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Damning survey finds people with Down Syndrome not being supported by HSE

Responding to results of a damning survey from Down Syndrome Ireland, Aontú Leader & Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín, and Aontú Rep for Louth, Michael O’Dowd, have criticised the abandonment of people with Down Syndrome by the HSE and the immediate need for action.

The survey found that families of children with Down Syndrome reported that 65% of those surveyed had received no speech and language therapy in last year, while 44% received no therapy at all.

An Teachta Tóibín said: “65% of those surveyed by DSI have received no speech and language therapy sessions in the last year. 44% have received no therapy of any kind in the past year. Parents have responded that they have received no therapy sessions in over three years. 40% said they had received no communication of any kind from the HSE in the last 12 months. This is abandonment. This is leaving children and young people with Down Syndrome behind. Even the ‘reconfiguration’ of services brought no reprieve, as many didn’t have any services to begin with to be reconfigured. Ireland is a country of unequal access, that discriminates against people with disabilities and sidelines them from society. From assessment waiting lists, to mobility grants, to lack of access to therapies, the government is failing in its duty towards people with disabilities in this country once more.”

Aontú representative for Louth Micheal O’Dowd said: “Nearly 25% of children with Down Syndrome under the age of 5 have received no therapy services. Of young children, only 49% have been to a speech and language therapist, whilst merely 22% have had access to an occupational therapist. The account of one parent of a child aged 2 was particularly troubling: “SLT hasn’t time to do, SLT she is only seeing him for feeding. He is seeing the Physio but we get no exercises or a written plan of any sort. Was given a Walker that we think is too small for him. He is 2 and not walking or talking yet.” Upon entering school, 54% of children have not received any therapies in the last year – with 39% having received no therapy service at all. These are shocking statistics, and show that the appalling state of services and supports for people with disabilities in Ireland continue regardless of who is Minister.”

This piece was first published on Gript. 

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