The Autism Initiative (Helping Children with Autism) is a new funding scheme that has been allocated by the federal government for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) to access early intervention services. It is currently provided in the form of a medicare rebate for assessment and treatment of ASD & PDD through the private allied health sector. Services provided by Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Pathologists are eligible.
Eligible children are entitled to a maximum of 4 sessions of funding for Allied Health assessments and 20 sessions for Allied Health intervention (therapy). These rebated sessions are available once only, and once used, cannot be claimed again.
Children under the age of 13yrs may be eligible for assessment and treatment funding. Children under the age of 15yrs may be eligible for treatment funding only if they have a prior diagnosis of ASD or PDD.
I Think My Child May Have ASD or PDD, What Should I Do?
Consult your General Practictioner (GP). Your GP will provide you with a referral to see a Psychiatrist or Paediatrician if appropriate. If the Psychiatrist or Paediatrician decides to investigate further, you will be provided with a referral to an Allied Health Professional who will assist in the diagnosis and treatment of your child. You may ask your child's Doctor to refer you to a specific clinic if you have a preference.
What If My Child Already Has A Diagnosis Or Is Accessing Allied Health Services?
Your existing Consultant Psychiatrist or Consultant Paediatrician will be able to provide you with a referral to an Allied Health professional. If your child is already accessing early intervention services privately and is eligible, you can ask your Psychiatrist or Paediatrician for a referral to your existing provider in order to access the medicare rebate.
Where Can I Access Further Information?
Further information is available on the Department Of Health and Ageing, Diagnosis and Early Intervention for Children with Autism website.