‘It goes beyond politics’ – Kilkenny TD urges all parties to support new autism Bill
KILKENNY TD Kathleen Funchion has urged parties across the political divide to support her new Autism Strategy Bill.
Deputy Funchion, who is Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Education and Skills, is presenting the Bill in the Dáil tomorrow to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day.
Deputy Funchion said: “This Bill goes beyond politics. We need this Bill to pass and to have all-party buy in to make the changes that need to happen for autistic children, adults and their families.
“Our Autism Empowerment Strategy Bill is calling for an All-Party Oireachtas Committee on Autism to be set up immediately which would be tasked with developing and publishing a comprehensive Autism Empowerment Strategy within a six month period.
“The Committee would be mandated to hear directly from autistic people and their families. It also calls legislation to be drafted and introduced to compliment and underpin the publishing of an Autism Empowerment Strategy and to give this strategy statutory footing.”
Deputy Funchion said a review of the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is needed with a view to provide autism classes at primary and post-primary level.
She said this is vital to address “the current crisis which parents are facing in trying to get places for their children in primary and secondary level schools across the length and breadth of the State”.
The Kilkenny TD has also called for “an urgent review” of supports available for autistic adults “throughout the life cycle”.
Deputy Funchion added: “Our motion was developed after much consultation and outreach within my own constituency and other areas with many parents of autistic children, carers, teachers, principals as well as with our autism stakeholders.
“I am asking all Oireachtas TDs to lend their support to this important Bill which, if passed, would be a significant first step towards advancing the rights of our autistic Irish citizens and paving the way to a better future for coming generations. Let’s work together to do this.”