Saturday, 4 June 2011
Lack of Funding “Further Disabling” People with Autism
Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent joins Autism SA Chief Executive Jon Martin in calling for increased funding to support people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
“The Federal Government has helped people with autism through programs like the Helping Children with Autism package, but funding has still decreased by about $600 per person,” said Ms Vincent. “It’s like giving with one hand and taking with the other.”
While diagnosis of ASDs increase by about 15 per cent each year, Federal and State Government funding has remained relatively static. Autism can dramatically affect a person’s ability to understand the world around them because of social and behavioural impairments, and may also result in difficulties with speech and communication.
While Miss Vincent recognises Government schemes such as the Better Start Initiative and the Helping Children with Autism package, she says they do little to address the real problem.
“Currently, the Helping Children with Autism package only covers the costs of a child’s supports until they reach the age of six. Given that children with ASD are often diagnosed when they are two or three-years-old, families are left with a very limited time to reap the benefits of this funding,” said Ms Vincent.
“With the rapidly increasing number of people diagnosed with ASD, this Government is only creating more work for itself and causing unnecessary hardship people with ASDs by not instating a more holistic support program. “Autism is a far-reaching and life-long condition; funding and support should be life-long, too.”