Media Releases

Piecemeal Approach is not the Answer to Autism Early Intervention

Yesterday’s $2.1 million federal funding injection into the Daphne Street Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre is welcome, but not nearly enough to deal with the burgeoning issue of autism support in this state.

Autism SA figures show that 200 new cases of autism in children younger than six were diagnosed in 2010 in South Australia, with that number increasing at an exponential rate each year.

Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent is concerned that federal government money being thrown at autism is inefficient, and leads the state government to forget its responsibilities in this area.

“Unmet need in autism intervention is at woeful levels in this state. What we need is a comprehensive, integrated Statewide Autism Plan from the Weatherill Government.

“Whilst the Daphne Street Centre does great work, they work with only a handful of the new diagnoses in the two to six year age bracket. One small suburban centre can’t manage the large number of children and families in urgent need of support services across Adelaide, let alone the whole state,” said Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent.

“Childhood development is now part of Minister Portolesi’s Department, yet we hear nothing from her on initiatives for service integration in this area.”

“I have met with the Minister’s office and highlighted one of the very successful models used interstate for early intervention in autism, but we’re yet to see any movement in this area from her or the Department.”

“The model I have seen used in Queensland seems highly effective, professional, streamlined, and economically sustainable.

“However, they also enjoy state government funding and support – perhaps Minister Portolesi is not prepared to stump up money here to get a service like this in operation,” said Ms Vincent.