Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described the delays in accessing assessment and supports for children with special needs in his constituency as “cruel, inhumane and unacceptable in 21st century Ireland”. A reply in recent days from the HSE to Teachta Crowe said that within the Disability Services in Dublin South West, the waiting time for services in the School Age Team is approximately 59 months and for the Early Intervention Team is 30 months, with 550 children now waiting an assessment. Teachta Crowe said: “550 children, many with profound and special needs, are waiting for an assessment in Dublin South West according to a reply I received today from the HSE. “This is happening in 21st century Ireland, under a government that lost the last election, under a Health Minister who triggered that election because he lacked the confidence of Dáil.
“Waiting lists are getting longer and access to supports for children with special needs are getting longer every year to match. “I originally put this assessment question to the caretaker Minister for Health Simon Harris, but he referred it on to HSE. “Within Disability Services in Dublin South West, the current waiting timefor services in the School Age Team is approximately 59 months and for the Early Intervention Team it is 30 months. For Early Intervention, a child must wait almost 3 years.
“This is inhumane and cruel. It is the most vulnerable children in this area who being left behind without an assessment and consequently without crucial supports. “Roughly 70% of the children who require an assessment are thought to be on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. “Parents who can afford or can borrow the legal costs have resorted to going to the courts in many cases to get an assessment “COVID-19 restrictions will only add to these waiting lists according to the HSE reply and will mean an even longer waiting time for the children and their families.
“How is this any way acceptable? “There is also no plan in place that I am aware of to fix or shorten these waiting lists any time soon. The current system is broken and there are no plans in place to fix it. “Minister Harris needs to tell these families and the 550 children why they are not getting an assessment. Why their issue is not being addressed Why they are being left behind without help and supports. And why they are being left without any hope of change anytime soon.”