Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the 42 month delay for children accessing speech and language supports from a school in Dublin 24 as appalling and said that the concept of early intervention has been shredded.
Speech and language therapy is delivered through Chambers House in Tallaght and a disability team are responsible for multi-disciplinary interventions and individual interventions depending on the needs of the child. The Sinn Féin TD has been informed through a Parliamentary Question that the current waiting time for intake is now 42 months.
Deputy Seán Crowe said
“It is absolutely appalling that children with profound and complex needs in Dublin South West now have to wait 42 months to get their needs assessed and then hopefully addressed.
“There are currently 297 on the waiting list in Dublin South West, with a further 80 awaiting screening. Therefore 377 children are awaiting multi-disciplinary services from the HSE in the Dublin South West School Age Team.
“Clearly additional resources are required to address the backlog as the teams in Dublin South West are unable to meet the current and growing demand for help. The latest census would suggest that the growing population and the increasing prevalence of disability means that demand will increase in the time ahead.
“I raised this issue with the previous Minister for Education and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about 6 months ago, but the waiting list is getting bigger and the delays are getting longer and longer.
“Families and parents are at their wits end, with some having to meet the shortfall through private and often costly alternatives. This is not an option for the majority of people whose children are on this long list.
“The policy of early intervention is rubbished if children have to wait 42 months to get access to a team for an assessment and supports.
“The Government is clearly not delivering basic educational supports for the some of the most vulnerable children in our community.
“The Government and its collection of Ministers in Education, Health, Disability, and Children need to get involved in this issue. It is absolutely appalling that any child with complex needs and without the ability to talk should be left years without an intervention. They should hold their collective heads in shame.”