The number of children awaiting an assessment for autism has been cut by nearly half after two providers were appointed.
There are currently 38 children and young people awaiting an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) assessment with a waiting time, from referral to assessment, of three months.
Autism assessments take a full day and need to be undertaken by two qualified practitioners.
At the beginning of August, the number of people waiting for an assessment was 73 with the waiting time having increased from six to 18 months.
To address the issue, the Government launched a tender process to find a provider with “capacity to manage the backlog of cases over the short-term whilst the improved integrated neurodevelopmental pathway is implemented."
The initial tender description stated the contract was supposed to start on 6 July and conclude on 12 September 2022. However, with no provider having been identified so far, the invitation to tender was extended to 12 August.
Since, the Government has identified two providers to assist with the backlog of autism assessments. One provider started on 4 October and the other on 5 November.
In total, they were allocated 52 assessments and have so far completed 19.
The teams in the Health and Community Services and Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES) have also been working additional hours to complete extra assessments.
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