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Autism

Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 12 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by the Lord Rooker on 14 June 2005 (WA 119) and 20 June 2006 (WA 67), whether there has been a shortfall in achieving the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety's 2004-05 priorities for action which required boards and trusts to establish multidisciplinary diagnostic assessment and early intervention teams.[HL6620]

Boards and trusts were required to establish multidisciplinary diagnostic assessment and early intervention teams to improve the life outcome for an additional 200 children and young people with autism across Northern Ireland. This target was achieved by the boards and trusts by September 2005.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 20 June (WA 68), whether the multi-disciplinary early intervention team from the Foyle Health and Social Services Trust, which works in collaboration with the Sperrin Lakeland Trust, has the full-time services of a consultant paediatrician; and how many full-time speech therapists are currently working with autistic children in these two trusts.[HL6621]

There are approximately 42.8 whole-time equivalent (WTE) speech and language therapists working within Foyle and Sperrin Lakeland health and social services trusts. However, one of these therapists provides exclusively an early intervention service for children with autism. The other therapists work with a range of children with speech problems, including those with autism in special care schools, learning support units and community clinics. There is no full-time consultant paediatrician for children with autism, although one further WTE paediatrician is employed in collaboration with Autism NI.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 20 June (WA 67), whether the multi-disciplinary early intervention team from the Newry and Mourne Trust that provides early intervention services in the Armagh and Dungannon Trust has the full-time services of a consultant paediatrician; and how many full-time speech therapists are currently working with autistic children in these two trusts.[HL6622]

At present a locum is acting into the position of consultant community paediatrician while a recruitment exercise is taking place to fill the post substantively.

There are approximately six whole-time equivalent speech and language therapists working within Newry and Mourne Trust and Armagh and Dungannon Trust. These posts do not work exclusively with children with autistic spectrum disorder, but do provide support for children with autism in special care schools, learning support units and community clinics.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 20 June (WA 67), who is the team leader for each of the seven multidisciplinary early intervention teams operating within Northern Ireland; whether team leaders are dedicated to managing their teams full time; what is the specific discipline of each team leader; and whether there is an overall Northern Ireland co-ordinator for autistic spectrum disorder.[HL6625]

Healthcare professionals from a range of backgrounds provide early diagnosis, assessment and intervention services for children with autism, within the boards and trusts.

The lead individuals responsible for autism services at board/trust level are as follows.

Down Lisburn Trust

Dr Margaret Stanfield

Medical Officer

Ms Eileen Sherrard

Clinical Psychology

Ms Heather Crawford

Speech and Language Therapy

Foyle HSS Trust

Dr Vivien Dale

Social Work

North & West Belfast Trust

Dr Janice Bothwell

Paediatrician

South & East Belfast Trust

Dr Anne Armstrong

Paediatrician

Southern Health and Social Services Board

Ms Lorraine Scott

Teaching

Homefirst Trust

Mrs Joan Stephenson

Speech and Language Therapy

Mrs Lyz Elks

Speech and Language Therapy

Mrs Geraldine Teague

Occupational Therapy

Dr Clare Bailey

Paediatrician

Ulster Community & Hospitals Trust

Dr Cathy MacPherson

Consultant Paediatrician

Team leaders are generally not dedicated to managing their team full time. However, Ms Lorraine Scott is specifically dedicated to managing autism services in the Southern Health and Social Services Board area.

Northern Ireland does not have a full-time co-ordinator for autistic spectrum disorders.