Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Autism-specific early learning and care centre moving to Bedford

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Stephen Smith MP, Member for Perth

A Perth centre providing specialist early childhood services to children with autism is set to expand, moving from Warwick to Bedford in early 2013.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas and Federal Member for Perth Stephen Smith have announced that the Australian Government has provided $290,000 to assist in co-locating the Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre presently in Warwick to 149-159 Salisbury Street, Bedford.

“We know how important early intervention services are for children with autism and this centre will provide the additional early support needed during the most critical period of a child’s development,” Senator McLucas said.

Stephen Smith welcomed the news of the relocation of this facility to Bedford.

“The expansion is great news for parents of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Perth. The premises in Bedford will be larger, better equipped and is more centrally located.”

“The new site will be upgraded to ensure it has excellent indoor and outdoor spaces for the children to explore,” Mr Smith said.

“There will also be improved administrative facilities for the centre staff and its research partners.”

“This move will help ensure the needs of local children with autism spectrum disorder are met by providing much needed extra space and facilities.”

“Early intervention and ongoing family support can make a huge difference to these children’s quality of life and their ability to participate in school and everyday activities.” Mr Smith said.

The Perth centre is one of six autism specific centres established around Australia as part of the Australian Government’s $220 million Helping Children with Autism package.

The centre is staffed by trained child care workers and offers programs run by speech pathologists, psychologists, occupational therapists and early childhood educators. This centre is managed by the Autism Association in partnership with Curtin University of Technology.

The Helping Children with Autism package also provides up to $12,000 for families to access early intervention services and therapies for their young children, including access to autism advisors, family support and playgroups.