March 10, 2022
Inclusion Ireland report highlights lack of therapeutic interventions in Children’s Disability Services – Pauline Tully TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability, Pauline Tully TD, has welcomed an Inclusion Ireland report that confirms, once again, that the government is not coming close to fulfilling its legal obligations to protect children’s right to access therapeutic interventions.

Teachta Tully said:

“This report confirms that the government is not coming close to fulfilling its legal obligations to protect children’s rights in respect to access to therapeutic interventions. 

“AsIAm and Down Syndrome Ireland have both published similar findings, highlighting confusion and frustration surrounding the new assessments of need process, and the lack of access to follow-on therapeutic interventions.

“Inclusion Ireland highlight the frustration felt by families in respect to the right to an assessment under the Disability Act, and the introduction of a short screening assessment by the HSE, which does not entail a diagnosis.

“Parents expressed anger at these short screenings as they do not provide a diagnosis, which is a requirement to get a child into a special school or class.

“The introduction of the short screening assessment by the HSE was an attempt to hide the true extent of assessments of need waiting lists.

“Once a child has completed this short assessment, they move to another waiting list for further assessment from which, unlike previously, there is no legal obligation on the HSE to complete within a specific timeframe.

“Inclusion Ireland state that ‘having waited for an assessment of need [children] should not have to be waitlisted a second time to receive diagnosis with further waitlisting for intervention’.

“This is a cynical act by government to avoid their legal responsibility to ensure children receive appropriate, comprehensive, clinically ethical and timely assessments of need.

“The report also states that ‘the source of most distress is the wait for assessment followed by the long wait for intervention’.

“50% percent of responses convey that they ‘are not in receipt of any service’ with 85% reporting that their children ‘have waited or continue to wait for more than a year’. 

“Families detailed the distress they felt at being told the interventions needed for their child, only to be told that the scheduled date for intervention would be in two years’ time.

“These and other issues relayed in this report, and previous reports from AsIAm and Down Syndrome Ireland, were integral to the Sinn Féin motion I introduced on Tuesday.

“I welcome that the government did not oppose the motion, but this cannot amount to yet further false promises which are not followed by action.

“Families need more than rhetoric; they need to see real delivery that makes a genuine difference in their children’s lives.

“I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the relevant ministers to discuss how we can now act on my motion to ensure that these changes happen without delay.”

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