Clondalkin and Lucan families with special needs children being failed by Government- Cllr Ó Broin
Sinn Féin Councillor Eoin Ó Broin has described as ‘shocking’ the revelation that Clondalkin and Lucan families with special needs children are left waiting years for crucial interventions including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and psychology. Parliamentary Questions have also revealed that the numbers of families affected and the waiting times are longer in Dublin Mid-West than in neighbouring Dublin South West, Kildare West/Wicklow and Dublin South Central.
Cllr Ó Broin said:
‘For some time I have been concerned about the length of time families with special needs children in Dublin Mid-West have been left waiting for diagnoses and crucial interventions for their children.
‘Across the country waiting times are unacceptably high. However from information received from the HSE it appears that the problem in Dublin Mid-West is particularly acute.
‘Families whose children who have been diagnosed with a range for special needs such as autism access services via Rosses Court Resource Centre.
‘Currently there are 51 children waiting to access the Early Bird Programme; 203 children waiting for speech and language therapy; 231 children waiting for occupational therapy and 173 children waiting for psychological support.
‘The length of time these children are left waiting before the can access these crucial supports can range from up to 18 months for the early bird programme, up to 23 months for speech and language therapy, up to 24 months for occupational therapy and up to 18 months for psychology support.
‘When compared with neighbouring HSE areas the number of children on the waiting lists in Dublin Mid-West in higher and the average length of time they are waiting for these crucial services is significantly longer.
‘Leaving a child for up to two years with no speech and language therapy can have a huge impact on their development. It also places an enormous emotional and financial strain on families who are left to fend for themselves.
‘The problem is that Rosses Court Resource Centre, as with all such service providers, simply do not have the staff resources to meet the need in the local community. The same problem applies to the provision of special needs places in local schools.
‘Without adequate funding to the HSE and to local schools families with special needs children will continue to be failed by this Government.
‘Sinn Féin’s Budget proposals for 2016 called for an increased investment in disability services of €45.89m. This would provide for up to 600 extra occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, and psychologists. It would also fund additional personal assistant hours and community based neuro-rehabilitation teams and transitional services.
‘This is the level of investment that is required to ensure that all children have the supports their need.’