Some 46,000 young children have complex needs, often relating to slower development of speech and language faculties. Yet the Irish health service does not make adequate provision for early intervention.
Tom Moran the People Before Profit candidate for Mayo in the upcoming General Election said: "We come across many parents who are worried sick by the failure of the State to provide the necessary resources for early intervention. The waiting list for speech and language therapists is so long that parents are being forced to go private – at great cost to themselves. International research suggests that the case load for a speech and language therapist should lie somewhere between 30 and 65 cases.
He continued: "In Ireland, however, the case load of speech and language therapists is way above this. It amounts to an average of 162 cases per therapist. Like every other aspect of our health service this under-provision helps to support a two tier system. Worried parents will tend to go private rather than wait for months and years to obtain an evaluation. These private sessions cost in the range of about €50 for a 40 minute session or €100 for an hour."
Mr Moran concluded: "A decent government would have doubled the number of speech and language therapists to cut waiting lists. They would make early evaluation and intervention a priority. But this Government cares more about the lifestyle of bondholders and bankers. That is why they sacrifice the most vulnerable on their altar of greed."