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Jim Jackman (Former President of the National Parents Council PP)
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Margaret Kerslake
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Maria Mc Grath
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Terri O Toole
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Ann Reynolds
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Geoff & Emma keegan
Header image alt text

9th May 2016
REPDR-16-01241
Cllr Francis Timmons,
16 Cherrywood Villas,
Clondalkin,
Dublin 22.
E-mail: ftimmons@cllrs.sdublincoco.ie

Dear Cllr Timmons,

This office has been requested to reply directly to you in the context of your representation to the Minister for Health concerning the number of people waiting for speech and language assessments and Language therapy.
HSE Response

Speech and Language Therapy Services

Each individual that presents to the HSE’s Speech and Language Therapy Service has an initial assessment to determine their individual need for therapy. The therapist in conjunction with the parent(s) or carer will determine the severity of the individual’s difficulties and prioritise for therapy accordingly. The level of intervention is in line with clinical policy, age and severity of the diagnosis. The waiting period for intervention is dependent on the nature and severity of the disorder following assessment.
The HSE aims to ensure that the resources available are used to best effect, in order to provide assessment and ongoing therapy to children and adults in line with their prioritised needs. Along with the significant investment in area of speech and language therapists employed in recent years, a range of new approaches have been developed and used in many Speech and Language Therapy services across the country. These include providing structures, training and support to parents /carers so that they can work to help improve the individual’s speech and language. In addition, therapy is delivered in group settings where appropriate.
The data outlined below represents all speech and language therapy services provided directly by the HSE and the majority of speech and language therapy services provided by voluntary agencies.

The tables below set out the number of children and adults waiting on assessment and intervention for speech and language therapy to end of December 2015. Please note that the HSE does not currently collect data on the age breakdown of numbers awaiting Speech & Language Therapy

Assessment/Treatment.

The HSE is committed to working in partnership with other service providers to achieve maximum benefits for children and adults with speech and language therapy requirements, and aims to ensure that the speech and language therapy resources available are used in the most effective manner possible.

Number awaiting Assessment

Number Waiting Initial Assessment – 0 to 4 months
10,594
Number Waiting Initial Assessment – 4 months & 1 day to 8 months
3,021
Number Waiting Initial Assessment – 8 months & 1 day to 12 months
1,166
Number Waiting Initial Assessment – 12 months & 1 day to 18 months
346
Number Waiting Initial Assessment – 18 months & 1 day to 24 months
90
Number awaiting Initial Therapy
Number Waiting Initial Therapy – 0 to 4 months
3,540
Number Waiting Initial Therapy – 4 months & 1 day to 8 months
2,211
Number Waiting Initial Therapy – 8 months & 1 day to 12 months
1,315
Number Waiting Initial Therapy – 12 months & 1 day to 18 months
1,137
Number Waiting Initial Therapy – 18 months & 1 day to 24 months
821

Service Improvement Initiative

The HSE does not just focus on waiting numbers and access times although the Primary Care and Social Care Divisions are addressing waiting lists in Speech and Language therapy as a joint project, with a cross divisional team working on the detailed analysis of waiting times and resource deployment across the country. Regular reports are now being compiled by each division containing analysis by CHO (and county) of the waiting lists and waiting times by category of referral and whether clients are awaiting assessment or treatment. The work on this is ongoing, with actions planned or already underway as follows:-

Validating the assessment and treatment waiting lists

Standardising the prioritisation system

Increasing the number of Speech and Language Therapy Drop-In Assessment Clinics

Agreeing flexible opening hours in the context of evening and week-end sessions for group sessions and parent education

Setting target and performance indicators to be allocated

Recruiting additional therapists, assistant therapists and support staff on fixed term/specified purpose contracts specifically for this initiative

Providing for maternity leave substitute posts

Reviewing existing practice, examples of innovation and international best evidence to agree a new model of care for speech and language therapy relating to both assessment and treatment

Agreeing performance monitoring and measurement arrangements against the targets set and the additional funding available.
Therapy services for adults and children are generally delivered through Primary Care Teams or community therapy services; through specialist disability providers or Early Intervention and Children’s Teams for 0-18 years, which are continually being developed under Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (0-18yrs) Programme. In 2013, additional funding of €20m was provided to strengthen primary care services. This comprised over €18.5m for the recruitment of over 260 primary care team posts and over €1.4m to support community intervention team development. Additional funding of €4 million was also provided for the Primary Care Speech and Language initiative in 2016.

