Celebrating World Autism Day
The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Amanda Rishworth, today joined the Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin at Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) in Alstonville, Northern New South Wales to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day with children, families and staff.
Ms Rishworth said the day was an opportunity to raise community awareness of autism, as well as encourage early diagnosis and early intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
“Right across Australia people are hosting events to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders and encourage greater understanding of these conditions, and it’s great to be part of this local celebration,” Ms Rishworth said.
“Children with autism can experience difficulties with social interaction, communication and imaginative play, which can present real challenges for many families.
“I’ve heard from many families in my own community about the significant challenges they face and the need for support to be available for their children, particularly at key transition points in life, such as starting school.
“We know that early intervention is critical in improving the cognitive emotional and social development of children with autism so they can get the best possible start in life.”
Autism Spectrum Disorders affect about 1 in 100 children in Australia. The term ‘spectrum’ is used because the range and severity of the difficulties people with autism experience can vary widely.
The Australian Government’s Helping Children with Autism initiative provides more than $70 million a year to give families raising children with autism access to vital early intervention services during the most critical period of a child’s development.
Families with children under the age of seven can access up to $12,000 for critical early intervention services through the package.
More than 24,000 children have accessed early intervention services and therapies through Helping Children with Autism.
The Australian Government is firmly committed to improving support and care for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and other disabilities that affect a child’s development.
Ms Saffin said the National Disability Insurance Scheme, DisabilityCare Australia, will fundamentally change the way we support people with a disability, their families and carers.
“The National Disability Insurance Scheme will give all parents the peace of mind that if they have a child with disability that leaves them needing daily care and support, they will get the support they need when they need it,” Ms Saffin said.
“This year, DisabilityCare Australia will become a reality for about 26,000 people with disability, their families and carers in five locations across the country.
“And in great news for the North Coast, the Australian and New South Wales governments reached an historic agreement in December last year to roll out DisabilityCare Australia across the state by July 2018.
“This will benefit about 140,000 residents across New South Wales, including people with disability in our community.”
The Australian Government continues to work with other states and territories towards agreement to roll out the NDIS across the country.
World Autism Awareness Day, held on 2 April every year, is a United Nations sanctioned day, and is a major part of Autism Awareness Month in April.