Press Release

Callely opens International Conference on Asperger Syndrome

Mr Ivor Callely T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, opened the International Conference on Asperger Syndrome in Clontarf Castle on Saturday 8 November 2003.

“I am delighted to be here to officially open this International Conference. My Department is delighted to be associated with Aspire, the Asperger Syndrome Association of Ireland” said the Minister of State.

With a concerted overseas recruitment drive, the introduction of a fast track working visa scheme for health and special care professionals and the streamlining of procedures for the validation of overseas qualifications there has been an employment increase, in the health service, of 73% in occupational therapists, 33% increase in Speech and Language therapists and over 40% increase in the number of fully qualified psychologists over the three years to the end of 2002.

“Progress can best be achieved through partnership whether at national, regional or local level. My Department looks forward to the many changes which will undoubtedly take place in this area.”

Aspire was set up in 1995 by a group of parents to provide support to those families affected by Asperger Syndrome and to encourage research into the condition.

50 years ago, Hans Asperger, a Viennese paediatrician identified a consistent pattern of abilities and behaviours that predominantly occurred in boys. In 1981 these conditions became known as Asperger Syndrome.