Laois Offaly Families for Autism protesting at the lack of services to their children with autism in 2016
Laois County Council has called on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to review the level and availability of services for children with special needs in the county.
Cllr Willie Aird tabled a motion calling for the action due to the length of time people were having to wait to get treatment for children.
He said there were issues across the board with services such as occupational therapy, speech and language and psychology.
“It is the length of time that they are waiting to get anything done,” he told the last meeting of Laois County Council.
Cllr Aird said: “It is just a total disaster, the whole area. There’s hundreds of positions that haven’t been filled. Surely it’s not that difficult. There is something wrong somewhere.”
“You only get one chance at life, that’s all. If you are to be assessed at 4-years of age and it doesn’t happen till 10, it’s too late. And the whole system suffers then,” Cllr Aird pointed out.
Supporting the motion, Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said “there is 700 professional posts that remain unfilled.” She said nationally there were 480,000 hours of treatment that had not happened, 30,000 children waiting on speech and therapy and it was very worrying to see Paul Reid, the HSE Chief Executive stepping down, she said. “This is a serious, serious issue for families with children with disabilities,” added Cllr Dwane Stanley.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald added her support and said the families are going through a constant battle to try and have their children helped.
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