01 April 2010

Fitzgerald welcomes appointment of new speech therapist for Clondalkin

Fine Gael Senate Leader and local representative Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed the appointment of a new speech therapist for the Clondalkin area. The news comes in response to her campaigning on behalf of parents with children in need of speech therapy throughout Clondlalkin and Lucan.

“I am delighted that a new position has been created for a speech therapist in our area and look forward to that position being filled later this month, and not before time. I am hoping that this means that children will not have to wait as long for assessment and treatment,” said local Fine Gael Senator Frances Fitzgerald.

Senator Fitzgerald recently revealed that children in the Lucan and Clondalkin areas are waiting up to 4 and a half years for speech and language therapy.

The current average waiting period for assessment is 17-22 months while the waiting time for treatment is 24–32 months.

“Additional resources should help take the pressure off the system and benefit children in need of assessment and treatment. I do a lot of work on behalf of parents whose children are in need of speech therapy and I was appalled to learn that in this country, in the twenty first century, children in Lucan and Clondalkin potentially wait up to four and half years for therapy. I am delighted that the HSE are finally giving the local community another therapist,” said Senator Frances Fitzgerald.

“If a child is in need of speech therapy then they need to get it as early as possible to mitigate developmental problems. Early detection and early treatment is crucial for developing children. It is unbelievable to think that a child of three or four in need of speech and language therapy might not get it until they are eight years of age,” said Senator Frances Fitzgaerald.

Figures relating to Lucan, Rathcoole, Clondalkin and Palmerstown show that the numbers seeking speech and language therapy have more than doubled since 2006. Up until now only one extra member of staff has been allocated to the area since then and waiting periods for treatment have increased from eight months to almost three years.

"It is disgraceful that the increase in demand for speech therapy and the startling waiting periods are coupled with a decrease in the number of classroom assistants and special needs assistants. I hope that the provision of an additional therapist for Clondalkin marks the beginning of additional resources being invested into this important area,” concluded Senator Fitzgerald.