A West Clare autism specialist believes a new landmark report on the developmental disability is not before time.
Dr Susan Crawford from Miltown Malbay has welcomed the ‘Final Report on Autism’ but says it can’t be viewed as a victory until the recommendations therein are implemented.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Autism has published its ‘Final Report on Autism’ this week detailing 109 recommendations regarding autism awareness, access to education, employment opportunities and healthcare provision.
Among the recommendations, the report states that a cost of disability payment that is not means tested should be made available to autistic people and their carers who experience high levels of expenditure due to their disability or diagnosis.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Senator Michael Carrigy said a number of issues pertaining to autism were noted, such as delays in Assessment of Need, poor access to assessments and services, the lack of inclusivity in education and a lack of employment supports.
Autistic people in Ireland have an unemployment rate of 85% which is largely attributed to the lack of post-secondary school supports in place to make the wider environment autism-friendly.
In addition, 61% of the autism community believe the education system does not adequately cater for their needs.
Miltown Malbay native Susan Crawford, who is the Autism Spectrum Consultant at ‘Get Autism Active’, says structures need to be implemented to prevent autistic people from “falling off the edge off a cliff” after school.
Also included in the report was the recommendation that autistic people who enter full-time employment retain a disability allowance, free travel and medical card.
TUS graduate and autism blogger Adam Cronin says this particular measure would alleviate significant financial pressure on the autism community.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Autism has asked that the 109 recommendations be debated in both houses of the Oireachtas and the recommendations be implemented to “address the stigma associated with autism and to improve the provision of services to autistic people”.
You can listen to the full interview below.