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(Ireland) 'Autistic people daily are deprived of the same chance to go to school...'

July 12, 2022, The Journal: TD ‘beyond embarrassed’ by lack of action on services for autistic children
A TD [MEMBER OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENT] HAS described being “beyond embarrassed” about insufficient responses to parents’ requests for supports for autistic children.

The Oireachtas Committee on Autism met this morning to discuss autism policy, with TDs and senators raising concerns about the provision of resources and system gaps that create difficulties in accessing support.

Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said she is “beyond embarrassed” by cases of problems being raised by parents that are then highlighted to the HSE, in the Dáil, or to the Public Accounts Committee, but never actioned.

MacNeill told Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte, who came before the committee, that the challenges for service delivery in her area are “acute”.

“I’m at the point Minister where I don’t even know how to go back to parents anymore, so often I have raised their issue with your office and the HSE and the answers that I get back – no disrespect to you, I know you’re bona fides and I know how hard you’re working on this – but to the HSE, some of them are outrageous. Some of them are outrageous.”…

“I’m still waiting, still waiting. And that’s just one case… Minister, I have a pile of these on my desk as you know that I’ve raised with you directly,” MacNeill said.

"I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be the parent of an autistic child with acute needs having to navigate that on a day-to-day basis and to try to support their child and at the same time to have to navigate the HSE and trying to get assessment of needs and delivery of services for their children.

“I am beyond, at this point, beyond embarrassed to go back to parents. I didn’t even tell them I was raising this today because I’m too embarrassed that every time I have raised it, ….

“Across Ireland, autistic people daily are deprived of the same chance to go to school, to access healthcare, to get a job, to live a long, healthy, and happy life,” Harris said….


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