Minister Reilly announces additional funding to address needs of children with Autism
The Minister for Health James Reilly TD today (Friday 13th January 2012) announced the allocation of €1m in additional funding to address the needs of children with autism this year, with a further €1m following over each of the next two years – €3m in total. This funding, which will be reflected in the HSE’s Service Plan, will be focussed on addressing waiting times for specialist therapy services for children who have been diagnosed with autism and on developing Early Intervention Teams.
Speaking at a conference on autism in Galway today (13th January 2012), the Minister said: “For school age children with disabilities, including autism, access to therapy supports contributes significantly to the extent to which they can engage in school life and with the curriculum. In this context, additional funding is being allocated to address existing waiting lists and ensure that children with autism receive the supports they require to achieve their full potential.”
The Minister noted that experts working with children with autism agree that early intervention is critical to improving outcomes for these children. “The importance of early intervention for children with developmental delay has been recognised by my Department, which is working to support the roll-out of Early Intervention Teams nationally as part of the ‘Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People’ programme.” he said. “In this context, additional funding is being allocated to support the development of these Teams, which are the key to delivering improved outcomes for young children.”