A new telephone support service being developed by the HSE for the autistic community has been welcomed by a Galway East TD.
The Autism Phone Help Line is being developed on a pilot basis and will serve as a support service rather than a counselling or emergency service.
Anne Rabbitte TD, who is Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, said that she has made it a priority to meet with families of children with special needs to hear their concerns.
Minister Rabbitte said that she knows that some people experience frustration trying to access services and that this phone line will provide guidance for those who have questions and need information.
“As well as being able to provide clear, concise information and resources about autism, I really think this will help provide more signposting of supports in place to help people, such as welfare services and community health care, as well as in areas such as employment,” said the Galway TD.
“A lot of information is accessible online but for those why may not have sufficient access, or perhaps prefer talking to someone, the help line could offer a real lifeline for them.
“Following publication in 2018 of the Review of the Irish Health Services for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the HSE established an ASD Programme Board.”
The Fianna Fáil TD added that the HSE has begun to implement a programme of awareness raising, providing information resources for children and parents, to deliver a campaign to assist in creating awareness of the challenges, needs and experiences of people with autism.
“The HSE will over the coming months advertise for expressions of interest from Organisations with the relevant core competences and experience who would be interested in tendering to work with the HSE to develop a pilot phone help line which may eventually have wider application across all Disability Services.
“I welcome this development and I look forward to the help line being operational later this year.”