Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described a three year waiting time for speech and language therapy for a partially deaf child from his constituency as cruel and unacceptable. The child’s parents were informed by HSE officials in Chamber’s House Tallaght that their little girl would have to wait up to three years for the supports and three years for grommets to help overcome the child’s deafness.

The Sinn Féin TD said that the Government and HSE policy of early intervention clearly wasn’t working for many vulnerable children who are desperate need for life changing and essential supports.

Deputy Seán Crowe said: “Speech and language therapy service is vital for children and adolescents who are having difficulties with communication. It encompasses the assessment, diagnosis, management and prevention of speech disorders. “The current system is clearly broken and not delivering at the pace that vulnerable children and their families need.

“Surely no child who desperately needs speech and language supports to communicate should have to wait three long years for supports. The fact that a child is doubly impaired with a hearing defect and has to also wait three years for a simple procedure of putting a grommet in its ear, is cruel and totally unacceptable. “Clearly the HSE system that supposedly delivers early supports and
intervention is not working for many vulnerable children and is holding them back in reaching their full potential. This must be extremely distressing for the child and their parents, who many cases who don’t have the financial resources to go down the private route and pay for expensive private tuition.

“Delays, sometimes involving years of wait, supposedly because of a shortage of speech and language therapists, or for whatever reason, is not acceptable. We need urgent investment and reform in this area.  If we are to build an inclusive society then children that require life changing supports should not be excluded and made wait for years. They need to be catered for in a timely and more responsible way.”