100 signatures reached
To: Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O' Gorman and Minister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte
Improving Access to Assessments and Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
The aim of this campaign is to raise the issue of poor access to assessments of needs and intervention services for children with autism spectrum disorders with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’ Gorman and Minister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte. I aim to influence change by appealing to these Ministers to prioritise this issue and ensure that no child will have to wait longer than six months for an assessment of their needs. I am appealing to these Ministers to ensure that waiting lists are reduced, that there are clear pathways to services, that there is support for parents of children with ASD and that the recommendations listed in the HSE 2018 'Report of the Review of the Irish Health Services for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders' and the OCO 2020 'Unmet Needs' report are put in place.
Why is this important?
This is important as many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are forced to wait several years for an assessments of their needs and are then placed on long waiting lists for access to recommended services. Parents of children who require an assessments of their needs should not be forced to resort to the private healthcare system in order to access these services. Accessing these services privately is very costly therefore, people who are financially better off can gain access to assessments of needs (AON) and services much faster than those who cannot afford to go private.
The pathways to AONs and services in Ireland for children with ASD are also very unclear. This lack of clarity contributes to the issue of long waiting lists and poor access to such services.
The issue of unequal and poor access to these services is an unfair socio-economic inequity based on financial ability and knowledge of how to navigate Ireland’s complicated healthcare system.
It is important to address these issues and improve access to AONs for children with ASD in order for children to have access to early interventions which are closely linked to potential positive developmental outcomes. The first few years of a child’s life are critical to their physical, mental, emotional, cultural, personal and competency development hence why early intervention is essential. Ensuring access to assessments and services in a timely manner is a right that no child with a disability should be denied.