Ireland's first dedicated centre for the treatment and assessment of children and families affected by autism has opened in Dublin.
The Solas Centre in Clontarf will cut the time spent waiting for diagnosis from the current 12 months to three months, a spokesman said, and hopes to eliminate waiting times in the long-run.
Officially opened by the Irish Autism Action group last night, the centre will share international best practice and research.
It will also support older children and adults who were never diagnosed correctly.
The Solas Centre is part of a partnership with O2 Ireland, which will provide funding.
Meanwhile, several hundred parents and supporters of children and adults with autism marched to Leinster House in Dublin today. They protested over government inaction on proper places for autistic students in schools.
Autism in Ireland has increased sharply. The incidence is now one in every 166 births, compared with one in every 2,000 births 10 years ago.
Aren't we getting more diagnosis of autism because there are better ways to diagnosis it then 10 yrs ago? and not that there are more children being born with it. Also, it is such a broad spectrum disability, any little infraction in a childs learning ability or development, are doctors, parents, teachers eager to lable these children as autistic, ADD? 2nd and 3rd opinions are always called for