Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2005) . . Page.. 1645 ..
(4) What autism-specific methods did the staff use when providing therapy for students with autism given that autism is a specific clinical diagnosis that requires autism-specific therapy;
(5) How did the Department measure and report the outcomes of this initiative (a) for children with complex behavioural and support issues and (b) for children with autism;
(6) In the last five years has the difficulty in recruiting appropriately qualified staff affected the delivery of therapy services in any way; if so, how;
(7) In the last five years, has the delivery of therapy services been limited or decreased either as a whole or to students with autism.
Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
(2) After careful consideration of the question and advice provided by my Departments, I have determined that the information sought is not in an easily retrievable form, and that to collect and assemble the information sought solely for the purpose of answering the question would be a major task, requiring a considerable diversion of resources. In this instance, I do not believe that it would be appropriate to divert resources from the provision of direct services to clients, for the purpose of answering the Member’s question.
(3) Therapy ACT provides service on a needs basis. Some teams of staff provide input to all the children that attend a special education unit, in order to assist with communication with the teacher. Up until the formation of Therapy ACT, the Disability Program serviced special schools. The eligibility of this service was that the client must have had an intellectual disability under 70 IQ.
(4) Children with autism spectrum disorder have certain traits and behaviours associated with the condition. An individual child will vary according to their environment, education setting and individual differences of personality and temperament.
Intervention is individualised and may involve:
• Assessment and intervention for sensory modulation and sensory processing issues;
• Visual communication systems such as Picture exchange System;
• Visuals, social stories to assist with change, transitions and provide structure; and
• Behaviour analysis and modification strategies.
(a) The program measures were:
• Number of hours of service;
• Number of clients;
• Teacher satisfaction; and
• Parent satisfaction.
b) The measures were not specifically compiled for children with autism. See Annual Report – Department of Health and Community Care 2000/01.
(6) There is a national shortage of allied health professionals. This shortage has affected recruitment of staff. In times of staff shortage, clients’ needs are prioritised and only life