Progressing Disability Services for Children & Young People (0-18 years)

The HSE has commenced the reconfiguration of children’s disability services into geographically-based early-intervention and school-aged teams as part of the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People Programme. The objective of the Programme is to provide one clear referral pathway for all children (0-18s), irrespective of their disability, where they live or the school they attend.

Some HSE Areas have already reconfigured into interdisciplinary Children’s Disability Network Teams whilst others are developing their reconfiguration and implementation plan. The Programme is being implemented on a phased basis with final areas to be reconfigured by 2016. Note that all HSE Areas planning reconfiguration continue to have significant Early Intervention Services in place, provided either directly by the HSE, including Beechpark Autism Services or by voluntary service providers funded by the HSE, such as Enable Ireland, Kare, Muriosa Foundation, St. John of God Services, Brothers of Charity Services, St. Michael’s House, Cope Foundation, CRC, Daughters of Charity Services etc.

In 2014, the roll out of the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People (0-18s) Programme entailed targeted investment of €4m and the provision of 80 additional therapy staff (including 27.5 Speech and Language Therapists), to increase services for children with all disabilities.

A further €6m allocation was announced in 2015 for the reconfiguration of children’s disability services, which will enable us to drive implementation of the Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People Programme through 120 new staff appointments to reconfigured multi-disciplinary, geographic-based teams, and through using innovative approaches, involving public, voluntary and private providers, to achieve targeted reduction of waiting lists. These include 35.5 Speech and Language Therapists.
Further funding of €4m was announced in the 2016 National Service Plan to provide 75 additional therapy posts, including 25.5 speech and language therapists, which will see the establishment of the full 129 Children’s Disability Network Teams by the end of the year. This initiative is being implemented in the context of fully supporting the implementation of the Report of the Inter-departmental Group on Supporting Access to Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) for Children with a Disability.

The HSE is working in partnership with DCYA to implement the IDG Supporting Access to the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme for children with a disability. This will include reviewing current models of good practice supporting families and preschools and ensuring similar good models are implemented across the country for all children, as appropriate. Special schools will remain in place until the report is fully implemented and evaluated over a number of years. It is envisaged that a small number of children with highly complex needs will continue to need special preschool setting.

These measures will have a positive impact on the provision of clinical services for all children requiring access to health related supports including Speech and Language Therapy.

Yours sincerely,
Marion Meany,
Head of Operations and Service Improvement,
Disability Services, Social Care Division

This is hugely welcome – people with a disability have waited 144 years , i have been campaigning for this and its another huge step on the Rights and Equality ladder –

Official Inclusion Ireland Press Release: “Inclusion Ireland has welcomed the historical passing of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 in Dáil Éireann today. This ground-breaking piece of legislation brings about the long-awaited repeal of the Victorian-era Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 and the Marriage of Lunatics Act 1811. The passing of the Capacity Bill will result in significant improvements in the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities as their ability to make decisions for themselves will be enshrined in law.”

More than 600,000 people are living with a disability in Ireland.  Two in three of us know or care for an immediate family member, a friend or a neighbour living with a disability.

Disability is the biggest issue of our time but it does not receive the political leadership, attention and commitment needed to make Ireland a truly modern, truly equal Republic.

People living with disabilities, and their families, encounter inequalities, barriers and biases daily, from accessing public transport and health services, to enrolling in education or finding a job. Almost everything is more difficult and has more barriers if you are living with a disability.

