Pól Callaghan launches new autism report

SDLP Foyle MLA Pól Callaghan has launched a new report into the needs of children and teenagers with autism at Stormont.

Mr Callaghan, Derry’s only member of the Assembly Health Committee, launched the National Autistic Society’s report ‘You Need to Know’ alongside the chair of watchdog, DUP MLA Jim Wells on Wednesday.

Mr Callaghan said following the launch: “It is estimated that over 1000 people in Derry have autism, many of whom have not been diagnosed, particularly adults with the condition.

“It is vital that we have proper services in place for them and their families so they live healthy and productive lives, rather than struggle for the services they desperately need.”

He said the system of support had seen improvement but added: “There is a long way to go.

“This report, driven by the views of children and parents, signposts us all in a useful direction.” He said the report’s suggestions would go a long way to “improving outcomes”.