Page 4166 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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

autism in Canberra today have the best possible chance at having a happy and fulfilled life, filled with meaning and purpose. Therefore, I commend this motion to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.31): I am pleased to be able to speak on this motion today on behalf of the Greens. Mr Wall’s motion makes statements about the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention for children and students with autism that I think we can all agree with, but I was less certain about the origins of this motion and specific changes that Mr Wall was referring to today, particularly in light of the fact that much of the service delivery to children and families with autism is now delivered through the NDIS.

The reported incidence of autism spectrum disorder has been on the rise over the past few decades right across the world, and the understanding of, and the treatment of, autism disorders has become rather more sophisticated. There is no doubt that children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder do respond very well to early intervention environments that provide consistent, routine-based and visually supported environments for children.

Specific and targeted input into a child’s learning environment can help reduce their anxiety and help prevent or reduce other behaviours commonly associated with autism in early years: rituals and obsession, sensory-seeking behaviours, and concern about changes in routine and environments. Alleviating the pressure on a child in regard to their environment can assist with their language and educational outcomes and, ultimately, their capacity to integrate into a mainstream educational environment and the community.

Children with autism do often have behaviours very challenging for parents, carers and educators to manage, underpinned by their poor play skills, poor social skills, obsession with objects or routines and the aversions to particular textures or tastes of food that make mealtimes difficult. It can be very confronting and exhausting for parents to manage the distress, screaming, shutting down and self-comforting behaviour like rocking and seeking out sensory experiences.

Children with autism also have language learning and communication patterns that mean their therapeutic responses on this front are quite specific to their disorder. Educational and therapeutic responses for children with autism need to be tailored to their needs, and child development professionals now have a high level of expertise in managing these issues.

ASD can be identified in children as young as two, and often between age two and four years, as language and behaviour do not follow the normal pattern of development. Developmentally, the years between two and five are very important as there is so much capacity for learning in those years. Assessment and planning for therapeutic programming are very important and need to happen in a timely fashion.

With the transition to the NDIS, the intention is that, along with other children with other disabilities, people with autism are provided with support packages that meet their individual needs, right through from early intervention to post-school planning

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