Does this seem fair to you?

In the 2016 election I am campaigning for an end to this type of unfairnesss – to end discrimination against people with disabilities.

I am committed to making Ireland a fairer place to live and make disability a priority in the new Programme for Government.
Disable Inequality is a campaign of Disability Federation of Ireland, the national organsiation of 132 voluntary disability organisations in Ireland

 

We voted overwhelmingly recently for a yes Vote for Equality for LGBT in the Civil Marriage Referendum but we still have much inequality in our Great country. People with Disability are among the most disadvantaged and marginalized citizens in our country. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international agreement directed at changing attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. Ireland was one of the first EU member states to sign the Convention when it was opened for signature on March 30th, 2007.However, almost eight years have passed and persons with disabilities and their families are still waiting for Ireland to make the CRPD a part of Irish law. A big barrier to Ireland ratifying the CRPD is the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.

The Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 referred to people in such awful terms as ‘idiot’, ‘lunatic’ and ‘unsound mind’ and there are currently over two and a half thousand people in Ireland who are Wards of Court on account of age, intellectual disability, mental illness or brain injury.

As we approach the eight-year anniversary of Ireland signing the CRPD, we need to repeal the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 and it is only fitting that we at last introduce the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill.

People with a disability have being waiting 144 years for equality and there time has come we need to change the Law now. It is vital that as we approach the centenary of 1916 that all our children are treated equally. A nationwide discussion is needed on how we treat people with a disability and a system of direct payments must be introduced so every person has a individual choice over their own lives.

Factsheet on the Assisted Decision Making Bill; October 2015

What is Assisted Decision Making?

This means that a person whose Decision-Making capacity is in question can appoint a person to assist, co-decide or represent them for the purpose of making a decision.

Why might my capacity be ‘in question’?

The Bill does not limit the provisions to a person with a disability or impairment. It sets out a functional test that outlines a person’s capacity. Everyone is to be presumed to be able to make all decisions unless the contrary is shown.

What is the definition of capacity?

It is the ability to understand, at the time that a decision is to be made, the nature and consequences of the decision to be made by him or her in the context of the available choices at that time.

How is capacity decided?

A person can be said to lack capacity to make a decision if they are not able to

 understand the information relevant to the decision,

 retain that information long enough to make a voluntary choice,

 use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision,

 to communicate his or her decision in whatever way they communicate (not only verbally)

If I lack capacity, what does that mean?

A person cannot lack capacity as a decision maker but may lack capacity to make a particular decision at a particular time. This capacity may be regained at a different time and for a different decision.

What is the Decision Support Service (DSS)?

The DSS is a part of the court service established to deal with assistant decision making. A Director will be named to promote public awareness of the law, information and guidance, develop codes of practice, advise state bodies, make investigations and keep a record of assistance agreements and reports from representatives.

What about ‘informal decision-making’

There is no scope for ‘informal decision-making’ to be made. If an individual is not making their own decisions or requires support then one of the structures outlined below will need to be utilised. Page2

This table outlines the structures in the Bill and the main elements
Who is the ‘appointer’? A person over 18 whose capacity is in question
Structure Assistance Co-Decision Making Decision-making representative
What is it? Appointer chooses an assistant to assist with decisions on personal welfare or property andaffairs, or both Appointer chooses a co-decision maker to jointly make one or more decision on personal welfare or property and affairs. A applies to court to be made a decision-making representative and be given decision making powers.
Who can the person be? A person chosen by the appointer.Appointer can have more than one assistant but only one per particular decision A person chosen by the appointer.A relative or friend of the appointer who has had such personal contact over such period of time that a relationship of trust exists between them. Any person who is 18 years or older and who has a bona fide interest in the welfare of a relevant person.The court will consider the will and preferences of the individual and family structures.
What’s the role? Role of the assistant is to Get the information needed to make a decision

 advise on the decision by explaining the information

 get the will and preferences of the appointer

 assist the appointer to make and express a decision,

 Try to ensure that the appointer’s decisions are carried out

The role of the co-decision-maker is to Get the information needed to make a decision

 advise on decisions

 Make decisions together with the appointer

 Find out the will and preferences of the appointer

 Help the person express a decision,

 ensure that the appointer’s relevant decisions are implemented.

