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Man with autism and learning disability has been living in special care unit for three years 
A High Court judge has welcomed the huge progress achieved by a young man in a specialist care unit since being made a ward of court three years ago. 
The man, who has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and a mild learning disability, is about to graduate from a three year training course which, with the support of his care team, he had continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Justice Mark Heslin noted on Wednesday. 
The man has achieved another of his goals, becoming a pet owner, and is the “proud owner” of two goldfish for whom he accepts full responsibility, the judge noted. 
He is in good general health, is successfully pursuing a healthy eating programme, engages in horse riding and other sports and is generally well settled, happy and content, the court heard. 
He is looking forward to celebrating his 21st birthday and has maintained contact with his family throughout the pandemic, despite the restrictions on physical visits. 
Aisling Dillon BL, for the HSE, said the man has come “a very long way” from when he entered wardship at the age of 18. Before that, he was subject of a full care order under Tusla and was regarded as at high risk of absconscion, she said. 
Since entering wardship, he has been placed in a specialist unit and benefits from support and services of a multi-disciplinary team including a psychologist, occupational therapy, educational and social work supports, counsel outlined. 
The man is looking forward to participating in more activities as the Covid-19 restrictions are eased, Ms Dillon added. 
Paul Connors BL, for the general solicitor for wards of court, which is the committee representing the man’s interests in wardship, said the committee is very happy with the consistent and stable care being provided for the man and supported the HSE’s application to continue that. 
The man had expressed a desire for more family contact during the pandemic and there had been more contact when that was permitted, counsel outlined. 
The man’s case was before Mr Justice Heslin on Wednesday for further review. Having heard from the sides and read the relevant reports, the judge noted the progress made by the man and that he has a positive relationship with staff and peers in the care unit, and regards it as his home. 
The judge made orders continuing the placement and various associated orders. 
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