Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

More than 2200 teachers trained to help children with autism

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Peter Garrett MP, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth

Children with autism are receiving more help at school thanks to the Gillard Government’s Positive Partnerships initiative, which has seen 2250 teachers given additional training in providing classroom support.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the $40.5 million initiative has reached its target of training 2200 teachers more than a year ahead of schedule.

“Positive Partnerships now trained 50 more teachers and school staff than originally targeted, through 63 five-day face-to-face workshops as well as online tools,” Mr Garrett said.

“The training provides teachers with the latest research and information on autism spectrum disorder and its impact on students’ learning, as well as strategies for providing support in the classroom and across the school community.

“This is all about how we can best help kids with autism who might otherwise struggle to reach their full potential at school without the benefit of that extra attention and support.”

The Government is also on track to meet the target of accessing 5,800 parents of children with autism through workshops, over the next couple of months.

“As a result of the Positive Partnerships success, new minimum targets for teaching and parental training will be set over 2012 to 2015, with the aim of reaching more than 450 teachers and school staff and over 1,450 parents each year,” Mr Garrett said.

The Australian Government has recently advertised for a National Provider of Positive Partnerships over 2012-15. Announcement of the successful tender is expected by the end of 2011.

Mr Garrett said an evaluation, conducted in November 2010, shows one of the initiative’s most successful outcomes is programs to help parents develop strategies to work with teachers and schools to produce better outcomes for their children.

“The evaluation also showed there has been strong collaboration between government, Catholic and independent education authorities in delivering Positive Partnerships,” he said.

“The Gillard Government is achieving delivering the nation’s first ever national program to support families affected by the challenging disorder.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas said Positive Partnerships is part of the Gillard Government’s $220 million Helping Children with Autism package, launched in 2008.

“This package has also delivered $12,000 in early intervention services and therapies such as occupational therapy and psychology to more than 13,000 children around the country.”

Further Positive Partnerships information and resources for parents and schools are available at

Further information about tenders is available at