Tipperary TD Calls For Greater Resources For Children With Disabilities

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Tipperary TD Michael Lowry is calling for Public and Private Health Services to be used to address the Demand for Child Assessments. The TD is calling for action to address the delays and frustration families face when trying the secure Assessment of Needs for children with Special Needs.

Deputy Lowry highlighted that in some cases children are waiting 2 to 3 years for an assessment due to a lack of Child Psychologists in the Public Sector but such staff are available in the Private Sector. The TD wants a once off scheme to reduce the waiting lists. The TD attended the ‘Action for Autism’ Rally in Clonmel recently organised by parents fighting for supports for their children and who he says are losing faith in the public health service.

Teachers at Scoil Chormaic in Cashel have also issued an appeal for extra resources.

The Dáil heard that there are almost 7,000 children nationally waiting for such assessments and this is a vital first step to determine what therapies, if any are required.

The HSE confirmed to Deputy Lowry that there are a number of vacancies in the South Tipperary Primary Care teams at present – 7.5 Physiotherapy posts are vacant, 5 Speech and language, 4 Dieticians, 2.5 Occupational Therapist, 1 Ophthalmologist and one Psychologist posts is vacant – this does not include vacancies in the Children’s Disability Network Teams.

The lack of school places and proper Special Needs Assistant support is also a concern.

On a positive note the TD shared that €16M has been set aside for the HSE to procure diagnostic ASD Assessments through the Private Sector and that a total of 400 new school places are to be in place by September.