Athlone-based Senator, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed the Autism Spectrum Disorder Bill 2017, which seeks a national strategy for all persons, children and adults, living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD ).
It is designed to ensure that those affected by ASD receive the necessary resources and support they deserve throughout their lives.
“Everyone with ASD is unique and it is universally acknowledged that early diagnosis and early intervention, with evidence-based practices, make a world of difference to children with ASD,” Senator McFadden said.
“The supports needed are varied and must be tailored individually towards each person, and it helps if these are in place from an early age. Currently, the waiting lists in Ireland for assessment are anything from nine to 18 months. However, in many counties across the country families must wait years for diagnosis. Even if a family is lucky to get a diagnosis, there is often no intervention or service to follow up. In two midlands counties, for example, there is no autism team.
“Waiting lists for clinical psychology speech and language therapy and occupational therapy are three years. This shortfall in appropriate support is something a national autism strategy would help highlight.”
Senator McFadden says such a strategy will highlight the most appropriate interventions and ensure that they are disseminated as widely as possible, not just to professionals but also to schools, families, and communities, so that any Irish citizen with a diagnosis of ASD can reach their true potential.