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Source: Government Of Australia
Published Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 – 11:05

Young children with autism spectrum disorders can now access specialist early childhood services vital for them to reach their full potential at a new, autism-specific early learning and care centre in Brisbane.

The Rudd Government is providing more than $4 million over three years to AEIOU for Children with Autism to establish the centre at Griffith University’s Nathan Campus, including $2.3 million in capital funding to build the new centre.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, and the Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett today officially opened the new centre.

The centre is one of six autism specific centres, which are part of the Rudd Government’s $190 million Helping Children with Autism Package.

The centre employs seven specialist staff, including two speech pathologists, two specialist early childhood teachers, an occupational therapist, a psychologist and a research fellow who all work alongside 10 trained child care workers.

“As many as one in 160 Australian children have an autism spectrum disorder,” Ms Macklin said.

“Early intervention and ongoing family support can make a huge difference to these children’s quality of life, making it easier for them to attend school and participate in everyday activities.

“Children with autism at the new centre will also benefit from highly-structured interaction with other children, to help them grow in confidence and experience playing and learning in groups.”

The Minister for Early Childhood Education and Childcare, Kate Ellis, said the centre draws on international best practice.

“The early years are an important time for all children, but it is especially important for helping children with autism to reach their full potential and become receptive learners,” Ms Ellis said.

“The work done in this centre will build on the existing evidence base about autism spectrum disorders and promote best practice through the involvement of Griffith University.”

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, said the Brisbane centre would offer crucial support and information to parents.

“Having a child diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder can be an isolating and difficult experience for parents. This centre will be a place where children can learn and interact with others, while getting professional support tailored to their needs,” Mr Shorten said.

The Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett welcomed the new centre which will provide support to both children and their parents.

“This new centre will help local families affected by autism, by providing a supportive environment for the children to learn and grow, as well as helping parents with their caring responsibilities,” Mr Perrett said.

Source:  http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/35069



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