The role of the decision-making representative is to take decisions on personal welfare or property and affairs, or both

 Report into the Director of the DSS

 Keep accounts and records.

Phase 2 of the consultation process – new National Disability Inclusion Strategy

We need the enactment of 1) Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2013 and 2) The Special Educational Needs Act 2004 3) an end to institutionalized Living and 4) real inclusion 5) Direct Payments

Motions

I have had the following motions passed at South Dublin County Council

  1. MEETING OF SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY COUNCIL Monday, December 08, 2014 MOTION NO. 24 MOTION: Councillor F. Timmons

That South Dublin County Council calls for the enactment of the Assisted Decision Making Bill 2013 in order to fulfill our requirements under Article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Equal Recognition Before the Law.

REPORT:  the motion passed and the terms of the motion where forwarded to the Minister for Justice and Equality and, when received, a copy of the reply will be circulated to the Members.

  1. MEETING OF SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY COUNCIL Monday, July 13, 2015 MOTION NO.1 MOTION: Councillor F. Timmons

That SDDC ask that the EPSEN Act 2004 be enacted or updated to meet current needs

REPORT: The motion refers to the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004. If the motion passed and a letter was issued to the Minister for Education & Skills.

  1. MEETING OF SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY COUNCIL Monday, October 13, 2014 MOTION NO. 25 MOTION: Councillor F. Timmons

That SDCC recognizes that all people with a Disability have a right to full and meaningful participation and active inclusion in an accessible, safe and disability friendly environment. That SDCC will ensure that people with a disability will be a priority when planning and developing the new development plan,

REPORT: It is agreed that all people with a disability have a right to a full and meaningful participation and active inclusion in an accessible, safe and disability friendly environment. The County Development Plan must consider the needs of all persons who live, work in or visit the County, including those with a disability.

  1. MEETING OF CLONDALKIN AREA COMMITTEE Wednesday, November 19, 2014 MOTION NO. 1 MOTION: Councillor F. Timmons

That this Area Committee recognises that all people with a Disability have a right to a full and meaningful participation and active inclusion in an accessible , safe and disability friendly environment. That SDCC will ensure that people with a disability will be a priority when planning and developing the new development plan.

REPORT: It is agreed that all people with a disability have a right to a full and meaningful participation and active inclusion in an accessible, safe and disability friendly environment. The County Development Plan must consider the needs of all persons who live, work in or visit the County, including those with a disability.

  1. MEETING OF SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY COUNCIL Monday, January 12, 2015 MOTION NO.12 MOTION: Councillor F. Timmons

That following recent revelations about care in homes for people with an Intellectual disability, SDCC calls on the Government to instruct HIQA to carry out un-announced inspections and to ensure HIQA has the necessary powers to conduct investigations (covert or otherwise) into all services dealing with Vulnerable people and introduce legislation establishing a Personal Advocacy Service with statutory powers to ensure respectful, dignified and person-centred/personal-choice led care practices in all disability services.

REPORT: The motion passed and the terms of the motion where forwarded

My speeches on the issues at South Dublin County Council

2) The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill.

We voted overwhelmingly recently for a yes Vote for Equality for LGBT in the Civil Marriage Referendum but we still have much inequality in our Great country. People with Disability are among the most disadvantaged and marginalized citizens in our country. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international agreement directed at changing attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. Ireland was one of the first EU member states to sign the Convention when it was opened for signature on March 30th, 2007.However, almost eight years have passed and persons with disabilities and their families are still waiting for Ireland to make the CRPD a part of Irish law. A big barrier to Ireland ratifying the CRPD is the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.

The Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 refers to people in such awful terms as ‘idiot’, ‘lunatic’ and ‘unsound mind’ and there are currently over two and a half thousand people in Ireland who are Wards of Court on account of age, intellectual disability, mental illness or brain injury.

The current Government made assurances in the 2011 Programme for Government that there would be movement in this area. However, we now face a race against time to enact the 2013 Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill before the General Election in 2016. As we approach the eight-year anniversary of Ireland signing the CRPD, we need to repeal the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 and introduce the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill.

People with a disability have being waiting 144 years for equality and there time has come we need to change the Law now. It is vital that as we approach the centenary of 1916 that all our children are treated equally. A nationwide discussion is needed on how we treat people with a disability and a system of direct payments must be introduced so every person has a individual choice over their own lives.

2) The EPSEN act 2004

The EPSEN act 2004 needs to be enacted to protect the right for every child with Special Education needs to access a supported education which promotes integration and inclusion throughout their education.

The EU Charter of right (2010) state article 26 Integration of persons with disabilities: -The union recognises and respects the right of persons with disabilities to benefit from measures designed to ensure independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community.

We voted overwhelmingly recently for a yes Vote for Equality for LGBT in the Civil Marriage Referendum but we still have much inequality in our Great country. People with Disability are among the most disadvantaged, Vulnerable and marginalized citizens in our country despite a lot of progress in the last 20 years.

The 2014 statistics show that Diagnosis of Children with ASD is 1 in 68.

Lucan Autism Network is a parent to parent support group. They undertook research which they completed in April 15 The report is very detailed and I am just highlighting some parts of it. The research found:

  • Parents are faced with the option of either placing their children outside of their community or forced to settle for the sub optimal setting of mainstream school, home schooled or a non ASD class in a special school setting.
  • Recommended SEN supports are not always available or being provided in the child’s school placement.
  • Insufficient SNA allocation and resource teaching access had a negative impact on children with ASD accessing their education.
  • There is a significant lack of ASD class places available at secondary level in the Lucan area despite a growing need within the primary school level.

The effects of Placement outside of local communities for People with ASD

  • Lengthy travel times – some report up to 3 to 4 Hours a day
  • Sensory impact where children need more breaks dues to long and confined journeys
  • Cost of transport
  • No opportunity to socialise with peers locally
  • Detrimental effects on student mental health and wellbeing
  • Confusion where to send children and delays in staring and accessing schooling

One parent reported having to sit with her child in a resource class for 45 minutes as there was no one available for him at these times. Many parents report long (2 plus years) waiting lists for HSE Therapists or no access at all. These services are vital for the development of children with ASD in supporting them to access education.

There is currently no ASD Early education intervention or pre-school facilities in Lucan.

Parents of Children with ASD attending mainstream pre-schools report a lack on SEN trained teachers, SNAs trained in ASD and therefore inadequate supports.

One parent says ‘’I could not find any Early intervention preschools/Montessori’s etc. for children with ASD when my son was diagnosed, we travel to Blanchardstown for my son to go to Montessori, that takes an hour in the morning’’

In Lucan there is over 25 people looking for 6 places for an ASD Class placements for September 2015.

One local parent says ‘’the amount of schools both primary and secondary in this area, and the fact that very few have ASD units is truly shocking …. Clearly there are insufficient  places at this point my son has had to have several periods of Home tuition to fill ‘Gaps’ due to lack of or inappropriate placement’’

All Schools should embrace and accept the diversity of Children with special education needs whilst safeguarding their constitutional right to an appropriate education. Diversity and difference is not something to be learned, rather it is an innate expectation and element of every part of school life.

