Hundreds of infants aged 9 to 14 months with early signs of autism will receive desirable developmental assistance as part of two new government-funded intervention programs.
About 1,500 vulnerable babies and their families from various backgrounds can participate in this program aimed at addressing developmental concerns that are not detected early enough.
Evidence-based pilot programs ensure that infants exhibiting early signs of neurodiversity are best served and appropriate interventions are implemented.
The federal government will provide $22.1 million (US$14.65 million) for the two programs through 2026/27.
The new program comes out of consultations with the Department of Disabilities, the Department of Early Childhood, Families, State and Territory Governments.
About 1 in 70 people Australian person Diagnosed with autism.
National Autism Strategy
The announcement was made on the same day as the National Autism Strategic Oversight Council’s first full face-to-face meeting in Canberra.
The purpose of this council is to ensure that the National Autism Strategy is evidence-based and grounded in the experiences of people with autism.
The Commission will meet regularly in Canberra to guide ministers and effectively oversee the development of the strategy.
The Oversight Council has 10 members, 8 of whom are drawn from the Autism Community and Autism Division, and 2 from the Research and Professional Division.
In a recent federal budget, the government committed $4.9 million to developing the National Autism Strategy.
Of that, $3.7 million will be used for consultation and research for the 2023-2024 National Autism Strategy.
The remaining $1.2 million will help develop a national roadmap to improve the health and mental outcomes of people with autism over the two years 2023-24.
This effort will focus on addressing the significant health and mental health inequalities experienced by the autism community and helping them access services, healthcare, education and employment.
Amanda Richworth, Minister for Social Welfare, said: “The National Autism Strategy forms a life plan to improve outcomes for all Australians with autism, spanning many key areas of reform, including health care, education and employment. It will do,” he said.
“We want to ensure that no one is left behind. One in six Australians has a disability, including those with autism.”
Why is the National Autism Strategy Important?
In Australia, the number of people with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental disorders is increasing, not decreasing.
For many people with autism, life outcomes in education, work, health, and family functioning are unsatisfactory and need improvement.
20 years gap in life expectation compared to the general public.
People with autism are also about seven times more likely to be unemployed and at higher risk of becoming homeless than people without disabilities.
People in the autism community called for a dedicated National Autism Strategy that: Improving life outcomes for all autistic people in Australia.
For the first time, it will offer a nationally coordinated approach to services and support for Australians with autism and their families.
The National Autism Strategy will be developed alongside the Australian Disability Strategy 2021-2031.
According to a study by Neuroscience research In Australia (NeuRA), an independent not-for-profit medical research organization, autism affects approximately 1 in 160 people and is more common in men than women.
It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that usually presents by the age of three.
Some people get better gradually as they get older, while others stay the same and develop new problems, such as seizures. Autism can also cause other problems, such as depression.