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Another trial for the children who can't take care of themselves

• It was awful to see mums crying outside the Dail this week as they stood in the rain with their special-needs kids, like I did with my three-year-old autistic son.

I also have a seven-year-old, for whom I am a full-time carer. In order to attend the protest, my husband had to take a half day.

My son has severe sensory processing problems and low muscle tone with classic autism.

The group was protesting at the lack of transparency of the review and application system for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA). It is cruel that parents who have a child with a lifelong disability have to go through this when we can't even get services via the HSE for our kids.

Many of these parents have ended up being treated for depression. The final straw for me was when we got the review letter for our seven-year-old. Just before that, we had gotten a diagnosis of autism for my three-year-old.

I would invite those with the privilege of being in Government to spend a week in my shoes before thinking that our kids do not require extra care and attention.

On the way home to Galway after the protest, I got an awful fright as my three-year-old -- who regularly bolts as he has no safety awareness -- tried to run off the train at Athenry.

I have to translate the world daily for my seven-year-old, who goes to school in an Autism Support Unit.

The Taoiseach needs to get his facts straight. I fear it is only a matter of time before a parent is pushed over the edge to the extent that they might think about ending their life.

People are in pain. I am beyond distress in waiting for my review to come in the post. If I lose DCA, I lose carers for my seven-year-old.

I am a carer to two wonderful special-needs children, and I have two older children aged nine and 11. I am proud of all my family. If my DCA is stopped, I will fight it because I have to.

Edel Abberton
Rahoon, Galway

Irish Independent