Another parent says ‘’A secondary school in Lucan enrolment policy required a child to spend 1st six months in mainstream – my son cants manage an hour in primary school let alone six months .. She feels there is ‘’no secondary school ASD units with sensible policies’’

Our proclamation says that we will cherish all the children of the nation equally .If we are serious about Equality and Inclusion for all let us reach out to our brothers and sister that live with ASD and let them know that society cherishes them as equal citizens and will provide all necessary supports that will enable them live as full lives as possible.

One of the main Barriers is Lack of legislation to protect the rights of children with ASD and SEN.  One of the many recommendation of the Lucan Autism Network was to have the EPSEN act 2004 enacted

3) HIQA

As someone that has worked and supported people in various care settings for nearly 25 years, I felt Horror and disgust as I watched Prime time as once again the Prime time team showed us another example of neglect and miss treatment of vulnerable people in Irish society, this time intellectual disability in Aras Attracta. It is clear that while welcome that HIQA is failing to protect the most vulnerable in our society, we need CCTV , unannounced and undercover investigations into all services working with vulnerable people. It is also clear to me that criminal proceeding must be brought against those that engage in such degrading, disrespectful and abusive behaviour towards vulnerable people. It is very clear that the government has and continues to fail our most vulnerable in Ireland. All the talk about inclusion and integration in society has for many been just talk. We need legislation to be updates immediately and enforced with heavy sanctions for those that don’t comply. I got the following motion passed at the October Clondalkin area committee ‘’ That SDCC recognises that all people with a Disability have a right to full and meaningful participation and active inclusion in an accessible , safe and disability friendly environment. That SDCC will ensure that people with a disability will be a priority when planning and developing the new development plan’’ and for January meeting I got the following motions passed ‘’ That South Dublin County Council calls for the enactment of the Assisted Decision Making Bill 2013 in order to fulfill our requirements under Article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Equal Recognition Before the Law.’’ And ‘’That following recent revelations about care in homes for people with Intellectual disability , SDCC calls on the Government to instruct HIQA to carry out un-announced and undercover investigations into all service dealing with Vulnerable people and introduced legislation that protects and enforced respectful , Dignified and people first choice led care practices in all services.’’

 

We voted overwhelmingly recently for a yes Vote for Equality for LGBT in the Civil Marriage Referendum but we still have much inequality in our Great country. People with Disability are among the most disadvantaged and marginalized citizens in our country. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international agreement directed at changing attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. Ireland was one of the first EU member states to sign the Convention when it was opened for signature on March 30th, 2007.However, almost eight years have passed and persons with disabilities and their families are still waiting for Ireland to make the CRPD a part of Irish law. A big barrier to Ireland ratifying the CRPD is the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.

The Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 refers to people in such awful terms as ‘idiot’, ‘lunatic’ and ‘unsound mind’ and there are currently over two and a half thousand people in Ireland who are Wards of Court on account of age, intellectual disability, mental illness or brain injury.

The current Government made assurances in the 2011 Programme for Government that there would be movement in this area. However, we now face a race against time to enact the 2013 Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill before the General Election in 2016. As we approach the eight-year anniversary of Ireland signing the CRPD, we need to repeal the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 and introduce the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill.

People with a disability have being waiting 144 years for equality and there time has come we need to change the Law now. It is vital that as we approach the centenary of 1916 that all our children are treated equally. A nationwide discussion is needed on how we treat people with a disability and a system of direct payments must be introduced so every person has a individual choice over their own lives.

 

 

The EPSEN act 2004 needs to be enacted to protect the right for every child with Special Education needs to access a supported education which promotes integration and inclusion throughout their education.

The EU Charter of right (2010) state article 26 Integration of persons with disabilities: -The union recognises and respects the right of persons with disabilities to benefit from measures designed to ensure independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community.

We voted overwhelmingly recently for a yes Vote for Equality for LGBT in the Civil Marriage Referendum but we still have much inequality in our Great country. People with Disability are among the most disadvantaged, Vulnerable and marginalized citizens in our country despite a lot of progress in the last 20 years.

