election 2012: ALP promises more early intervention

In his Chronicle column (and online, click here), Andrew Leigh highlighted ACT Labor's (non-specific) promise to increase early intervention for children with autism in the ACT's Autism Intervention Units run by the Education Department. Andrew wrote:

For children with autism spectrum disorder, ACT Labor has promised more hours for early intervention.

ACT Labor's policy announcement is here. It says:

If re-elected ACT Labor will provide $10 million over four years for targeted, recurrent initiatives to address student need at a school level. This funding will assist students with complex learning needs, in both mainstream and special school environments.

ACT government schools will be able to apply for recurrent grants to carry out sustainable, evidence-based programs over the next four years.

Funded programs could include:

  • The use of technology to provide intervention amongst primary and high school children, particularly targeting core social–communication deficits;
  • Community-focussed approach which brings parents and carers into the learning environment;
  • Supporting the outcomes from the Expert Taskforce on Learning Difficulties;
  • more support for tackling autism in early childhood development through more funded hours for autism intervention units;
  • A trial of innovative interdisciplinary schooling and support methods for children with special needs such as the Early Start Denver Model; and

Funded programs will include a required evaluation component to assist and direct further needs-based initiatives.

It is unclear how much more early intervention a child with autism will get in the ACT.

No information about this was included in ACT Labor's response to SOfASD's e;ection questions (see http://sofasd.org.au/sofasd/node/3).