Concern for those with intellectual disabilities

 

Sir, – Dr Mary Kelly, consultant adult psychiatrist in intellectual disability (Letters, December 13th) expresses concern about the reduction in day and respite services for adults with intellectual disability, outlines the impact on the mental health and adaptive functioning of service users and emphasises the burden family and professional carers bear as a result. I echo her concerns.

In the same edition of The Irish Times a number of reporters inform on the views of primary, secondary and third-level students and their teachers as they continue with education in the midst of the pandemic.

I am struck that the voices of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities – and their teachers – are absent.

Some of these pupils attend mainstream school, many others attend special schools. Some cannot access school places at all.

The challenge for those with intellectual disabilities to have their needs recognised and addressed all too often starts in childhood.

They and their families struggle to access early assessments, appropriate multidisciplinary services, educational and training opportunities, day and respite services and medical and mental health services.

This worsens as they become adults.

We should do better for children and adults with intellectual disability: perhaps we start by recognising and including their experiences. – Yours, etc,

Dr MARIA DUNNE,

Consultant child and

adolescent psychiatrist,

Dublin.