Dear MaryS Harney and Hanafin

Hope I got the attention of you ladies as I am aware that your staff are reading the threads.Here we are in 2007; Ireland is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. And there are families in crisis all over these boards because your Health and Education Departments cannot provide a timely adequate service to parents on diagnosis.Mary Han' you boasted on question time that the cabinet posts held by women in the last Dail were responsible for 45% of the budget.What have you done with the money?Maybe you need to ask the Department of Ed and NCSE to refocus their energy on providing services, rather than blocking and removing resources from the Hedge schools that provide ABA from age 2 and WORK.Ms Harn': Yes, you are pushing Shite up hill trying to get the managers and administrators in your hospitals to be proactive in using their budgets to get sick people off plastic chairs and into beds. You could also start some capital works in the way of publicly funded nursing homes for elderly people whose families cannot afford private nursing care, but who cannot cope. Safe, clean and transparently monitored nursing homes. But you have no excuse for not providing the clinical services and early intervention for all the children on the autistic spectrum.The other Mary is intent on shoving kids with Autistic Spectrum disorders into mainstream schools, and yet your health department will not be able to provide clinical services to them there. Even high functioning A.S. or Dysphraxic or Dyslexic kids, who can cope with 1 teacher to 30 kids, need clinical support. Otherwise they fail, get kicked out and bounced into outreach or special schools, just to access speech, behavioural or occupational therapy.Mary Han' You tried to reduce the NEPS service before the election, when schools that are given these kids with "issues" need a NEPS report in order to access resource hours of teachers assistants.And NCSE? Another layer of administrative salaries being paid to people who have no background in special needs and seem to exist purely to SAY NO!Nothing in my kid’s lives has got easier since you set up the SENOS. And when they do put together a report, the folks in Athlone tell me they are under no obligation to act on it.And yet you have in this little country, some of the best ABA specialists and supervisors and tutors, providing some of the best early and mid to late intervention in the World! Because PARENTS had the cojones to go out and set up some schools.Parents such as WAH, have been waiting for 3 years for a service in Kildare, all the while putting up with screaming and stimming and developmentally challenged behaviour.Meanwhile a diagnostic centre set up by parents, with fundraising and sponsorship BUT not one red cent of public funding, CAN diagnose and provide a comprehensive and encouraging assessment in THREE MONTHS. And all in an atmosphere of respect and empathy in the Solas centre.I carried buggies up stairs and dragged crying children around to all the crack house offices rented by the HSE across the town, to house the therapists I needed to get an assessment on paper. Only to be told that since my children had the A word, the local health board would not provide a service. (Back to Beechpark and the Closed Waiting list then huh?)Today, I could park in the car park outside the door of the Solas centre and walk into a fresh open space, with safety gates so I could relax and know the children were safe and happy playing with positive learning toys. I would be treated with respect and empathy and when I walked out with my assessment, I would be party of an advocacy group that was going to support my search for a service.Compare that to the time I was told (obviously in a weak moment) by one person that I could now get Home Support , only to apply to the Respite Manager and be told that "You don't have that in writing" Where is the respect in that.Or Mary Han' When I rang Athlone to find out why the policy had CHANGED on July provision, I was told that in previous years when I had received it "Parents had been less than honest in applying for it"That is not respect, that is contempt.There is so much in Education and Health to be investigated and worked on, Class sizes, schools in Portacabin, MRSA, people on Trolleys,Why are you two wasting so much time and effort in blocking services. Give the money to the people who use it wisely to provide a service. And then watch the miracle of intervention reduce the need for such huge funding in the future.Please Hammie xx


Marian said…
Hi, your blog really interests me as at present I am doing my thesis on services available for children with Autism. My interest began in this subject when I worked in a school specifically for children with Autism. In my research so far I have seen that most of the services available are parent driven. I agree completely with the argument that you make and I hope to get the same point across in my thesis.
Lisamaree said…
Thanks Marien, hope you do well with your thesis. Hammie