McGrath Welcomes Funding For Autism Services

dn_screenSDLP Junior Health Spokesperson and South Down Assembly Candidate Cllr Colin McGrath has welcomed the announcement by Health Minister Simon Hamilton of an additional £2m per year for autism services in NI but has called for more to be done.

He said: “Any announcement that helps deal with the uncertainty that families face when awaiting an autism diagnosis is welcome. This is a good news story for young people with autism and will greatly assist with the backlog of undiagnosed cases that are still in the system.

“However, I am concerned that this announcement doesn’t go far enough. Once a child is diagnosed with autism it is only the start of their battle. Children and their families need specialist intervention, dedicated clubs and assistance with integration into education and social activities. Recurring finance to assist these elements would have been welcome.

“I am also concerned that there are still many adults who are undiagnosed or are short of service intervention. There was potential for more tailored support for them in this announcement and is a missed opportunity.

“Diagnosis is important but real resources must follow. I hope that it is only the beginning of full support being offered to those in our community with autism.”