A BERAGH woman is to stand as an independent candidate in the forthcoming Assembly election in an effort to improve autistic services in the North.
Roisin McMackin has been battling to highlight what she says is the dwindling provision of services for families with autistic children.
Her campaign has been inspired by personal experience as her four daughters are on the autism spectrum.
She says the politicians have failed to address the shortfall in services and the growing waiting lists which have seen the numbers awaiting for an autism assessment rise by 574 per-cent in the Western Trust alone in the past three years.
“I am standing in this election to fight for services for children who are on the autism spectrum and to end the postcode lottery that currently exists,” she said.
“The large parties at Stormont talk about equality. But equality has to be about providing equal access for all, especially in relation to education. Some politicians promised to help me and others to address the shortfall in autism services. But after the election they ignored or blocked our requests for help and we were left alone.”
“Those who are vulnerable, including the sick and disabled, must no longer be ignored whether it’s in relation to autism or other health issues.
“There has to be a focus on modernising the support and services available to families with children on the autism spectrum. Proper links must be established between the Departments of Health and Education to ensure that this happens.”
Roisin has described the quest to ensure education provision for her children as an ‘uphill struggle’ and says the west has been forgotten about in relation to autism services. She is calling for the Autism Act to be reviewed.
“The Autism Act needs to be overhauled and if elected I will be working to achieve that and putting in place a strategy that provides equal services for all,” she added.