Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (678)

Emmet Stagg

Question:

678. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health when speech and language therapy will be provided to a child with autism (details supplied) in County Kildare. [31951/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is fully committed to protecting frontline services, including services for children with disabilities and autism, to the greatest extent possible, notwithstanding the financial constraints within which the health sector must operate. The HSE aims to ensure that therapy resources, such as Speech and Language Therapy services, are used to best effect. There has been significant investment in the area of speech and language therapists in recent years and a range of new approaches have been developed and used in many Speech and Language Therapy services across the country. These include providing structures and training to parents or carers so that they can work with the individual child to improve their speech and language. Therapy is also delivered in group settings, where appropriate.

The policy context for the provision of autism services to children and young people is set out in the HSE National Review of Autism Services: Past, Present and Way Forward Report (2012) and the Progressing Disabilities Services for Children and Young People (0-18s) Programme. The objective of the Progressing Disabilities Programme is to achieve a national, unified approach to delivering disability health services so that there is a clear pathway to the services for all children, regardless of where they live, what school they go to or the nature of their disability. This Programme aims to remedy the variations in service provision that currently persist around the country.

As the particular issue raised by the Deputy relates to an individual case, this is a service matter for the HSE. Accordingly, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.