ASD affects many adults and children across the constituency. I want to encourage people with autism spectrum disorder, parents and clinicians to make submissions to a HSE review of autism supports and services. I want to ensure that people with ASD in Dun Laoghaire have access to the necessary supports to enable them to reach their full potential and live rich and fulfilling lives.
I recognise the need for a strategic approach to enhancing the responsiveness and effectiveness of local services to meet the evolving needs of people with ASD.
Following feedback from the constituency, I have been in constant communication with my Cabinet colleague, Minister for Health Simon Harris, highlighting the need for such a review. The HSE has set up a working group to consider the effectiveness of existing services, to identify models of good practice among such services and to identify practice models that are not having a positive impact.
It is important that we identify where in the country services are operating well and where they are not. The HSE has now invited submissions from service users, parents and practitioners and I want to encourage people to take the opportunity to have their voices heard.
“Three workshops will also be held in September with key advocates and NGOs: Disability Federation of Ireland; the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies and Inclusion Ireland and the working group will report on its findings by the end of September.
The Department of Health will initiate an epidemiological research study into the prevalence and future projections for autism spectrum disorder later this year to allow us to plan for the future and future-proof our strategies for people with autism.
Following the advancement of this work, the Minister has told me he intends to proceed next year with a national strategy for enhancing the health service response to people with ASD.
Further information on the review, including how to make your submission, can be found here
The closing date for submissions is 12 September 2017.