Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Early intervention funding for Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Rudd Government will start rolling out the $90 million early intervention component of its Helping Children with Autism package from 27 October.Families of children aged 0-6 years diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and not yet at full time school, will have access to a funding package of up to $12,000 per eligible child over two years to access early intervention services.

The package will give families greater access to a range of early interventions, including one-on-one intensive activities and tailored group and individual programs.

Families will be able to visit an Autism Advisor through autism associations in each state to access services that best suit their child from a specialist panel.

Autism Advisors will provide information and advice for families and carers following diagnosis and will be the central liaison for early intervention funding packages.

Around 1,200 families who reside in an outer regional or remote area may also be eligible to access a one-off payment of $2,000 per eligible child to cover their additional expenses accessing early intervention services.

From February 2009, Melbourne’s Parenting Research Centre will deliver a national program of workshops to assist families and carers to effectively manage the pressures they face in raising their children.

The workshops will also offer opportunities for families from diverse backgrounds to create links within their local ASD community.

The Raising Children Network website will also be expanded from February next year to provide increased evidence-based information about ASDs and early intervention approaches. The website will also offer online resources and interactive functions to support parents, carers and professionals.

Further information is available on the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs website at: Helping Children with Autism or call 1800 289 177 (TTY 1800 260 402).