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(Ireland) Apology for giving 5 yr wait to ASD student; services can't keep up with demand

Mar 29, 2021, RTE: 2026 appointment letter should not have been sent – HSE
The HSE has said that a letter should not have been sent to a Dublin family telling them they would have to wait more than five years for an appointment for their child. Seven-year-old Lexi Forde has autism and is currently suffering from severe anxiety…. .Sorcha O'Connor and Stephen Forde earlier said that they had been told it will be late 2026 before Lexi is seen by HSE school-age support services…. This evening, the HSE has told RTÉ News that Dublin South, Kildare and West Wicklow Community Healthcare should not have issued the letter and it will investigate why this communication was sent. However, the HSE has not said when Lexi is likely to be offered supports…. However, the school said that its limited teacher and other resources mean that Lexi can only attend for a few hours each day. It said it needed greater resources to allow it to support Lexi and other pupils with additional needs adequately. Today, St Dominic's joined calls from a number of school patron bodies for an increase in the allocation of special education teacher hours next year for schools that are growing. Last week, the school was informed that it would receive the same Special Education Teacher (SET) allocation next year as this year. Principal Séamus Vaughan said the school was devastated by the news. Enrolment at St Dominic's is expanding every year, yet the school's teacher allocation for children with additional needs remains stuck at 2017 levels. "Year on year we are expanding but our SET allocation is not catching up with that increase," Mr Vaughan told RTÉ News….. Last week, they received a letter from the HSE's School Age Service offering an initial appointment in November 2026. By then, Lexi will be in sixth class. The letter stated: "This service currently has lengthy waiting lists for services. "It is expected that Lexi will be seen for her first appointment, which will focus on the development of her Individual Family Service plan, in November 2026…. Mr Vaughan said that giving an appointment for five years' time "cannot be called a service". In 2017, St Dominic's was granted 168 hours of additional teacher time to help it support children with additional needs. Even then, the schools said, that provision was lower than what was required. "We knew in 2017 that our allocation was wrong but we were told to wait until the new profile was done in 2019," Mr Vaughan said. "In 2019, we were reprofiled and promised an increase of 50 hours of additional teaching time, but we were only granted 20% of this. "In 2019, we had 332 pupils, now we have 384. Next year we will have more than 400, yet our Special Education Teacher allocation has not grown at all….


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