Mar 25, 2019, UK, NI: Derry Now: Occupational therapy waiting times for autistic children 'totally unacceptable' https://www.derrynow.com/news/occupational-therapy-waiting-times-autistic-children-totally-unacceptable/272407 Children in Derry with autism are having to wait up to twenty-three months for an occupational therapy appointment, it has emerged. Independent Nationalist candidate for the Moor, Emmet Doyle, believes current waiting times in the Western Trust area are “totally unacceptable”. … Mr Doyle lodged an FOI request with the Western Trust asking how long a child on the autism spectrum has to wait for an occupational therapy appointment. … The spokesperson added: “The current waiting time for Core OT is a maximum of 23 months. This includes all children waiting an OT assessment and is not specific to ASD. … “The current waiting time for occupational therapy within the Children’s Autism Service is 18 months.” A person who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often has trouble communicating and interacting with other people; his or her interests, activities, and play skills may be limited as a result. … However, the most essential role is also to assess and target the child’s sensory processing disorders. This is beneficial to remove barriers to learning and help the students become calmer and more focused. Mr Doyle believes it is “totally unacceptable” for anyone to be waiting this long to access vital services, but for young people on the autism spectrum it is “even more outrageous”. He continued: “I know our healthcare staff are doing all they can and deserve all the support we can give them, but our politicians who have abandoned the health service for the last two years must shoulder the blame for these atrocious waiting times….