Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley is calling for Autism Spectrum Disorder Units to be provided in Mountmellick Schools.
Deputy Stanley said: “There is an urgent need to provide ASD units in the Mountmellick area.
“I have a large number of parents contacting me in recent weeks expressing their frustration and concerns of the lack of such facilities in the town. Mountmellick is the second largest town in County Laois and needs ASD units.”
Mr Stanley says that children in the town are being forced to travel all over the county to avail of services.
He said: “These children either have no place in an ASD unit or they must travel to ASD units in Timahoe, Borris on Ossory, Rath or Portarlington.
“This is putting a huge strain on the parents I have spoken to and this is also affecting the children due to complications with transport. In recent years there is a considerable increase in the number of children being diagnosed with Autism.
“The importance of early intervention cannot be overstated and is widely recognised that this helps to prevent a whole range of problems in later life and assist them to live independently.
“The shortage of ASD units comes on top of the other problems I have highlighted in recent weeks regarding services for children with Autism.
“These include massive waiting lists for Psychological assessment, Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy no name a few.
“When all of this is taken together it underlines the huge deficiency in facilities and services for children with special needs. The state is failing these families and this area now needs to be prioritised.
“I have put questions to the Minister for Education regarding the need for ASD units in the town and I am awaiting his reply.
“We are facing huge problems in society if we continue to fail these young people.”