Kelly highlights situation facing children with autism in Tipperary

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The difficulties being faced by a young autistic boy in Tipperary in obtaining suitable education has been raised in the Dáil.

It was during a Labour Party motion on access to disability and autism services which called for a policy to be developed to allow parents who got private assessments after waiting longer than they should to be reimbursed.

Junior Minister Anne Rabbitte gave a commitment that at least six regional teams would be put in place to clear backlogs. If these were not in place by August 1st she will take to budget that families would be funded.

Deputy Alan Kelly outlined how autism services – or the lack of them – are a huge issue in Tipperary and elsewhere.

“I had clinic recently where there were 16 appointments and 9 of them were issues with autism for people. I’ve a young man in my parish called Charlie Wilford who is in Portroe National School who needs to go to another more suitable school – either Lisnagry or Roscrea.

“He was refused last year, he was told he’d be refused this year and guess what? They’ve already told him he won’t be getting it next year either. What am I meant to say to him?”

Deputy Kelly also accused the state of failing another young Tipperary boy.

The case of Neil Darmody was the basis of the Labour Party motion before the Dáil yesterday.

Alan Kelly highlighted the contradictions evident in relation to funding for assessments.

“I can read an email to Mark Darmody (Neil’s father) from the HSE which says ‘I can confirm that the psychological assessment conducted by the doctor will be paid for will be paid for by the HSE.’ But this morning I got a PQ answer from the HSE – ‘The HSE does not fund or reimburse any fees paid to private practitioners in any of the health service areas where assessments have commissioned by the service user or their family directly as this would undermine the principal of equity of access for all children based on individual need.’ That is completely contradictory.”