team are trained in not only ascertaining the unique requirements and expectations of service users, but exceeding them.

Ability West’s therapists and support staff are experts in their respective fields including physiotherapy, speech and language, occupational therapy, social work, psychology and positive behaviour support.  They are equipped with extensive skills and experience and are here to help people achieve their individual goals with a variety of different therapy options.  We work together to help make positive progress in all aspects of the service user’s life.

Safeguarding and Children First

We implement the processes and systems of Children First to ensure all children using the service are protected from all forms of abuse.  We have a zero tolerance approach to all forms of abuse.

Positive Intervention

We promote and facilitate a positive response to the individual support of a child and their family who may require specialised interventions.

Transition Programmes

We recognise the impact change can have on a person’s life who may have varying perceptions and mechanisms for coping with change.  To this end we offer a comprehensive transition programme in support of changes such as moving from school, home, life circumstance, etc.

Post School Options

Ability West operates St. Joseph’s Training Services which provides training programmes in a number of locations throughout Galway City and County.  Rehabilitative Training provides opportunities to develop independent living skills through Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) accredited modules, work experience and community involvement.  It is in line with New Directions policy and reflects individual needs through a PCP approach. We have developed five community based hubs where local people who use the service plan and implement their programmes as members of their own community.  This is in line with New Directions and a process is in place for those wishing to access these services.

For more information on the services provided by us, please ring us on 091 540900 or email


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