Irish Autism Mammys consider taking support work into their own hands

Yvonne O'Toole

Irish Autism Mammys, a group with 1,500 members is considering rolling out a nationwide plan to help affected families.

This move is in response to concerns from some parents who alleged that Irish Autism Action (IAA) was not returning their calls.

The news also follows the announcement that IAA has cut back on its core outreach service, and is now only providing it to two families in Ireland.

“Our first big step as Irish Autism Mammys is to circulate information packs. It’s just a matter of putting the information packs together and sending them out to parents and circulating them to schools and GP waiting rooms, places like that,” said Yvonne O’Toole of Irish Autism Mammys.

“We don’t need permission from the IAA to put information packs together and send them out to parents and other places.”

Ms O’Toole explained the contents of the packs and stated that if they are successful with this project, they will continue to develop other services to help families.

“In one pack we want to circulate useful and practical information such as facts about the domiciliary care allowance (DCA).

“It’s a social welfare payment of €309 a month. There’s one rate and you can use it towards sensory toys or to cover private appointments. The quicker you get those payments, the quicker you get private appointments.

“We are doing it on behalf of all families affected by autism. If we can do the work ourselves for autism families, we will develop something that’s going to help them.”

Separate to this move, IAM has requested a meeting with Health Minister Simon Harris and autism advocate Adam Harris.

“We have contacted the Minister Simon Harris and Adam Harris, chief executive of autism charity AsIAm, for a meeting.

“We want examples from the minister, on the ground examples, of what services families are actually getting — why are the waiting lists for appointments with speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists so long?

“When you call up first you can be told between six and nine months, and if you follow up the call you can be told you’ll be waiting between 12 and 18 months,” said Ms O’Toole.

“And with Adam, it would be nice to have somebody that understands autism and advocates the way that he does through AsIAm.”


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