Petition update

Great news! Finally, a Government response to our petition! Please read on...

Susan Fox
Kyneton, Australia

Mar 22, 2015 — Thank you so much for your signatures and your comments to date, which were sent to Senator Mitch Fifield and the NDIA in July 2014. Please find the response at the bottom of this post.

Let’s make sure Australian kids have access to gold-standard medical care, just as they would have if they had any other medical condition. Australian children with ASD should not be missing out on gold-standard early intervention. Thank you so much for your time and input; it is greatly appreciated.

If you have the time and inclination, it would be incredibly helpful and greatly appreciated if you could copy and paste the email below and email to :

-Senator Mitch Fifield: minister.fifield@dss.gov.au
-Senator Scott Morrison: scott.morrison.mp@aph.gov.au
-Mary Hawkins, NDIA: parliamentary@ndis.gov.au
-ALSO: Please cc asdpetition@gmail.com indicating that you’re happy to put your email address beside your name on the Change.org petition (to enable us to push for the petition to be tabled in parliament)

Dear ___________,

Thank you for the response from NDIA and Senator Fifield to our Change.org petition requesting increased funding for early intervention for children with ASD under the NDIS.

Whilst NDIA’s aim to achieve good practice is welcomed, I am writing to encourage the NDIA to fund best practice early intervention for Australian children, as currently occurs in many comparable countries around the world. Australian doctors, parents and politicians do not expect any less for children with congenital heart problems, asthma, or any other medical conditions. Similarly, for some of our potentially most vulnerable children, namely those with ASD, it is imperative that we aim for best practice with regards to early intervention. Financially, the benefits of early intervention in ASD for Government have been decisively proven time and again, both in reducing long-term costs associated with disability as well as increasing adult participation in the workforce.

Innumerable studies have demonstrated the benefits associated with ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) and ESDM (Early Start Denver Model). These therapies require a minimum of 15-20 (and up to 40) hours per week to achieve best outcomes and thus a $17,000 support package is grossly inadequate to attain best outcomes for Australian children with ASD.

I write as an advocate for the thousands of Australian children with ASD who are currently failing to receive best practice early intervention and thus may be unable to reach their full potential. My greatest hope is that all Australian children with ASD will receive adequate and evidence-based early intervention under the NDIS in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

______________

Alternatively, if you would be happy to write an email of your own, including your personal story (as a parent, grandparent, relative, friend, therapist or provider), that would be very effective and greatly appreciated.

For your information, the response from NDIA to our Change.org petition is below:

Thank you for your email of 10 July 2014 and your recent phone enquiry with the Office of Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services, about increased funding for early intervention services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Minister has asked the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to respond on his behalf and advise you of activities that are underway in relation to the provision of services for children with ASD. I apologise for the delay in responding.
It is the intention of the NDIA to support good practice in early intervention for children with ASD. The current National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Operational Guidelines recommend a benchmark figure for a support package of $16,000. However, this is not a funding cap.
The NDIS is an individualised scheme and currently funds a wide range of support packages for children with ASD residing in the trial sites.
The NDIA has commissioned a project involving renowned experts in early intervention for children with ASD to ensure that NDIS funding decisions are in line with current good practice. It is anticipated that this project will be completed by July 2015.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to the Minister’s attention.
Yours sincerely
Mary Hawkins
Branch Manager
Market and Sector Division
National Disability Insurance Agency

10 February 2015


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