Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

New Autism website to help parents and carers

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Parents and carers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will benefit from a new information website created as part of the $190 million Helping Children with Autism package.The website was launched today at Parliament House by the Bill Shorten.

It provides information, online resources and interactive functions to support parents, carers and professionals.

This includes impartial, evidence-based information about Autism Spectrum Disorders and early intervention treatments available to children with ASDs.

“Raising a child with autism can be a huge challenge for families,” Ms Macklin said.

“This website provides valuable information about the resources that are available to help these families.

“It is especially vital for families in rural and remote areas who might otherwise have difficulty accessing information.”

The website is the culmination of eight months of development and research by the Raising Children Network, a consortium of three organisations with a proven track record in child development, research and information delivery.

The website will continue to be developed this year and will incorporate feedback from families and autism organisations.

Future enhancements will include video clips, improvements to interactive features, additional text based articles, and further parent guides to therapies which will be available in September 2009.

Mr Shorten said that the Australian Government was committed to providing improved support for children with ASDs and their families and carers.

“We recognise the difficulties that families with a child with autism are facing and are providing early intervention and support for them.”

“Professional services for these families can make a huge difference to their lives.”

The Helping Children with Autism package includes several other initiatives:

  • Autism Advisors in every state and territory;
  • Dedicated playgroups for children with an ASD or ASD like symptoms;
  • Workshops for families or carers of children with ASD;
  • Changes to Medicare items which will assist access to early intervention treatment; and
  • Workshops for teachers through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The ASD website can be found at raising children network: Children with Autisum Spectrum Disorder.