Over 11,000 children have been waiting at least a year for first assessment with an occupational therapist
According to Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk earlier this week, more than 11,000 children have been waiting at least one year for their first assessment with an occupational therapist.
In total, according to the HSE, close to 21,000 children are waiting for their first assessment with an occupational therapist.
The interim Chief Executive of Inclusion Ireland Lorraine Dempsey spoke to Newstalk over the week, and revealed that the new figures are ineed “very concerning.”
“If there is a question mark over a child and their development – maybe they are not within the expected developmental goals that a parent might have anticipated – first of all there is the fear of the unknown, particularly if you felt that your child should have been able to do certain things, and wonder what is behind that,” Dempsey said.
“That really is worrying for the parent because the full weight of that is on their shoulders.”
The problem, Dempsey explained, is that any delay in assessing a child’s needs means that there is then a knock-on delay in terms of putting together a programme of intervention to help them.
According to Newstalk, the area with the highest number of children waiting more than a year includes Kildare, west Wicklow and parts of south and west Dublin.
There are 1,836 kids waiting over a year in this area.
The second hardest hit area includes Cork and Kerry, where 1,727 are waiting, while the country's third-worst region is the Midlands, Louth and Meath – where 1,657 children are waiting over a year.