Ireland launches telephone information line for autistics

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ASPartOfMe
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17 Feb 2022, 6:26 pm

Minister for Disabilities launches new AsIAm Autism Information Line

Quote:
Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte, today welcomed the launch a telephone information line for the autistic community. This initiative is being operated by AsIAm and is part-funded by the HSE.

With HSE support, AsIAm propose to operate the Information Line for 4 hours per day, 5 days per week. The aim of the service over a 3-year period is to develop the range of information resources, seminars and programmatic activity of AsIAm so that callers will receive the information and the community-based support they need, in so far as possible, without the need for external referrals.

Minister Rabbitte said:
“In identifying the need for the information line, almost 70% of autistic adults surveyed by AsIAM reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had severely impacted upon their mental health and wellbeing. The development of this channel will, I hope, alleviate some of these issues by providing evidence-based information and a ‘port of call’ for individuals and families working through specific issues or challenges.”

The Minister continued:
“With the establishment of the phone line, calls will be responded to by either a clinician or an appropriately qualified autistic advisor, to ensure appropriate responses and supports to meet the needs and concerns of the range of callers. This will assist in matters as diverse as how to go about obtaining a diagnosis, to socialising, to employment related issues. The service should help to alleviate the need for autistic people and their families to go through a myriad of websites or phone calls to get an answer to a simple query.”

Minister of State for Disabilities, Anne Rabbitte, today welcomed the launch a telephone information line for the autistic community. This initiative is being operated by AsIAm and is part-funded by the HSE.

With HSE support, AsIAm propose to operate the Information Line for 4 hours per day, 5 days per week. The aim of the service over a 3-year period is to develop the range of information resources, seminars and programmatic activity of AsIAm so that callers will receive the information and the community-based support they need, in so far as possible, without the need for external referral.

Minister Rabbitte said:

“The information line is an invaluable resource which is both much needed and much welcomed for people with autism, their families, and their friends. Indeed, it will be beneficial in enabling the wider population to understand the needs of autistic people in today’s world.

“In identifying the need for the information line, almost 70% of autistic adults surveyed by AsIAM reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had severely impacted upon their mental health and wellbeing. The development of this channel will, I hope, alleviate some of these issues by providing evidence-based information and a ‘port of call’ for individuals and families working through specific issues or challenges.”

The Minister continued:

“With the establishment of the phone line, calls will be responded to by either a clinician or an appropriately qualified autistic advisor, to ensure appropriate responses and supports to meet the needs and concerns of the range of callers. This will assist in matters as diverse as how to go about obtaining a diagnosis, to socialising, to employment related issues. The service should help to alleviate the need for autistic people and their families to go through a myriad of websites or phone calls to get an answer to a simple query.”

Bernard O’Regan, HSE Assistant National Director, Disability Operations said:

“I’m delighted that the HSE has partnered with AsIAm on this Information Line. This is one of a range of initiatives we are supporting to improve the experiences of autistic people, their families, and staff. Later this year we will publish a directory of services on hse.ie that is being developed in partnership with the autistic community as part of the Autism Programme.”

Minister Rabbitte added:

“I am delighted that this phone line is available as an additional support, to provide a bespoke and dedicated channel of information for people with autism, their families and friends. I wish the AsIAm team every success with this new facility."

Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm stated:
The Information Line is by no means a substitute for timely, individualised support but will provide a concrete, practical support at a time when queries to our organisation have risen by over 300% and many people are waiting lengthy periods to access the professional support they so need and deserve.”

Notes
AsIAm (Autism Spectrum Information, Advice and Meeting Point CLG) is a relatively new organisation, set up in 2014 to support people on the Autism Spectrum by providing information, advice and an online meeting point. AsIAm also provides a platform for people affected by Autism to share their stories and views. The organisation is based in Blackrock in Co. Dublin and currently employs 22 members of staff, a significant proportion of whom are on the autism spectrum.

The organisation’s vision is for Ireland to be a country where all autistic and neurodiverse people are accepted as they are, equal, valued, respected and included.

AsIAm undertakes a range of programmes and campaigns which work towards the goal of bringing about a more inclusive Ireland for those living with Autism.

The HSE is currently implementing the recommendations of the “Review of the Irish Health Services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder 2017”. A key recommendation in this Report is to build awareness of Autism and services/supports available to Autistic People.

As part of this work, AsIAm, supported by the HSE, has developed the Autism Phone Help Line which will:

answer general questions about autism
highlight where and how you access support services in an individual’s local area
provide written resources that might be useful
provide information on other Organisations that may be able to provide help
explain and talk through how to go about explaining autism to other people and services
provide information on how to access Welfare Services, Community Health Care, Employment
The helpline is not intended to be a Counselling Service or a Crisis/Emergency Service.

With HSE support AsIAm propose to operate the Information Line for 4 hours per day, 5 days per week through hiring an additional 2 members of staff and scaling the infrastructure to facilitate this work.

The aim of the service over a 3-year period would be to develop the range of information resources, seminars and programmatic activity of AsIAm so that callers will receive the information and the community-based support they need, in so far as possible, without the need for external referral. The service will operate within the “Partnership for Change” model building the capacity of individuals and families to manage the challenges of day to day life.

The free telephone information line, email and webchat service was developed by AsIAm and funded by the HSE and provides information, guidance and signposting support to autistic people and their support networks. The line has been piloted over a two-month period and has dealt with over 700 queries in this time. Learn more at asiam.ie.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


Last edited by Cornflake on 03 Apr 2022, 5:52 am, edited 1 time in total.: Fixed title spelling

Mona Pereth
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02 Apr 2022, 10:12 am

One of many examples of how the autistic community in Ireland and the U.K. is much better-developed than it is here in North America.


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