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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1664..


(1) How many people were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders in the ACT for each of the last five years and what is the breakdown by age group diagnoses in the age ranges of (a) 0-4, (b) 5-9, (c) 10-14, (d) 15-19 and (e) 20+;

(2) Is it a fact that in reporting Australia's Health 2006 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) stated that (a) of those health conditions recorded in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, the 15 most likely to be associated with profound or severe core activity limitations are shown in Figure 2.11 and (b) of people aged under 65 years with autism in 2003, 82% reported such limitations, as did 79% of those with paralysis, 67% of those with speech-related conditions and 64% of those with cerebral palsy www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10321. Is it also a fact that in its Bulletin 42, the AIHW reported that 87.3% of children with autism and related disorders have a severe or profound disability ("core activity limitations") http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/aus/bulletin42/bulletin42.pdf;

(3) In the ACT does any other disability type have a higher rate of severe and profound disability in children.

Ms Gallagher: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) Paediatricians, psychologists (private practice), interstate services (eg ASPECT, NSW Autism Association) and Therapy ACT conduct assessments for ACT clients. Therapy ACT conducted approximately 330 assessments in the last five years. Of the assessments:

  • Children of 0-4 years comprised 30%; 5-9 years comprised 50%; 10-14 years comprised 20%;
  • 6 assessments have taken place of young people 15 years and older; and
  • 50% of assessments have resulted in a diagnosis.

(2) Yes

(3) Autism spectrum disorders, like other disabilities, vary in their severity and the degree to which individuals are able to function varies as a result. Therapy ACT treats individuals according to their individual needs and ability to function in the community.

Autism spectrum disorders

(Question No 1567)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Disability and Community Services, upon notice, on 2 May 2007:

(1) Is it a fact that (a) the federal Department of Health and Ageing issued a brochure entitled "Early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders: Guidelines for best practice"that says on page 4 that children need intensive autism-specific early intervention at least 20 hours per week over an extended period of at least two years and (b) that a paper on autism in an Australian medical journal stated that it is now widely accepted that between 15 and 25 hours of specific intervention is adequate and services available differ between areas, and in Australia there are no government-


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