Review of the Research to Identify the Most Effective Models of Practice in Early Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Appendix G: Copy of peak bodies’ letter and submission request


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Appendix G: Copy of peak bodies’ letter and submission request

FaHCSIA Review of Autism Interventions by Australian Autism Research Collaboration (AARC)

Working group: Professors Prior, Roberts, Williams and Rodger

10 April 2011

Mr Ron Hunt (CEO, Occupational Therapy Australia Limited)

Gail Mulcair Speech Pathology Australia

Prof. Lyn Littlefield Australian Psychological Society

Dr Gervase Chaney Division of Paediatrics, Royal Australasian College of Physicians President, Paediatrics and Child Health Division, Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Prof Philip Hazell, Child Psychiatry Branch of The Royal Australian and new Zealand College of Psychiatrists

Jon Martin Autism Advisory Board

The Australian Government has committed $190 million for the four years up to June 2012 to deliver the Helping Children with Autism package. The package will help address the need for support and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). All initiatives include support for parents, families, carers and children from Indigenous backgrounds. Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds and those living in rural and remote areas. The package includes:

Autism Advisors

Funding for early intervention services

PlayConnect Playgroups

Early Days family workshops

An ASD website
If you wish to know more about the package, please follow

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has commissioned a review of autism interventions funded by the Helping Children with Autism Package (HCWA). This review is being undertaken by a multidisciplinary group of researchers from Psychology (Professor Margot Prior), Paediatrics (Professor Katrina Williams), Speech Pathology (A Professor Jacqueline Roberts) and Occupational Therapy (Professor Sylvia Rodger) from the Australian Autism Research Collaboration (AARC).

This review seeks to: (1) provide a comprehensive list of autism interventions based on the latest evidence based research, (2) provide a basis for appropriate assessment by FaHCSIA of provider applications; (3) note concerns raised by families and practitioners, based on feedback from peak bodies, about current practices and ineligible interventions and (4) develop a process to be applied by FaHCSIA designed to ensure that children are receiving effective evidence based interventions and that families are able to make more informed decisions about available interventions.

FaHCSIA have requested that the Working Group consult with a range of stakeholders including the Peak Bodies who represent members who are registered as Autism Panel Providers (professionals accredited by FaHCSIA to provide renumerated interventions) for the HCWA package or practitioners who refer families to such providers. As your organisation is such a Peak Body, we are requesting that you seek the views of your membership in order to provide a submission to the Working Party. We are contacting Occupational Therapy Australia, Speech Pathology Australia, the Australian Psychological Society, The Royal Australian College of Physicians Division of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

We are interested in a submission from your organisation that addresses the following:

What are your members’ views about the way the HCWA package is administered in relation to: approval of panel providers; approval of specific types of interventions; panel providers’ interaction with FaHCSIA?

How adequate do your members consider the current provision of eligible early interventions in the HCWA package in terms of: the amount allocated per family; the breadth of interventions provided; quality of advice given to parents by autism advisors; time frame for service provision (i.e. only for children less than 7 years of age)?

What specific concerns (if any) do you have about any of the currently funded interventions? Please see url below for more information on these and attached Appendix A

Are there interventions you are aware of that you consider should be funded that currently are not? Please provide comments.

Please list any currently funded interventions that you consider should no longer be funded, and explain why.

What issues (if any) are you aware of that parents may have in accessing HCWA funded early intervention services?

Are there any aspects of FaHCSIA’s implementation of the HCWA package that could be improved for your members and parents?

How satisfied are parents are with the current list of eligible interventions available through the HCWA? If not satisfied, what are parents’ main issues?

The Early Intervention Operational Guidelines outline the therapies eligible for funding under the HCWA package. Does your organisation refer to these guidelines and do you have any suggested improvements for the guidelines? Please see url below for more information on these and attached Appendix A,

Please email your written submission as an email attachment as Word Document by Tuesday 3rd May 2011 to Sue Dodd ( If you have any questions please contact Sylvia Rodger or phone 07 33651664 or Sue Dodd

We thank you very much for your assistance in obtaining the views of your membership. This will assist us to provide comprehensive advice to FaHCSIA and to improve service provision for children with ASD and their families in Australia.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sylvia Rodger

On behalf of Professors Prior, Roberts and Williams

AARC Working Group.

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