April 14, 2020
Dolan seeks clarity for those with autism during lockdown

Sinn Féin MLA Jemma Dolan has sought clarity on guidelines for those on the autistic spectrum being permitted to leave their homes during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA said: 

“Getting outside for exercise is very important to the health and wellbeing of everyone but particularly children and adults on the autism spectrum

“Sometimes, autistic people may need to go to quieter places, away from other people, even if these places are further away from their home. They may also need to be accompanied by a carer or support worker who is not someone they live with.

“A number of people have contacted me to say that the Department of Health and Social Care in Britain have now amended their guidance to those with autism or a learning disability so they can leave their home to travel beyond the local area if and when this is important for their health.

“It is important for those with autism or a learning disability to stay at home and only go out when necessary, to reduce the chance of getting ill or infecting other people. 

“However, the PSNI have said they have not been notified of any changes and therefore people with autism and their families are still concerned about leaving their homes.

“I have written to both the Health Minister Robin Swann and Justice Minister Naomi Long to seek clarification in order to help the families and people affected.”

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