Alarming Autism assessment figures is a 'crisis' for Laois Offaly families

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Autism illustration.

Alarming new figures represent a crisis for children and families in Laois and Offaly according to a local public represenative.

Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley has said that the latest figures released to him in the Dáil are outrageous.

“The figures that I got in response to a Dail Question put to the Health Minister Simon Harris are alarming. They highlight the scale of the crisis this service is in with a total of 1,250 children awaiting Psychologist assessment in the 2 counties. 750 of these children are under 5 years of age. The really concerning piece of information is that 80% are waiting for over 2 years.

"In reality the services are in crisis. Hundreds of children in Offaly and Laois who are Autistic or have other conditions are being denied services as they can’t even get assessed. The fact that there is no Early Intervention, or that they are several years late getting the services they need so badly, means that they will not reach their full potential as adults. 
It is an established fact that this can lead to long-term Psychological problems right throughout their lives.

"The revelation that there are 1,250 in Laois/Offaly awaiting Psychological assessment comes on the back of the other figure released to me over the past month that show that 1850 children in Laois/Offaly are awaiting Occupational Therapy  services and 391 for Physiotherapy.

"Overall these figures show that children’s services in the Midlands are in crisis. According to recent Central Statistics Office figures we have one of the highest spends per capita on Health, we still have huge gaps in our frontline services," he said.

He callled on the the Government and the HSE now need to plan for the future by training and recruiting specialised staff to provide the services that will be needed by our expanding population.