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Children with autism getting the best start to life



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SENATOR JAN MCLUCAS Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

CHRIS HAYES MP Member for Fowler

LAURIE FERGUSON MP Member for Werriwa

Children with autism getting the best start to life

An early learning centre in Sydney’s south-west established by the Australian Government is helping local children with autism get the best start to life.

Ahead of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas today joined Member for Fowler, Chris Hayes and Member for Werriwa, Laurie Ferguson at the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre in Liverpool to meet with staff, local families and children.

“Early intervention can make a huge difference to children with an autism spectrum disorder, which is why this centre is so important to local families,” Mr Hayes said.

“Families can access the support of a team of autism trained staff at the centre, including early childhood teachers, a pediatrician, occupational therapists and speech pathologists.

“They are achieving great results, ensuring local children get the best possible start to life and are prepared for school.”

The centre is one of six autism specific centres established by the Australian Government as part of the $220 million Helping Children with Autism package, the first national initiative to help families and children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Helping Children with Autism package also provides up to $12,000 for families to access early intervention services and therapies for their young children, including access to autism advisors, family support and playgroups.

“The Helping Children with Autism package has been a big help to local families, many of whom were previously receiving no early intervention services whatsoever,” Mr Ferguson said

“Every parent wants the best for their child and this package is helping to ensure their children with autism receive support during the most critical period of their development.

More than 17,000 families and children with autism have benefitted from early intervention services since the package was introduced in October 2008.

Senator McLucas said the Government would continue to focus on supporting these children and families in the early years as we work to build a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“A National Disability Insurance Scheme would really focus on making sure early intervention services are available to families when they need them, so our children start on the right foot,” she said.

For more information on the Helping Children with Autism package, visit www.fahcsia.gov.au.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Media Contact: Renata Cekic (Hayes) 9726 3988 - Laurie Ferguson 9829 7477 - Belinda Featherstone (McLucas) 0408 743 457