Autism or Aspergers -Multidisciplinary Assessment in Ireland Part2
Autism Aspergers Syndrome Diagnosis - An Irish Perspective
Autism Aspergers Syndrome Diagnosis -Part 3 An Irish perspective
When a child does actually gets as far as the HSE (Irish Health Service Executive) Early Intervention Services assessment a multi-disciplinary team consisting of a psychologist, an occupational therapist, a social worker and a speech therapist will do an initial assessment which takes approximately two hours.
In better times in Ireland you may then have received a diagnosis for your child but this was not my experience. Instead the HSE early intervention multidisciplinary team claimed that they were still unsure of the cause of my child’s developmental delay (even though I had already obtained a diagnosis from a privately paid Educational Psychologist who clearly told me my child that my child had mild to moderate Autism, however in order to try to obtain services my son would get nothing until he had this other assessment completed).
Apparently the early intervention team decided that my son was potentially on the autistic spectrum of disorders and so a referral to the Kerry Autism Services would have to now follow. Also this meant that the team felt they now had to extend the six month period under which my son was supposed to receive his diagnosis under Irish law i.e. under the Disability Act 2005. So this meant going my son had to go on another waiting list for a specific Autism assessment which would then take several more months. It was only much later that I found out that this was only supposed to be allowed in very exceptional circumstances? To this day nobody within the Irish Health Service Executive has explained to me what the exceptional circumstances were in relation my son’s assessment process?
The Kerry Autism Services are meant to provide support services for autistic children until they are 18 but what does this actually mean in terms of Early Intervention Services? One parent I spoke to recently told me that her child has only had three appointments with an Occupational Therapist in the last year. Another child has been given just six speech therapy sessions during the same period with no other Early Intervention being provided.
It would appear to me that while in theory the idea of the HSE (Health Service Executieve) Early Intervention Service is well intentioned in practice the financial constraints currently on them mean that the delivery of these services is totally inadequate. With the current cutbacks here in Ireland and the Bank bailout saga our autism services can only deteriorate even further in the coming years.
This led me as parent to desperately wonder were there any other early intervention services available in my area? By accident I discovered that there was actually an early Intervention class for autistic children in my home county of Kerry here in Ireland. This is at the Killahan National School Pre-school Autism Class (www.killahanautismunit.com) which is near a small village called Abbeydorney, Co Kerry here in Ireland.
In my son’s class where he is now in his second year each child receives individual attention daily incorporated into a structured, well planned timetable of play and tasks which are all aimed at ensuring that each pupil in the unit reaches his/her full intellectual, social and emotional potential, in a structured, safe and social environment.
Currently there are six children in my son’s class although there used to be two classes. Though due to cutbacks, the politics behind autism in Ireland and the other issues which I will delve into in my book ‘On the Spectrum,’ there are many obstacles in Ireland in relation to obtaining any autism services. Even basic back up services from the local autism services are in very scant supple e.g. speech therapy and occupational therapy. Many of the issues in relation to the politics behind autism also have global significance as no matter where you go in the world these issues exist.
Please consider signing my petition (link below) to try and help stop the Irish government from taking autism services off the Irish Agenda completely. Thank you.
The Politics Behind Autism in Ireland
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