The parents of a seven-year-old girl, Lexi Ford, who on Monday spoke about how she was given an appointment with HSE school age services for November 2026, say they have received no contact from the HSE since then.

Stephen Ford and Sorcha O'Connor say they are still waiting after the HSE told RTÉ News on Monday that they should not have been sent a letter notifying them of the appointment.

Lexi has autism and the pandemic has caused her severe anxiety, which is preventing her full return to school.

"We still haven't heard anything," Mr Ford said. "We thought we might have got a letter or something."

On Monday, the HSE told RTÉ News that a letter offering the appointment in five-and-a-half years' time should not have been sent.

It said it would investigate why Dublin South, Kildare and West Wicklow Community Healthcare had issued the communication.

It said the school-age service that the letter referred to was being disbanded this coming June, to be replaced by a new programme.

Mr Ford said that he and his wife were feeling upset and angry that the HSE told RTÉ News that the letter should not have been sent, but that they have been told nothing.

"We feel that they don't care and that they don't actually mean it," he said.

Lexi is suffering from anxiety brought on, her parents believe, by the pandemic and her loss of routine.

She was initially unable to return to her school, St Dominic's in Tallaght, but in recent weeks she has been coaxed back on reduced hours. However, she is struggling.

The school has said it would love to have Lexi back for longer days, but it is unable to offer her the intensive support that she would need because it does not have sufficient resources.

After Easter, Lexi's reduced attendance is due to be cut even further, but her family does not blame the school.

2026 appointment letter should not have been sent - HSE

On Monday, her mother Sorcha told how she and her husband had spent the past year "crying and begging" for support for their daughter.

They said Lexi had been transformed from a happy outgoing little girl to one who now has great difficulty leaving their home.

"We want to know what is going to happen to Lexi now," Mr Ford told RTÉ News last night.

"The HSE telling RTÉ that the school age team is going to be done away with doesn't help Lexi."

"Everybody is saying she is going to be helped - but when? She needs help right now," he said, referring to comments made by the Taoiseach in the Dáil yesterday.

Responding to a question from Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Michéal Martin said that Lexi will not have to wait until November 2026 to be seen.

However, the HSE has not said when Lexi is likely to be offered supports.

Mr Ford said: "We don't know what is going to happen to her after Easter. It feels like they don't really care. We are the parents, Lexi is our child, and they haven't had the decency to tell us anything."

The letter offering the November 2026 appointment was sent to the family last week.

It stated: "This service currently has lengthy waiting lists for services.

"It is expected that Lexi will be seen for her first appointment, which will focus on the development of her Individual Family Service plan, in November 2026.

"Please note that this date will also be subject to change due to the effects of the current Covid-19 pandemic."

While the HSE told RTÉ News on Monday that the letter should not have been sent, it did not address in any way the fact that an appointment had been offered for five-and-a-half years' time.

It did not state that Lexi could expect to receive support any earlier. Her parents said that as far as they were concerned nothing had changed.

"They are not saying that she won't have to wait almost six years, so we don't feel that anything has changed," they said.

Lexi Ford's parents still have no idea when, or if, their little girl will get the support that she needs now.