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Minister for Health called on to "recognise the failings" of autism assessment system

Jul 15, 2021 13:13 By News Northern Sound
Minister for Health called on to "recognise the failings" of autism assessment system
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A Bailieborough mother has told Northern Sound News of the difficulties she’s faced in getting supports for her son.

A Cavan Councillor is calling on the Minister for Health to “recognise the failings” of the autism assessment system.

It comes as a Bailieborough mother has highlighted the difficulties she’s facing in getting supports for her son.

The average waiting time for an autism assessment in the HSE’s CHO1 area is estimated to be between two and three years.

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Aontu’s Sarah O’Reilly says families are being put on the back foot by being forced to wait years for a diagnosis.

Her motion to call for the backlog to be cleared was unanimously supported by Cavan County Council.

She wants the Health Minister to step in.

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Joanne Regan first raised concern about her son when he was 18 months old, and at two and a half years he was referred to Enable Ireland for assessment.

She got her first appointment in March 2020, and an assessment the following September.

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It highlighted a need for occupational and speech therapy, but Joanne says little progress has been made with Enable Ireland since then, and she's had two appointments cancelled since this March:

She says if it wasn't for her family and friends to help her do the required paperwork and provide her children with the care they deserve, there'd be no other supports available.

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Joanne is calling on the Minister of Health to ensure waiting lists don't get any longer, and the struggles of families are recognised.

O’Reilly also passed a motion calling on Minister Heather Humphreys to give children with autism the same rights as those with a visible disability when applying for Domiciliary Care Allowance.

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Currently, one in two applications for a child with autism are refused at the first round and families are forced to appeal the decision.

Joanne Regan says had to fight for the allowance for her son Joey after being initially refused it.

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