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The HSE is reviewing support and service provision for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) says Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton. Minister Stanton is encouraging service users, their parents and families and practitioners to contribute to the review.

“The HSE has established a cross divisional working group to undertake a review of autism services. This has been done at the request of Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD as the Government is anxious to carry out a comprehensive assessment of supports and services available to people with autism (ASD) and how effective these supports and services are in meeting the needs of people with ASD, their families and carers. This should help to identify models of good practice and also those which are not having a positive impact.

“Anyone interested in learning about the review should go to the HSE website at which contains details of the terms of reference of the review and how to make a submission. The working group is seeking the views of service users, parents and practitioners on their experiences of the effectiveness of existing services and models of good practice. Submissions should be between 500 – 1000 words in total and should be emailed to before the deadline of 12th September 2017.

“Each submission will receive an acknowledgement from the working group but the group will not enter into correspondence with individuals. The group will, however, hold three workshops with key service user advocates and NGOs; the Disability Federation of Ireland; the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies and Inclusion Ireland.

“I know from my constituents, particularly parents of children with ASD, that there are concerns about waiting times for access to assessments and services. I hope that anyone with experience in this area will take the opportunity to contribute to the review as this will assist in the development of strategic approach to enhancing local services to meet the evolving needs of people with ASD.

“I understand that the Department of Health also intends to initiate an epidemiological research study into the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) later this year to allow us to future-proof our strategies for people with autism. Following the advancement of this work, the Minister has told me he intends to proceed next year with a national strategy for enhancing the health service response to people with ASD.”