Aontú Education Spokesperson and Representative for East Derry Gemma Brolly welcomes NICCY’s most recent report ‘More than a Number’ and urges robust actioning of recommendations as a matter of urgency.
Ms Brolly began by commenting “I wish I could say that the figures for waiting times and numbers shocked within this report shocked me, however as both a parent and a teacher who has observed and experienced the actual wait with children, unfortunately this is not the case. Between 2016 and 2021 the number of children waiting for an assessment for autism increased by 148% with a 687% increase in the number of those waiting for more than 52 weeks for an assessment. This simply beggars belief.”
“Report after report, investigation after investigation reminds us of the highly significant importance of early intervention in order to assist the needs of our children as best we can. With waiting lists such as these early intervention is nothing more than a myth, a faraway non-existent dream” Brolly confirms.
“We cannot possibly prioritise the health and well being of our children today when they are given no option but to just wait their turn on what feels like an endless list,only to then perhaps wait twice as long again for a follow up appointment. Aontú urge the powers that be to follow the recommendations of the ‘More than a Number’ report, putting in place processes and structures, data management, waiting time measures, targets and regular reporting systems, ensuring our children are powered ahead in order to receive the assistance they so badly require, in order to give their parents and teachers the best chance possibly to intervene as early as possible. Aontú will work tirelessly to ensure ALL children are valued in a cross-departmental system with a rights based approach to deliver the care and education our children deserve” concludes Brolly.