Tasmanian Liberal's autism policy for 2014 state election

The Tasmanian Liberal Party has a policy that aims to improve services and outcomes for Tasmanian children with autism. The Liberal Party website says:

A majority Liberal Government will also invest $1 million to kick-start a longer-term strategy to implement best practice autism care to Tasmania, including introducing the American-based Rethink Autism program to the State.

The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased dramatically, and is growing at a faster rate than any other disability.
The Liberals’ investment in bringing an innovative and proven web-based platform Rethink Autism to Tasmania is an investment in our future.

This program based on Applied Behaviour Analysis, is individually tailored and can be delivered in the home, in child care centres, in schools and anywhere the child goes. It is user friendly, and will help put Tasmania at the forefront of autism support nationally.

In addition, we will pilot the establishment of an autism-specific satellite unit attached to a local school in the South of the state, so children with autism are given the best opportunity to learn and reach their full potential, while still being included in a mainstream school environment.

See http://www.tas.liberal.org.au/news/liberals-plan-education-improving-sup... or http://michaelferguson.com/2014/02/improving-support-for-students-with-d...

Liberal spokesman Michael Ferguson said:

“We will invest $1m to implement new initiatives including the establishment of an autism specialist school, bringing the innovative Rethink Autism ABA online video databank and coaching plan for all parents and educators to use at home and school.”

See http://www.examiner.com.au/story/2084173/education-head-to-head-the-bonu...

Autism Tasmania and Action for Tasmanian Autistic Children (ATAC) note that the Tasmanian Liberals have policy relevant to children with ASD while the other parties, including the governing ACT Labor/Green coalition, do not yet appear to have any policy to improve the abysmal outcomes* for people with autism/ASD (see http://www.autismtas.org.au/component/ohanah/tasmanian-election-policy-f...).

The autism/ASD organisations are holding 3 fora (forums?) around Tasmania. Contact the organisations for more information.

ATAC's recent newsletter can be downloaded below.

At a national level, more than 1 in 63 children are now diagnosed with autism. The latest Australian data shows 74% of people with autism present with severe or profound disability (meaning increased prevalence is not entirely due to milder cases ... as many official like to speculate). Many more than 2% of voters are significantly affected by autism; for many of those, autism dominates their life so autism is an increasingly important political issue. Increasingly, autism policy affects how people vote. Politicians who ignore autism or omit it from their policies do so at their own peril.

* See http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4428.0 … especially follow the links to Autism and Education, Labour Force Participation, Need for Assistance and Receipt of Assistance.

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