Interventions for Children on the Autism Spectrum
The National Disability Insurance Agency recently consulted on a range of potential changes to how autistic children aged 0-12 years would access early intervention and capacity building supports through the NDIS.
The Australian Autism Alliance did not provide an overarching submission on behalf of all members, however many of its members worked and offered considered input and feedback on behalf of their own organisations.
The AEIOU Foundation urged the NDIA to abandon its proposed plan caps and called attention to the misalignment with the Autism CRC’s findings and the broader evidence base. AEIOU’s submission can be read here.
The Australian Advisory Board on Autism, which provides significant support to the Australian Autism Alliance, called on the NDIA to immediately cease the rollout of its proposed changes to early intervention supports for autistic children, and to engage in a proper co-design and consultation process. The AABA’s submission can be read here.
Amaze called on the NDIA to abandon its proposed changes to funding for autistic children, and criticised the proposal to cut capacity building budgets by 40% at age seven. Amaze echoed Autism CRC’s recommendation to develop a national Early Intervention Guideline that builds on the evidence base and informs parents and clinicians. Amaze’s submission can be read here.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) emphasised the importance of building on the national Early Childhood Evidence Report published by Autism CRC, and operationalising its findings into a comprehensive national Early Intervention Guideline. Autism CRC’s submission can be read here.
Autism Queensland consulted broadly and called upon the NDIA to immediately cease the rollout of its planned changes to early intervention supports for autistic children. Autism Queensland’s submission can be read here.
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) disagreed with the concept of levels of funding based on functional levels. Aspect pointed out that there is no direct link between a child’s functional level and their need for supports, and therefor funding. Aspect’s submission can be read here.
Australian Autism Alliance submission on NDIS Independent Assessments and Planning Policies
The Australian Autism Alliance has made a submission to the NDIA’s consultation on the proposed introduction of “independent” (or functional) assessments which will be used to determine access to the NDIS and the amount of individual plan budgets.
In the submission, we argue against the introduction of these assessments, call for the NDIA’s tender process to be stopped and for any future changes to be co-designed with NDIS participants and their families.
We are very concerned that these assessments, which will have a significant impact on support and budgets for participants, will be conducted in just a few hours by an unknown assessor, and will cause unnecessary stress and hardship for autistic people. It is very likely these assessments won’t be accurate and they are not able to be reviewed under the current proposal.
Australian Autism Alliance submission on Early Intervention supports for children in the NDIS
The Australian Autism Alliance has made a submission to the NDIA’s consultation on a redesigned Early Childhood Early Intervention approach.
There are major changes planned for the NDIS’s early intervention supports, which are currently available to children aged up to six years. In the submission, we support some of the proposed changes and call for the NDIA to pause other parts of the reform.
We think a future Early Childhood Approach should:
- Provide children and their families with immediate access to supports
- Help detect the signs of autism in children and assist families to access diagnosis
- Enable autistic children to have smooth and rapid entry into the Scheme
- Connect families with effective autism supports, informed by the emerging evidence base
- Increase and support the participation of autistic children and their families in mainstream life – including early education and school
Enable families to progressively lift their goals and aspirations for their autistic child.
Statement on the proposed introduction of mandatory NDIA determined assessments in the NDIS
Consistent with a broad range of voices across the disability sector, the Australian Autism Alliance (the Alliance) holds considerable concerns for prospective and current NDIS participants and their families about the proposed introduction of “independent assessments”.
Autism is the most prevalent diagnostic group in the NDIS: 31% of participants have a primary autism diagnosis, and an additional 5% have autism as a secondary disability. In the younger age groups, 65% of participants aged 7-14 years and 54% of those aged 15-18 years are autistic.