Give us answers on autism care

I WAS delighted to hear Micheál Martin on Ireland AM last week. I am so glad he cares so deeply for autistic children.

Can he now just clarify a few queries I have? Global research states that early intervention between the ages of two and five increases children’s potential for future success significantly. However, at present there seems to be a total lack of acknowledgement among the government that spending money now will actually save the state billions in the future.

Isn’t this government now saving money by denying vulnerable children vital early intervention services? Is this really cost effective? Isn’t he just allowing another generation of children to grow up developing a need for lifelong continuous HSE services?

Was it not his government who implemented the Disability Act 2005 that clearly states, “For children with disabilities, services should be provided in early life to ameliorate their disability”?

If vulnerable children could receive support services now at the early intervention stage, then instead of becoming dependent on the state, many will actually become productive tax payers who could contribute to ministers’ severance packages and Mary Harney’s pension.

Once a child reaches five they are considered too old to avail of the HSE early intervention services. How very cost effective though, don’t you agree? As my son is currently getting no services from the HSE early intervention services I now drive 34.1km twice a day (through the pothole-riddled roads while paying substantial road taxes) to the only Early Intervention Autism Unit in Co Kerry at Killahan National School in Abbeydorney.

Micheál, if you are so proud of your achievements in relation to autism, then why is your government trying to phase out the only Early Intervention Service currently available to my son in the whole county? The HSE are no longer referring any autistic children in great need to this vital unit. Weekly visits from a HSE speech therapist and occupational therapist have also been discontinued.

Why? Apparently this is because of a redeployment of services. However, the Kerry Autism Clinic is not now providing these services to my son either. Is this not a total denial of my son’s basic human rights under Irish and EU law? So, Mìcheál, could we now please have some answers?

Mary Kelly Godley

Tarbert

Co Kerry

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