Almost 10,700 parents have been waiting for over a year for their children to be seen by disability specialists.
That’s according to Newstalk reporter Josh Crosbie, who investigated delays and vacancies in the Children's Disability Network Teams.
He said over 17,000 families are on the waiting list for assessment, with 10,000 waiting for over a year.
“Parents are not only trying to manage the challenges of raising a family, when parents finally do get a diagnosis, they’re waiting for years for services,” Josh told The Pat Kenny Show.
Inclusion Ireland CEO Derval McDonagh said a survey found how little availability there is for children and their parents.
“Over 85% of the respondents were waiting for longer than a year to access services,” she said. “Up to 27% were waiting 2 to 4 years, and 16% were waiting 4 to 6 years just to access services for their children.”
Teacher Jane Holmes told Newstalk her three-year-old son is non-verbal, and she is fighting to get her son assessed and recognised.
“We’re being told that they can’t give us a date or a timeline because they are working with 'active or priority' cases,” she said.
Ms Holmes said her son only got assessed after she made five complaints and threatened to hire a solicitor to take action.
"No more tears left"
Polish native Eva has two children, with one already diagnosed with autism and another waiting assessment.
She told Newstalk she learned currently, the HSE is only offering services to children with disabilities who have been on a waiting list since 2016.
“I just can’t leave my child like this; I have to get the solution so I'm using the private service,” she said.
She said this is affecting how her own non-verbal son can get support and prevent further issues.
“I don’t know what they're going to do with those kids in ten years' time,” she said.
“I just have no more left, no more tears, it’s not fair for those kids. It's heartbreaking.”
Ms McDonagh said there is no “quick fix solutions” to the problem and comprehensive strategy is required.
“The number one recommendation was the need for a comprehensive and creative workforce planning strategy,” she said
“That is going to take time and effort from the government to get there.”
You can listen back here: