Page 4167 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015
and care. These new funding arrangements also extend well beyond school, and the NDIS is rightly being labelled a generational game changer in that the funding support will now follow the person rather than the service.
While the ACT government still have some oversight over the quality of the services that are being provided and ensuring that those services meet service standards, they are increasingly not becoming the service provider of services for people with autism. Indeed, the ACT government will only really be involved at the assessment end, with multidisciplinary assessments still being provided through Therapy ACT this year and then the newly formed ACT child development service in 2016. This new service is intended to focus on the early identification of developmental delays and will conduct assessments of children between zero and six years, and autism assessments up to 12 years.
But, in terms of therapeutic responses and management, the plan is that individuals with autism will access individual support packages through the NDIS. This is an outcome that, subject to service providers being in the field, will allow an element of choice for those families seeking support. In the case of autism, this seems especially pertinent, as we know that families favour different models of intervention for their children, both while young and as they get older. I hope that, as the NDIS is bedded down, parents find that those options become real for them, and I think there is an onus on the government to keep an eye on the rollout of the NDIS with regard to the real outcomes for families on the ground. Governments need to make sure that families are able to access the services they need, and that they can reach agreement on their service plans through positive engagement with the NDIA.
The government also plays an oversight role in terms of the implementation of the disability service standards, ensuring that services provided by both government and non-government agencies are delivered in a high quality way, support the development of people with a disability and enable people with a disability to be supported in their integration into the community.
Part 1(b) of Mr Wall’s motion raises the point that the management of children with ASD in the education system is “not adequate”; and 1(d) relates to post-school options. I think it is fair to say that on this issue today is an interesting day to make that call, as we have just seen the minister for education respond comprehensively to a report on students with complex needs and challenging behaviours in all ACT schools.
In relation to Mr Wall’s point, I can only agree that we should, as a community and as the government, continue to look at the needs of children with ASD and other complex needs extremely closely. This is a very difficult area of both complex pedagogy and simple but profound child-centric philosophy that cannot ever be ignored or treated with complacency. I am therefore reassured by the overarching findings and recommendations of Emeritus Professor Shaddock that, while there is work to be done to ensure a consistent, cohesive and genuinely collaborative approach to students with these needs, the ACT has a solid foundation already.
I am further encouraged by the minister’s announcement of acceptance of the vast majority of the recommendations and her commitment to increase funding, and that