The 2014 statistics show that Diagnosis of Children with ASD is 1 in 68.

Lucan Autism Network is a parent to parent support group. They undertook research which they completed in April 15 The report is very detailed and I am just highlighting some parts of it. The research found:

  • Parents are faced with the option of either placing their children outside of their community or forced to settle for the sub optimal setting of mainstream school, home schooled or a non ASD class in a special school setting.
  • Recommended SEN supports are not always available or being provided in the child’s school placement.
  • Insufficient SNA allocation and resource teaching access had a negative impact on children with ASD accessing their education.
  • There is a significant lack of ASD class places available at secondary level in the Lucan area despite a growing need within the primary school level.

The effects of Placement outside of local communities for People with ASD

  • Lengthy travel times – some report up to 3 to 4 Hours a day
  • Sensory impact where children need more breaks dues to long and confined journeys
  • Cost of transport
  • No opportunity to socialise with peers locally
  • Detrimental effects on student mental health and wellbeing
  • Confusion where to send children and delays in staring and accessing schooling

One parent reported having to sit with her child in a resource class for 45 minutes as there was no one available for him at these times. Many parents report long (2 plus years) waiting lists for HSE Therapists or no access at all. These services are vital for the development of children with ASD in supporting them to access education.

There is currently no ASD Early education intervention or pre-school facilities in Lucan.

Parents of Children with ASD attending mainstream pre-schools report a lack on SEN trained teachers, SNAs trained in ASD and therefore inadequate supports.

One parent says ‘’I could not find any Early intervention preschools/Montessori’s etc. for children with ASD when my son was diagnosed, we travel to Blanchardstown for my son to go to Montessori, that takes an hour in the morning’’

In Lucan there is over 25 people looking for 6 places for an ASD Class placements for September 2015.

One local parent says ‘’the amount of schools both primary and secondary in this area, and the fact that very few have ASD units is truly shocking …. Clearly there are insufficient  places at this point my son has had to have several periods of Home tuition to fill ‘Gaps’ due to lack of or inappropriate placement’’

All Schools should embrace and accept the diversity of Children with special education needs whilst safeguarding their constitutional right to an appropriate education. Diversity and difference is not something to be learned, rather it is an innate expectation and element of every part of school life.

Another parent says ‘’A secondary school in Lucan enrolment policy required a child to spend 1st six months in mainstream – my son cants manage an hour in primary school let alone six months .. She feels there is ‘’no secondary school ASD units with sensible policies’’

Our proclamation says that we will cherish all the children of the nation equally .If we are serious about Equality and Inclusion for all let us reach out to our brothers and sister that live with ASD and let them know that society cherishes them as equal citizens and will provide all necessary supports that will enable them live as full lives as possible.

One of the main Barriers is Lack of legislation to protect the rights of children with ASD and SEN.  One of the many recommendation of the Lucan Autism Network was to have the EPSEN act 2004 enacted

As someone that has worked and supported people in various care settings for nearly 25 years, I felt Horror and disgust as I watched Prime time as once again the Prime time team showed us another example of neglect and miss treatment of vulnerable people in Irish society, this time intellectual disability in Aras Attracta. It is clear that while welcome that HIQA is failing to protect the most vulnerable in our society, we need CCTV , unannounced and undercover investigations into all services working with vulnerable people. It is also clear to me that criminal proceeding must be brought against those that engage in such degrading, disrespectful and abusive behaviour towards vulnerable people. It is very clear that the government has and continues to fail our most vulnerable in Ireland. All the talk about inclusion and integration in society has for many been just talk. We need legislation to be updates immediately and enforced with heavy sanctions for those that don’t comply. I got the following motion passed at the October Clondalkin area committee ‘’ That SDCC recognises that all people with a Disability have a right to full and meaningful participation and active inclusion in an accessible , safe and disability friendly environment. That SDCC will ensure that people with a disability will be a priority when planning and developing the new development plan’’ and for January meeting I got the following motions passed ‘’ That South Dublin County Council calls for the enactment of the Assisted Decision Making Bill 2013 in order to fulfill our requirements under Article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Equal Recognition Before the Law.’’ And ‘’That following recent revelations about care in homes for people with Intellectual disability , SDCC calls on the Government to instruct HIQA to carry out un-announced and undercover investigations into all service dealing with Vulnerable people and introduced legislation that protects and enforced respectful , Dignified and people first choice led care practices in all services.’’

