People with autism spectrum disorder, parents and clinicians have been encouraged to make submissions to a HSE review of autism supports and services.
Offaly Fine Gael TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said, “I want to ensure that people with ASD in Offaly 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," she added.
She insisted that she has been in constant communication with her Fine Gael 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.
Deputy Corcoran Kennedy said: “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 for a plan for the future and future-proof 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," Marcella concluded.
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