The study documents the importance of early diagnosis and interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Ireland. According to the National Review of Autism Services Past, Present and Way Forward which was produced by the Health Service Executive, from a state perspective Ireland is in agreement, that “early diagnosis is key” (2012, p.3). The design of this study is thematic analysis (see appendix C), with a series of qualitative, semi-structured interviews completed by Special Needs Assistants (see appendix A). There were a number of emerging themes from the research. These consisted of the diagnosis process for a child with ASD. The use of the internationally recognised DSM 5, along with the introduction of Autism as a spectrum disorder. Different interventions implemented by the Irish state, mainly from an educational focal point. The understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder, along with the different traits, core symptoms and impairments involved with the disorder. It also covers, the different support services available, both publicly and privately.
The study proves that accurate early diagnosis improves the child’s schooling experience, and allows them to excel once comfortable in their environment. An understanding of the spectrum from their peers also improves the child’s social interaction, as their peers then understand that the child may react differently to certain stimuli. Important to note, is the difficulties parents find when searching for support services available for the child and family, both educationally and at home. The study also covers the importance of related mental health issues linked with the disorder.