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Services for children with disabilities in Laois and Offaly need to be resourced – Nolan

17 May, 2016

Sinn Féin TD for Offaly and North Tipperary, Carol Nolan, raised the issue of the deterioration of services for children with disabilities in Laois and Offaly with the Junior Minister for Health with special responsibility for Disability in the Dáil last night.

Speaking after the debate, Deputy Nolan said:

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to raise this important issue with the Minister in the Dáil this evening and I welcome his acknowledgement that the current waiting lists are unacceptable.

“It is a disgrace that parents of children with autism and other disabilities have been left with no other option but to organise a demonstration this week to highlight the lack of service provision for their children.

“Laois and Offaly Families for Autism have held a number of meetings with the HSE management over the past year, however they are of the view that little has been done to progress these services and they have in fact declined.

“Currently, the psychology services for school age children with disabilities in Laois have been suspended. There are almost 1,000 school age children on a waiting list of approximately 47months for Occupational Therapy.

“LOFFA published a report last year which clearly outline the decline of the services for children with disabilities.

“Children are waiting three years for speech and language therapy, occupational therapy has a waiting list of 2-3 years and the psychology service has a waiting list of 3 years.

“The School Age Team has yet to be put in place so children are being assessed by individual therapists after a number of years waiting for assessments and interventions.

“This is simply not good enough and I am calling on the Minister for Health to clarify when exactly these resources will be put in place for these vulnerable children and when the necessary funding will be provided to provide these essential services.” 

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