Page 3289 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013
eligible to access federal support, and do so. Early intervention is key. We know that intensive therapy is vital, and correct and quick diagnosis underpins the chance of success.
Interestingly, and not without coincidence, the University of Canberra, where a former Greens leader is now employed, is about to deliver an AEIOU centre for early intervention education for children diagnosed with autism. It is exactly the model that the Canberra Liberals said was so needed for Canberra and so ideal for Canberra families. We congratulate the University of Canberra for this initiative. It will not only benefit the families of children with autism disorders but also help to provide more opportunities for university undergraduates studying teaching, psychology, speech therapy and other disciplines that form the successful team used in the AEIOU model.
Member for Brindabella Andrew Wall and I had the great opportunity to visit the centre at Griffith University recently. It confirmed all that I had read and researched about this program. I have seen other autism therapies in other states and other countries, but the AEIOU model has the most complete range of services and, not by coincidence, the highest success rate for moving students into a mainstream setting. They have a number of core outcomes for all young children moving through their centre. These include that all children will be vocal and all children will be able to socialise. For families with children not afflicted by this disorder, these might seem small steps, but they represent enormous progress for families dealing with these issues.
I hate to think what might have resulted if the University of Canberra had not picked this up—hopefully they will pick this up. We would probably be bringing this motion on, yet again, next year. And we would have families with autism continuing to be politely patient, hoping that it might soon be their turn for good news. In the meantime, how many young people would have had their chance for the best education and life skills outcomes denied?
Ms Burch, we are calling on you, we are calling on the government and we are calling on the Greens. Mr Rattenbury, you have your chance to actually show that what is being done in Queensland is something that could and should be done here. Well done, University of Canberra, to date. Hopefully they will come to a conclusion. At this point I have to say: shame, Labor, and shame, Greens, for not supporting the motion that we originally placed and what the University of Canberra is now trying to do.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.40): I would like to thank Ms Lawder for today raising for discussion this issue about the provision of adequate and specific services for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. It is a very important topic.
I also note that when we discussed the motion around establishing an autism school in May here in the Assembly, the minister undertook to provide information to the Assembly about the nature of the services provided in the ACT to people on the