Funding is a word that strikes fear into the heart of many a special education teacher! Private early intervention and support for children with autism is expensive. Government disability funding is often hard to come by, particularly in the area of autism funding. So what's the story in Australia?
Australian Autism Funding
Disability funding in Australia has undergone something of a drastic change in recent times. In the past, children with autism have often slipped through the cracks when it comes to disability funding. Disability funding for some types of service and support has simply not covered children with autism, or indeed children with conditions that fall outside the 'intellectual, physical, sensory' boxes. But disability funding in Australia now includes a new package called 'Helping Children with Autism.' This is a $190 million package over four years of disability funding which is aimed at children with autism. It can be used for a range of services and supports to help families learn about, treat and manage their child's autism effectively.
What can this Disabiltiy Funding be used for?
The disability funding provided through the 'Helping Children with Autism' package can be used for a range of autism treatment programs, education services, parent support and information and early intervention and school based services. The disability funding provided by the Australian government includes:
- Access to workshops to help parents and family members to learn about autism, and how to best work with and support their child with autism in the early days of their condition
- The establishment of playgroups that are specifically designed to suit children with autism
- The provision of Autism Advisors located throughout Australia to help guide parents successfully through the maze of information about autism and autism treatment programs, and to help them access services and supports
- To provide direct autism early intervention services to help children with autism
- To provide professional development training for teachers and other school based support staff to help them work effectively with children with autism
To maintain a website of information for parents and others about autism treatment programs, with a traffic light system that ranks programs according to cost, time commitment, research basis and validity and any precautions or contraindications that may be associated with the particular autism treatment program of interest