Ms Carragher's Blog
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AsIAm submitted a question to the Minister of Health in relation to Covid-19 restrictions for individuals on the spectrum and those with additional needs. We received a response today.
Here was our question:
“Many autistic people and their families are concerned about the legal enforcement of social distancing. Some individuals may not cope if unable to keep to a routine such as visiting a favourite place or driving. Some single parents are cocooning and a drive is the only way to get their autistic loved one out and about. Also some autistic people fear getting arrested or in trouble with the Gardai. Should autistic people and their families be worried and are these journeys deemed essential? “
The response was as follows:
“Many thanks for your email. We are aware that the current restrictions are difficult for everybody and often particularly for Adults and Children with disabilities who might need more frequent outdoor breaks and who might not always live in an environment that gives easy access to suitable outdoor space.
When these current, additional restrictions came into place, a point was included to say that people can leave their home – for vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people.
This would also provide for those people with disabilities and/or their carers who might have additional needs in relation to access to outdoor breaks and time. The situations that you outline in relation to going for a drive would reasonably be included here as well.
If required, local service providers can provide a letter to parents/carers confirming that the person is a service user with special needs and would benefit from additional outdoor breaks for health reasons.
We know that Gardai will take a pragmatic approach in these situations.
I hope this is of some reassurance . I also want to take the opportunity to extend warmest thanks to organisations like yours who I know provide invaluable support and reassurance to many people in these unusual and challenging circumstances.”