Families take fight for better autism services to Stormont with 8,000-strong petition
Families of autistic children handed a petition with more than 8,000 signatures to Stormont yesterday to highlight the need for more funding to secure quicker assessments of the condition.
The move comes just after Health Minister Simon Hamilton promised to invest £2m into the system which parents and professionals claim is currently too slow.
Referrals for an Autistic Spectrum Disorder assessment have almost doubled in the past five years from 1,550 to 2,800 children needing a diagnosis.
Alliance councillor Kellie Armstrong said the petition raises three main issues - to reduce waiting times, to create a more synchronised multi-agency approach to education and to create more resources for support in the classroom. More than 50 adults and children presented the petition.