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Positive start for children with autism



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SENATOR THE HON JACINTA COLLINS Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations

MEDIA RELEASE

2 April 2012

A POSITIVE START FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM

Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, Senator Jacinta Collins, today launched the second phase of the Gillard Government’s Positive Partnerships to provide classroom and family support for students with autism.

Senator Collins said the Gillard Government reinvestment of over $21 million is a great kick start to Autism Awareness Month.

“One in 160 children are affected by autism, and on this, the 5th anniversary of World Autism Awareness Day, countries around the world are celebrating their efforts to raise awareness of this socially crippling disorder that affects tens of millions of people worldwide,” Senator Collins said.

“The first phase of the Positive Partnership initiative was so widely successful that the number of teachers and staff we expected to train in helping students with autism was exceeded.”

Since 2008, Positive Partnerships has trained more than 8,000 parents, carers and school staff across Australia in how better to meet the needs of students with autism, and has provided online resources for more than 28,000 people.

Senator Collins said Australia’s significant progress in supporting school-aged students with autism spectrum disorder is also making the jobs easier for their parents, their carers, their teachers, school leaders, teaching support assistants and occupational specialists.

"I am pleased to announce that a new consortium will train more than 450 additional teachers and 1,450 parents each year until 2015,” Senator Collins said.

The Partnerships between the Education and the Autism Community (PEAC) group will deliver the program between 2012 to 2015.

Members of this group include Autism Queensland, Autism South Australia, Flinders University and Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) who will lead the consortium.

“Positive Partnerships is part of the $220 million Helping Children with Autism package, a key aspect of the Gillard Government’s ongoing commitment to giving all children the best opportunity to learn and lead productive lives.”

“Every child, regardless of their situation, is entitled to the best education possible and the opportunity to become independent, to enter the workforce and lead a productive life.”

Senator Collins’ Contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804