Hundreds of babies aged nine to 14-months with early signs of autism will have a better chance of appropriate developmental supports, with the announcement of two new intervention pilots.
A total of $22.1 million will be provided for the two pilots, which will focus on vulnerable infants from a diverse range of families.
Up to 1500 babies and their families will benefit from the pilots which will be evidence-based and implement best practice design interventions for infants showing early signs of neurodiversity.
The pre-emptive early intervention pilots will be funded through to 2026-27 and have been developed in consultation with the early childhood, disability and health sectors, families and states and territories.
The pilots will address the issue of developmental concerns not being detected early enough and provide strengths-based and family-centred interventions to improve outcomes for young children and their families.
The announcement comes on the same day as the first full in-person meeting of the National Autism Strategy Oversight Council in Canberra.
The Oversight Council comprises of eight autistic community and sector members and two research and professional sector members who will help ensure the National Autism Strategy is grounded in evidence and informed by the experiences of autistic people.
It will meet regularly to provide guidance to the Minister and effective oversight of the Strategy’s development
About one in 70 Australians have been diagnosed with autism, and for the growing number of Australians on the autism spectrum and with other neurodevelopmental conditions, life outcomes in education, vocation, health and family functioning continue to be far from optimal.
The 2023-24 Federal Budget included $4.9 million to support the consultation phase of the development of the National Autism Strategy including for the development of the National Roadmap to improve health and mental outcomes for people with autism.
Minister Rishworth said the Albanese Labor Government had a clear and dedicated vision to improve the lives of all autistic people.
“The National Autism Strategy will form a whole-of-life plan to improve outcomes for all autistic Australians, spanning a number of key reform areas including healthcare, education and employment,” Minister Rishworth said.
“The strong representation of people with lived experience of autism on the Council, combined with experts and researchers, ensures autistic voices will be central in the development of the Strategy.
"We want to ensure no one gets left behind and that includes the one in six Australians with disability, including autistic Australians.”
For more information on the National Autism Strategy visit the Department of Social Services website.