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11 Aug 2022

Tipperary TD says he is seeing more families struggling to access Autism supports

Tipperary TD says he is seeing more families struggling to access Autism supports

Tipperary TD says he is seeing more families struggling to access Autism supports

Tipperary TD Alan Kelly has said he is seeing a rise in the number of families struggling to access services for autism at his Nenagh clinic.

Speaking at Wednesday's second stage of the Labour Party's Autism Bill 2022, Mr Kelly said families fight for support from assessments to all through the education system.

"When I started off in politics and doing clinics, I might have one in 20 people come to me to discuss this. Three or four weeks ago, I had 20 appointments in Nenagh, 11 of which had to do with families who had issues with their children with autism and education, early intervention and so on.

"I have been speaking about this for years. I am very passionate about it," said Mr Kelly.

He also called the Government's position on the bill was 'tokenistic' and insulting, and their arguments for not supporting the bill were 'garbage.'

Mr Kelly was responding to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O'Gorman, who said while the Government would not oppose the bill, they did not think of a legislative approach to autism services was appropriate.

He also said the Government was working on its own strategy.

"However, it is the Government's view that legislation is not the most appropriate vehicle for advancing the objectives of the bill, as primary legislation may not evolve sufficiently quickly to address changing realities and in view of the work already underway to develop a national strategy on autism. The development of a national strategy on autism is something we have already taken steps to deliver," said Mr O'Gorman.

The Dáil agreed that the Autism Bill 2022 be read a second time.

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