Simon Harris, Minister for Higher and Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science, inspects a ‘sensory room’ at the National College of Ireland (NCI) alongside the college’s Robert Ward. NCI is the second higher education facility in Ireland to be designated as an Autism Friendly Higher Education Institute by AsIAm.
Whistleblower Shane Corr (top) reveals how the Department of Health secretly used information from private doctor consultations to build and maintain dossiers on children with autism who were involved in legal actions against the State.
Children’s Ombudsman Niall Muldoon was asked if he wanted the practice stopped, he said: “Absolutely”.
“There’s a couple of questions need to happen, statements need to come out: Has this stopped? And also has the Department of Health made immediate contact with the families involved? Because there’s hundreds of families out there worried that they might be the ones involved here?
“They might be the ones who have had information gathered on them. So we need to make sure that those families know that they have this information available.
“And, finally, we want to take a look at see has this been happening in other lawsuits in which children are involved. Because, again, if you consider this to be normal, than I would very concerned about the culture that you’re working in.”
Later, asked what the impact of the revelations on the relationship between children involved and those providing care to them, he said:
“It’s got to be damaging. As you heard [HSE CEO] Paul Reid say there, earlier on, confidentiality is the cornerstone of all medical and therapeutic services. Our children with autism are going to these therapeutic services with the sense this is about them and them only and no information will be shared outwards.
“But to find that, if a child has a meltdown, or has some sort of challenging behaviour situation, that that is recorded for nobody to look at, not for a lawyer to use against them, that’s the absolute opposite of therapeutic service.
“There’s real serious concerns from that regard. So we have to ask: who asked for the information? And who gave the information? And those answers are crucial.”
The Department of Health has been secretly using information from private doctor consultations to build and maintain dossiers on children with autism who were involved in legal actions against the State, #rteinvestigates has learned https://t.co/XhwHSRyCe2
A disclosure to RTÉ Investigates by a whistleblower who works at the Department of Health claims the department is secretly using information from private doctor consultations to build and maintain dossiers on children with autism who were involved in legal actions against the State.
Via RTÉ News:
The dossiers, which include the sensitive medical and educational information of children involved in long-dormant court cases, were built and maintained over a number of years by the Department of Health without the knowledge or consent of parents.
The work was done with the cooperation of the Health Service Executive and the Department of Education, and involves detailed information sourced directly from confidential consultations that the children and their families had with doctors and other professionals.
These updates record issues related to children named in the court proceedings, as well as their parents and siblings. They also record details such as marital breakdowns among parents and addictions in the home.
The information was shared and gathered with the goal of aiding the Department of Health with a background legal strategy, such as in determining when it would be a good time to approach parents to settle or withdraw their case.
Just because #Autism is trending for all the wrong reasons, I thought I’d re-share a video I made a couple of years ago to highlight the scandalous under-provision of special classes in Dublin schools, which in practise makes it impossible for many autistic kids to attend.
Feel free to share and/or ask Generel Election 2020 candidates what they’re going to do to fix this situation….
Alan Gardner (above) star of the Channel 4 programme, The Autistic Gardener (also at top with Adam Harris, CEO of autism charity AsIAM) is in Clonakilty to see Ireland’s first Autism Friendly town and share how autism has made him one of the world’s leading landscape designers “and how autistic people can focus on their strengths to find careers they enjoy”.
A family who say they are unable to cope with a 16-year-old son with Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum Disorder have complained that the authorities have placed him in a homeless hostel rather than an appropriate care setting.
Tom, not his real name, said his son had a breakdown, and that the homeless shelter in Dublin city centre was not the appropriate place for him.
“He is kicked out at 9am and cannot go back in until 5pm,” said Tom, who is concerned about his son mixing with drug addicts.
… Their son was suffering from such bad anxiety and bullying that he did not go back into secondary school last year for transition year. About three weeks ago, while living with his mother “he went really bad, he just lost it”.
Tom describes his son’s anxiety attacks as “horrific”.
“It’s like dealing with Jekyll and Hyde. He was roaring and shouting and kicking walls and he didn’t know why. My son has a psychiatric problem. He needs help, and there is no help out there.”
Gardaí were called, and John was arrested. He was then placed in the homeless shelter on July 24th, and has been there since apart from one night when he went back to his mother’s house but again “lost it”.