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Commitment on establishment of One-Stop-Shop pilot project to offer support to autistic people is extremely positive – Carrigy

24th January 2024 - Senator Micheál Carrigy

A commitment to establish a pilot ‘One-Stop-Shop’ to offer support and service pathways to autistic adults and children is extremely welcome, according to Fine Gael Senator Micheal Carrigy.

Senator Carrigy said Government support for the development of an integrated, accessible community-based model of support, similar to what is in operation in Scotland, is positive.

Senator Carrigy, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism, said: “The Joint Committee on Autism was established in February 2022 and heard from multiple stakeholders on how to improve services and supports for autistic people.

“In a report published last June following 23 meetings, the Committee made several recommendations that we would like to see adopted by Government.

“One of those includes the introduction of a One-Stop-Shop programme where autistic people and those who have not yet received a diagnosis can receive information and can link in with the services they require.

“In the Seanad this week, I raised the need for funding for a pilot One-Stop-Shop to support autistic adults and children both before and after their diagnosis, similar to centres which have been successful in Scotland.

“In response, Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte said she supported a pilot programme One-Stop-Shop. The Minister said she and Government would support the development of an integrated, accessible community-based model of support that was recommended by the Oireachtas committee.

“It is understood the HSE will soon be awarding a new round of grants and there could be an opportunity to provide the community-based model. It is hoped that other recommendations made by the Committee may also be actioned.

“Charities such as AsIAm provide guidance, an information line and other supports to the autistic community, but there is no public service where autistic people can get information on how to access services.

“A model has been piloted in Scotland where a One-Stop-Shop offers advice and information to autistic people as well as linking in with other services. These One-Stop-Shops offer information, signpost or refer on to specialist services and also offer peer group support.

“Global support group Thriving Autistic currently offers a clinician-led model of peer support where an occupational therapist or psychologist facilitates weekly and monthly meetings.

“A One-Stop-Shop could provide a service to autistic adults who do not require one to one support from clinicians regularly. It would also be essential in providing guidance to parents and guardians in finding care for their children,” Senator Carrigy said.

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