Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Celebrating International Asperger’s Day

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Trish Crossin, Senator for the Northern Territory

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas and Senator for the Northern Territory, Trish Crossin today recognised International Asperger’s Day with staff of Autism Northern Territory and Autism South Australia, Carers NT and the families who use their services.

Senator McLucas said today was an occasion for everyone to celebrate the achievements of people with Asperger’s Syndrome, and to take the opportunity to give recognition to their families and carers.

“International Asperger’s Day highlights the significance of Asperger’s Syndrome for both society and individuals,” Senator McLucas said.

“Today is an opportunity to recognise the important contributions that people with Asperger’s Syndrome make in our community.

“Asperger’s, and other conditions on the Autism spectrum, should be no barrier to leading a fulfilling, happy and productive life.

Senator McLucas said the Federal Labor Government understands the importance of early intervention in helping children reach their full potential.

“Our government is providing more than $70 million a year for early intervention services and therapies under the Helping Children with Autism package, including for children with Asperger’s Syndrome.

“The Helping Children with Autism package is helping make these essential services more affordable for families.”

Under the package families can receive up to $12,000 to access early intervention services and therapies for children up to the age of 7.

Senator Crossin commended the role that Autism NT and Carers NT play in advocating and supporting people with Asperger’s Syndrome across the Northern Territory.

“The Federal Labor Government recognises that it is essential for families to feel supported in their caring role,” Senator Crossin said.

“Autism NT and Carers NT play a critical role in helping support children with autism, their families and carers.”

“I would like to take a moment today to thank the hardworking organisations that are providing invaluable services to people with Asperger’s, their families and carers across our community and I encourage everyone to get involved in celebrating International Asperger’s Day”.

Senator McLucas said the Federal Labor Government is working hard to ensure that support is accessible to families right across the country.

“As part of our Helping Children with Autism package, two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Liaison Officers have been engaged to increase early intervention access among Aboriginal children and their families, and ensure they don’t fall through the cracks,” Senator McLucas said.

Since the start of Helping Children with Autism in October 2008, more than 24,000 children have accessed early intervention services and therapies, including access to Autism Advisors, family support and playgroups.

Senator McLucas said the Federal Labor Government is working hard to deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme to make sure all Australians with disability get the care and support they need, no matter where they live or how they acquired their disability.

“The Gillard Government is investing $1 billion to deliver the first stage of the NDIS to provide Australians with a disability the care and support they need, when they need it.”

Senator McLucas also welcomed the Gillard Government’s announcement on Saturday of more than $70 million to help Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) improve the lives of Australians.

The CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders will receive $31 million to enhance the lives of individuals with lifelong development disabilities arising from an autism spectrum disorder.

This is the fourth year International Asperger’s Day has been recognised on 18 February, the birth day of Dr Hans Asperger, the physician who defined the syndrome and whose work has been recognised worldwide.

For more information on raising children with autism, go to

For information about how to register for Helping Children with Autism, visit