Friday 18 October 2019

Reilly's Autism Bill passes the Seanad

Senator's Bill to support autism families to progress

John Manning

A new Bill from Senator James Reilly to improve supports for people and families affected by autism, has passed all stages of the Seanad.

The Bill would see over 60,000 families benefit from greater supports for children with autism.

The Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Bill calls for a Government strategy to be published on how to address the needs of people with ASD throughout their lives.

Senator Reilly whose own family has been affected by autism said: 'One in 68 children is now on the autism spectrum, meaning over 60,000 families in Ireland are struggling for greater supports for a loved one with the condition.

'I hope to see this Bill become law by Christmas, giving new hope and encouragement to those who face the challenge of autism.'

Senator Reilly added: 'While some progress has been made in our understanding of ASD, no consensus exists on how to screen and diagnose for it or provide clinical care or educate people with ASD. That is not just the case in this country but right across Europe.

'However, England, France, Canada, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have strategies and we need one too.

The Fingal senator explained: 'We need a concise plan in order to address what is becoming an increasing epidemic that will be a huge burden on the finances of this State.

'We need to intervene at the appropriate time, diagnose early and put in place the supports that can allow people with this condition to live a much more independent life.

'In short, what we need is a strategy that cuts across all Departments and acknowledges that every Department has a role to play and needs to be informed.'

Senator Reilly added: 'The Bill passing through the Seanad brings us another step forward to helping those with the disorder to reach their full potential.

'It will next go before the Dáil and hopefully be signed into law before Christmas.'

Senator Reilly appealed for the public's support in lobbying for the passage of the Bill and set up an online petition.

The response was huge with more than 20,000 signing petition and the local senator said he is very grateful for the support and asked that support continues online as the Bill reaches the Dáil.

He said: 'I'd like to thank the over 20,000 people who signed an online petition calling for this proposed legislation to become law, and I would encourage people to keep signing to support this very worthy Bill at'

Senator Reilly also thanked his colleagues for their votes in making sure the Bill passed all stages of the Seanad, saying: 'I would also like to thank my Seanad colleagues and the Minister for Health Simon Harris for their help and support.'

Fingal Independent