Jacinta Walsh from Autism Support Louth & Meath says there is a lot more to be done to support families of both children and adults affected by autism. Speaking this week during Autism Awareness Month Jacinta said that while there are more education places available nowadays not a lot else has improved in relation to supports since the group was founded in 2002.
“Autism Support Louth & Meath are a self-help support group formed by parents of children with Autism in 2002 in order to provide an appropriate education for our children as there were no appropriate school places at the time. We support families from all over Louth and Meath and lobby TD’s and councillors looking to get some help and support for people with autism,” explained Jacinta.
“Our goal is simple: to improve the lives of those living on the autism spectrum and the families that love them. Unfortunately, parents are waiting up to two years and sometimes more to get their child assessed. We feel the government needs to do much more to ensure that people with autism can live their lives fully and equally and we fight every day to try and make that happen,” stated Jacinta.
“We know it is a complex issue and we know that there are a lot more people being diagnosed with autism now than there were twenty years ago when we first started this group. There has been a huge increase in the demand for supports and unfortunately there is a shortage of qualified therapists and a high turnover of staff in this area. Like with everything there are areas around the country where there is adequate services but unfortunately there are many pockets where the services available are simply not good enough.
“We know there is a lot of very good people working in the HSE doing their very best under difficult circumstances but they need help and we will continue to lobby the government asking for more money to be put into this area to support both those with autism and their families,” concluded Jacinta.