Page 4165 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

groups depending on the severity of their disorder. For the purpose of this explanation, group 1 was children with a severe intellectual impairment, likely to be non-verbal and suffering from significant behavioural issues and anxieties. That forms about 20 per cent of the childhood population of autistic kids. Group 2 was made up of children with mild to moderate intellectual impairment and likely to experience difficulties with language and communication, particularly in social settings. Group, group 3 was children with a high-functioning autism. While not suffering from intellectual disabilities, these individuals can experience difficulties in other areas of their lives, and the long-term impacts can be often quite severe. This, again, forms about 20 per cent of children with the diagnosis.

In the education years of the children of group 2 who did not undertake an early intervention program, 80 per cent of them required full-time special education, with the balance of them entering into a mainstream school but still requiring regular special ed compared to only 40 per cent of children who received early intervention requiring full-time special education with 60 per cent managing to enter mainstream schooling.

Of the children in group 3 who did not receive early intervention support, only 20 per cent managed to attend a mainstream school without any additional support, while 65 per cent of those who received early intervention were able to enter mainstream schooling without any other support or assistance. Later in life, employment prospects of those individuals who went through an early intervention program are significantly improved, with 95 per cent of those belonging to group 3 and 70 per cent of those from group 2 going on to mainstream employment at or above minimum wage.

The most significant improvements can be found and measured in living independence for individuals in group 1. Eighty per cent of those individuals who did not receive any early intervention are expected to require full-time care compared to only half that number for individuals who received early intervention in those formative years. There are significant improvements in these figures across all groups, with 70 per cent of those classified as group 3 and who received early intervention support managing to live completely independently.

To put these benefits into dollar terms, over the lifetime of an individual with autism, the savings to the community and government for a group 3 individual are estimated to be at around $750,000 ranging through to over $1.3 million in savings to the community for an individual who belong to group 1. This highlights that early intervention is the best recipe for improving lifelong outcomes and the life trajectory for young people with autism. The ACT faces enormous challenges when it comes to post-school options for children with a disability, and the evidence of the possible success of a program such as AEIOU cannot be discounted or discredited.

To conclude, it is imperative that the government take heed of the numerous reports and the evidence before them and actively seek a whole-of-government solution for those with autism within our community. This is not a problem that will go away and it is not a problem that can be swept under the carpet. We cannot simply ignore the need for a more detailed, proactive approach to ensure young children diagnosed with

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video