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Lack of provision of respite services for Autism – Gildernew

11 October, 2007

Sinn Féin's MP MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew speaking after visiting Ashdale House, Ballygawley highlighted the need for the provision of respite services for those children who are diagnosed with Autism.

Michelle Gildernew said:

"The provision of respite services available for those diagnosed with Autism at Ashdale House, Ballygawley is now under review due to lack of funding. At present there is a need for additional respite provision. There is a need to improve respite provision not only in my constituency of Fermanagh South Tyrone but across the 6 counties."

"The needs of each family and foster family in the aftermath of a diagnosis are distinctive. It is imperative that each family and child is given the opportunity to avail of the advice and help of autism aware professionals. At present respite and therapeutic services for autism are difficult if not impossible to access.

"There is a serious lack of funding for those services that are not non-diagnostic, and in addition to the uncertainty and distress that follows an assessment and diagnosis of ASD, many families experience the increased frustration of being told there is no funding for them to access services that would be most beneficial.

"Respite services are not an indulgence but a necessity, and immediate intervention for a child with ASD can alleviate further distress for those concerned. In light of this I have written to the Minister of Health to seek that autism specific funding be made available." ENDS

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