Three brothers with suspected autism to be assessed by HSE following court action

Settlement agreed after claim law required assessment within 3 months of application

The HSE has consented to orders requiring it to complete, within eight weeks, an assessment of the health and educational needs of three siblings with suspected autism.

Through their mother, the three boys brought High Court proceedings over failure to progress applications for assessment of the three boys submitted in late March 2018.

If her sons do not get appropriate resources to meet the needs of their suspected conditions, their development may be permanently affected, the mother said.

It was claimed, under the 2005 Disability Act, a child’s assessment must start within three months from when the completed application form is received by the HSE.


The children, represented by Feichin McDonagh SC claimed the HSE was guilty of undue and excessive delays in considering the applications for assessment.

Permission to bring judicial review proceedings against the HSE was granted on an ex parte basis (one side only represented) in December.

When the matter returned before the court this week, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan was told the HSE had consented to orders requiring it to complete the applications within eight weeks.

The children’s claims for damages, including aggravated damages for alleged breach of duty and violation of their rights, remains in being and have been adjourned for three weeks.

The boys cases are among dozens of similar High Court proceedings brought against the HSE on behalf of young children over delays in having their needs assessed.

The oldest boy was diagnosed as having global developmental and speech and language difficulties in 2017. In the three years before he was formally diagnosed with those conditions, he received a total eight hours of speech therapy. Since he was diagnosed, he has had no treatment other than a meeting with a specialist liaison nurse dealing with children with autism, it was claimed.

The second boy has not been formally diagnosed but a public health nurse had noted he has global development and speech and language delays, the mother said. She is concerned he has been showing many of the signs of autism.

The youngest boy has been referred for early intervention because a public health nurse had concerns given the family history. It is claimed he is also showing signs of autism and has communication problems. The lack of formal diagnoses and assessment delays have resulted in the children being unable to secure places in schools or playschools with specialist autism units, the mother alleges.