All parties unite to support Kilkenny TD’s new Autism Strategy Bill
KILKENNY TD Kathleen Funchion has won cross-party support for her ambitious new Autism Strategy Bill.
The Sinn Féin TD’s legislative proposals involve a radical overhaul of the supports available to people with autism and their families.
Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Funchion welcomed the support her Bill received from across the political divide.
The Kilkenny TD said: “It is particularly poignant and appropriate that this motion is being debated on World Autism Awareness Day. This motion sets out a clear framework towards finally delivering an Autism Empowerment Strategy for Ireland.”
Deputy Funchion called for the establishment of an all-party Oireachtas committee, which will be tasked with producing an ‘Autism Empowerment Strategy’ within six months.
She added: “Critically, this needs to happen in conjunction with the various advocacy groups, parents and autistic individuals directly.
“The equal right to education for all children is not being upheld currently by the State and this government, and this must change.
“The failure to make diagnoses in adequate time for school applications, the lack of ASC classes and places available for autistic children is a denial of a child’s right to education. These factors have created a two-tier system within our education system.”
Deputy Funchion also said solutions must to found to overcome the barriers that autistic children face in securing places in schools.
“Our schools must be resourced adequately to provide equally for all children who attend – with or without additional needs,” the Kilkenny TD added.
“This is not an issue for parents to fight alone, it is the responsibility of all of us. We all have a role to play in creating an inclusive embracive education system that we can be proud of.”