Boy with special needs sues over delay in reviewing requirements

Child was assessed more than a year ago and matter is urgent due to need to find suitable school

A boy with special needs has taken High Court proceedings over delay by the HSE in reviewing his requirements following an assessment more than a year ago.

The boy appears to be on an Autism Spectrum Disorder pathway and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has also been mentioned, Derek Shortall SC said.

The matter is urgent because a completed review of a needs assessment carried out on him more than a year ago is required to ensure that a suitable school placement is obtained for the child, counsel said. Without a diagnosis, the boy is also unable to get home tuition, he added.

The updating of the assessment report and service statement is particularly important insofar as needs and services have changed for this child who is awaiting a full Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment “which is critical for educational supports”, it is claimed.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan, who made an order preventing identification of the boy, granted leave on Monday for judicial review proceedings to be brought against the HSE by the child, suing through his father.

This case was “by no means” the first of such applications to come before the court and, in most cases, these matters are dealt with without the need for a court hearing, the judge said.

In the action, it is claimed the HSE has failed to comply with its obligations under the Disability Act and relevant regulations to have commenced and completed by August 31st last a review of an assessment of the boy’s needs which was completed a year earlier, on August 31st 2020.

The relevant regulations require that each assessment report shall specify a date for the review of the assessment, which review date shall be no later from the date on which the assessment report is issued.

It is claimed the review should have been commenced from October 2020 and, despite requests from K.O. D Lyons, solicitors for the applicants, from March 19th 2021, it has not completed.

There appears to be no provision within the Disability Act which gives the Disability Complaints Officer jurisdiction to process a complaint concerning the failure to carry out a review, it is also claimed.