Broad cross-party support expected for autism Bill

Bill will require agencies to be accountable in their provision of autism services

The initiative has been welcomed by AsIAm, the national advocacy organisation for autism. Photograph: iStock

The initiative has been welcomed by AsIAm, the national advocacy organisation for autism. Photograph: iStock

 

A new Bill that will result in a significant increase in State recognition and support for autism is likely to attract wide support from all parties and groups in the Oireachtas.

The Autism Spectrum Disorders Bill will be tabled by Fine Gael Senator Dr James Reilly in Seanad Éireann on Wednesday.

The Private Members’ Bill will require agencies to be accountable in their provision of autism services and will also result in the collation of data on the prevalence of the condition in Ireland.

Perhaps the most substantial provision is a clause that requires the Government to publish a comprehensive strategy within two years of the new law being enacted.

The Bill was discussed by Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday. Early indications were that the Government will support the Bill, which is also likely to be supported by major parties.

The initiative has been welcomed by AsIAm, the national advocacy organisation for autism.

Adam Harris, the chief executive of AsIAm, said: “This Bill is a much-needed step towards ensuring we develop a society which is inclusive of people with autism and effectively meets the needs of those with the condition.

“One in 65 people in our schools system has a diagnosis of autism, but the way we provide support remains disjointed.

“Children with autism grow up to become adults with autism, and it is vital that Ireland has a strategy to allow all people with autism to achieve their personal potential and make a contribution to society,” he said.