People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, has demanded that the HSE respond to and inquiry he made about special needs school places, therapists and waiting times for services for special needs children.
After a very successful meeting with parents, People Before Profit had written to the HSE in search of answers as to where the supports for special need children such as Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Special Needs Assistants were.
Children with conditions like ASD, Speech and Language Impairments or Dyspraxia, who are experiencing difficulty acquiring skills such as speech, language and physical coordination, need help from Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) and Occupational Therapists (OTs). They also need support in school from Resource Teachers, Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and special classes.
Deputy Kenny questioned, due to the reports of 26% growth in the Irish economy, where the tax revenue for this increased growth was and why some of it was not being directed to services for special needs children such as SNAs, OTs and SLTs.
Deputy Kenny said: “We have written to the HSE demanding a reduction in waiting times for services and therapy for special needs children and the hiring of more SNAs, OTs and SLTs to work with these children.
“Despite the strong evidence for the success of these inputs, parents and children experience long delays, and are frequently missing services, when they try to access assessments and treatments. 15,000 children are waiting for SLT alone. Waiting times are up to two years in some areas. Therapists on leave are not being replaced and school places are not available locally. This is disgraceful and has to stop immediately. We need investment in these areas.
“It is absolutely criminal that the government are allowing these children to be held back by lack of funding. These children have rights, civil, human but also economic rights where they should be given access to these vital services that are required to live their lives equal to that of their peers.
“I am calling on the government to outline why the funding for these services has been pulled, why it has not being restored and furthermore, what proportion of the 26% economic growth will be taxed and how much of that money will be directed to restoring these services.”