A CORK mother has described as “sickening” comments from the HSE about her daughter’s lack of autism support.
Nora O’Mahony has been battling for four years to provide support for her daughter Bethany, who was privately diagnosed with autism in 2016.
Despite having a therapy dog from My Canine Companion, attending an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) class, and receiving private support from the Rainbow Club, Bethany does not qualify for support from the HSE because she failed to meet its criteria in an assessment in 2017.
For the past two years, Nora has been battling to have Bethany reassessed and seen by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
In that time, Bethany has regressed, is wetting herself and suffering from her mental health.
In January last year, Nora received a letter from the local assessment officer saying Bethany still does not qualify for HSE support.
“They never contacted us, never reassessed her and never bothered to pick up the phone to tell us,” Nora told the Echo.
“If they did, they’d have known Bethany was now in an ASD unit, had a therapy dog and was attending the Rainbow Club.
“They made this decision with absolutely no new information,” she added.
Despite calling and sending multiple emails, Nora has received no clarification.
In a statement to the Echo, a HSE spokesperson recommended that Nora apply again to the Assessment of Need process, and provide the HSE with any new information on Bethany. This is a process that can see children on waiting lists for years before being seen.
Ms O’Mahony described the statement as “sickening” and said the HSE are merely trying to pass the buck. “Needless to say I’m not impressed with the HSE statement.
“To re-apply for an Assessment of Need would mean at least another two-year wait before we get to the area medical officer,” she added.
“We followed the correct process at the time and applied for an appeal which we were advised about.
“I am in constant contact with my GP with regards to my daughter’s mental health issues, and I am always in contact with Karen O’Mahony of the Rainbow Club, both whom we get fantastic support from.
“I have no problem applying for an assessment for Bethany as long as we are only waiting the legislated three months.”