Thousands of Irish children are on waiting lists for autism assessment
These are shocking figures.
Right now, more than 3500 children in Ireland are waiting on disability assessment – including autism diagnosis.
These 'assessments of needs' will essentially determine whether or not a child is diagnosed with a disability – such as for instance autism – and if diagnosed, receive the care and help they are entitled to.
What is worse, according to Newstalk, at least 83 percent of these assessments are now more than three months late.
Legally, the HSE is obliged to have these assessments finished within six months, but this target is not met in many cases, an issue that has now resulted in the long wait times for these assessments.
Lorraine Dempsey, the interim chief executive of Inclusion Ireland, says the assessments are vital.
"If a parent wanted their child enrolled in an autism-specific class, because they're exhibiting all of those signs and there's a question mark over it without the actual clinical diagnosis on paper by a psychologist, the parent can't even apply for a place in those classes," Dempsey explains.
"There are certain barriers that children will face if they don't get a specific diagnosis."