$4 million for new autism care centre in Brisbane
A new, autism-specific early learning and care centre will give young Brisbane children with Autism Spectrum Disorders access to specialist early childhood services vital for them to reach their full potential.
With $4 million in funding from the Australian Government, AEIOU for Children with Autism in partnership with Griffith University will deliver an Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC) for children up to six years of age at the university’s Nathan campus.
It is one of six autism specific centres being established around Australia as part of the Australian Government’s broader commitment to deliver up to 260 Early Learning and Care Centres nationally.
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said while estimates on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders varied, it was widely accepted that as many as one in 160 children were affected.
‘To give these children the best chance in life we must make sure they get the early intervention support that is so important for their development.
‘For children with Autism Spectrum Disorders we know that early intervention can make a huge difference to their quality of life and their ability to participate in the school system,’ Ms Macklin said.
‘The Brisbane centre, due to open in February next year, will receive Government support of more than $4 million to help meet capital and operational costs.’
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, said six specialist staff, including at least one early childhood education teacher and a mix of other specialists such as psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, research and educational specialists, will be employed. Five trained child care workers would also be employed under this funding.
‘The AEIOU model combines a specialist early intervention service with child care and early childhood education, combining child care with support for the individual needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders,’ Mr Shorten said.
‘This has formed the basis of the national model for Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres across the country.’
Mr Shorten said Griffith University, the centre’s research affiliate, was nationally recognised as a leader in autism expertise and research.
‘Griffith University has not only contributed the land to the project, but will also be providing research opportunities to support the development of best practice interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders,’ Mr Shorten said.
‘Research from this project will help shape future government initiatives to provide early intervention support for children.’
For more information on the Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres visit the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs’ website at www.fahcsia.gov.au.