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Autism Diagnosis - An Irish Story

Updated on February 17, 2013
Autism in Ireland
Autism in Ireland
My family in the local paper talking about autism.
My family in the local paper talking about autism.
Ireland's Minister for Health. Still cutting autism services.
Ireland's Minister for Health. Still cutting autism services.
My autistic son Adam and his Aspie mom.
My autistic son Adam and his Aspie mom.
When will this be acknowledged in Ireland?
When will this be acknowledged in Ireland?
When will someone care?
When will someone care?

Assessment for autism in Ireland

Autism Diagnosis in Ireland –The Dilemma Part 1:

Current research estimates that as many as 1 child in every 88 born today potentially has an autistic spectrum disorder. It is now also globally recognized that Early Intervention is the most effective way of helping children with any degree of autism to move progressively forward.

However at present in Ireland there is growing concern among the parents of autistic children that the services available fall well short of this target. It is now well documented that the more resources the autistic child receives between the ages of two and five the better their quality of life will be and their potential for future success increases significantly. In Ireland at present though there seems to be a total lack of acknowledgement that if the money is spent at the Early Intervention stage then it will actually save the state billions in the longer term.

Today there are also many adults such as myself in Ireland who are in fact on the autistic spectrum themselves but they have never received a diagnosis. Therefore they have usually gone through their lives unequipped with the appropriate life skills. It is because such a large number of people exist who are undiagnosed that statistics never accurately indicate the amount of people On the Spectrum who unfortunately go on to develop alcohol or drug addictions, psychological disorders such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. It is also now being noted that many troubled autistic teenagers who are currently in care only become diagnosed at this stage so they also have never received any Early Intervention Services.

So while successive governments may believe they are saving money by denying vulnerable children vital services they are actually compounding the problem by ensuring that many more generations of autistic children will grow up needing continuous psychiatric services, social services, addiction services, unemployment support and disability services. Consequently if mildly and moderately autistic children all received the proper support services at an early stage then instead of remaining dependent on the state forever they would be much more likely to become productive tax payers who would then be able to contribute back to the economy.

However despite these well documented findings many children in Ireland today are still left without a diagnosis. Most parents with an autistic child will tell you that they experience a lot of prejudice and a profound lack of assistance when they try to access Early Intervention Services. Receiving a diagnosis is still a tough uphill battle which is further compounded by our government’s typical catch twenty two stance, i.e. when an autistic child passes the age of five they are then considered too old to avail of the HSE (Irish Health Service Executive) Early Intervention Services.

If you are affected by the issues in this article then please consider clicking on the link to my petitions page or my facebook page to help improve Ireland's autism services for all of Ireland's autistic children.






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