Irish Society for Autism respond to RTÉ Investigates report on Department of Health

The Irish Society for Autism has expressed its shock and disappointment at an RTÉ Investigates report on last night’s Prime Time regarding the Department of Health secretly using information from private doctor consultations to build and maintain dossiers on children with autism and families who were involved in legal actions against the State.

In many of these cases, children with autism were not receiving adequate supports and were not having their educational needs met. Families of these children had no choice but to take High Court action to assert their rights to education and places in schools, which the Society believes should be available for all. At least four dozen families have been affected by this issue while seeking appropriate and worthwhile education and support services for their children, with many families left with significant legal costs as a result.

The organisation has stated that parents and guardians of autistic children have a right to information and also to privacy regarding personal medical information, and that there is ethically no justification in the Department’s handling of these cases. The Irish Society for Autism believes that the Department’s lack of transparency is wholly unjust and further highlights the urgent need for appropriate legislation to reinforce the rights of those with autism.

For more information on the Irish Society for Autism please visit www.autism.ie.

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