My speech in Peamount 1-12-14 at the Tree Lighting Ceremony

I am very honoured as a former staff member and as a Former Parents and Friends member to be at this event in Peamount today. I spent many happy years working here.

Today is about Inclusion and celebration

• Inclusion is about ALL of us
• Inclusion is about living full lives – about learning to live together.
• Inclusion treasures diversity and builds community.
• Inclusion is about our ‘abilities’ – our gifts and how to share them

In 1955 the story of a brave and tired woman named Rosa Parks was put in front of the world and created awareness. They say this woman had gotten tired, in fact, historically tired of being denied equality. She wanted to be included in society in a full way, something which was denied to people labelled as “black” people! So Rosa Parks sat down on a bus in a section reserved for “white” people. When Rosa was told to go to “her place” at the back of the bus, she refused to move, was arrested, and history was challenged and changed. All of this happened because Rosa Parks was tired, historically tired of being excluded. She had sat down and thereby stood up for inclusion! Fighting for inclusion also involves assuring that all support systems are available to those who need such support. Providing and maintaining support systems are a civic responsibility, not a favor.

On SDCC I as part of the ruling Progressive alliance I am very committed to Disability and inclusion. As an independent I have had the following motion passed

”That the clondalkin Area Committee recognizes that all people with a Disability have a right to a full and meaningful participation and active inclusion in an accessible , safe and disability friendly environment. That SDCC will ensure that people with a disability will be a priority when planning and developing the new development plan.”

Work on this plan for 2016 will start next year and I will be pushing for a very inclusive plan going forward.

How would you feel waiting for 143 years to have your human rights acknowledged in law? People with Disability have and still have to live by a 1871 act when it comes to making decisions. We where promised the 2008 Capacity bill but this was never enacted , we now await the enactment of the Assisted Decision Making Bill 2013 People with a disability need clarification now. So My Motion for December SDCC Council meeting is
”That South Dublin County Council calls for the enactment of the Assisted Decision Making Bill 2013 in order to fulfil our requirements under Article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Equal Recognition Before the Law.”

I want to let everyone one in Peamount know that you have a friend and ally on SDCC that will work hard on Inclusion issues. I want to finish of by wishing everyone in Peamount the Clients, The staff, families and friends a peaceful, joyful and happy Christmas as we start our celebrations today.

My motion for January council meeting is

41941 Councillor F. Timmons County Council Motions 04/12/2014
“South Dublin County Council calls on the Minister for Health to review and regulate assessment policy and procedure by the HSE, and in particular HSE in SDCC to ensure that those assessments are fully client-centred, timely and thorough, and that the rights and wishes of the client are respected and accommodated; that therapies, mobility aids and housing adaptations are fully agreed with the client before being issued. Furthermore, that therapies, mobility aids and housing adaptations are recognised as a Right, not a luxury, and defined as such by the World Heath Organisation (WHO) and Disability Act 2005 to facilitate independent living; that provision be made within the budget for therapies, mobility aids and adaptations which are of high quality and fit for purpose, and to ensure quality of service, that performance indicators are factored into the assessment procedure.

And Decembers is

41639 Councillor F. Timmons County Council December 2014 County Council Meeting
Motions 24/11/2014
That South Dublin County Council calls for the enactment of the Assisted Decision Making Bill 2013 in order to fulfill our requirements under Article 12 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Equal Recognition Before the Law.