federally funded early intervention

The Early Intervention part of the Helping Children with Autism package (see http://a4.org.au/a4/hcwa080625) is now underway. The panel of Early Intervention providers is at http://www.facsia.gov.au/disability/autism_panel/default.htm. What do people think? Have you tried the system? Is it working?


HCWA Early Intervention

Autism Advisor for NSW operational, some families beginning to access support. I think its early days and hopefully families will get as much information about what is available with reference to the HCWA early intervention package.

Sole therapists are excluded from the Early Intervention Panel

I am a Speech Pathologist who has worked in Autism Early Intervention for 15 years and I feel that I have been excluded from being on the Panel because of the application process.


The concept of a Service Provider Consortium is ideal, however in reality the majority of Service Providers work alone.


There are approximately 110 Speech Pathology practices in Queensland offering Early Intervention services (Speech Pathology Australia – Qld Private Practitioners Network 2007/2008). I note that as of the date of this letter, not one practice has applied to be on the Panel.


I recently organised a meeting of other highly experienced sole practitioners:  Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Psychologists to discuss forming a consortium. We are all passionate about early intervention and were dedicated to the concept of working as a collaborative team.

As a group, we concluded that the time and costs involved in both the establishment of the consortium and the ongoing time and costs involved in meeting the requirements for the panel would preclude us from applying.



This process is trying to force therapists to set up a false consortium.


I suggest that sole providers are allowed to apply to be on the panel.


Early Intervention Service Providers apply to be on the panel, not for profit, but to assist their clients.


My clients do not want to change therapists.


They do not want to travel with young children to access therapy services. The families who choose to continue seeing their current therapists will need to forfeit the $6000 a year funding package. These are families who a highly stressed and are financially stretched.




Sole Practioners

Like Bronwyn,

I have been working in this field for over 25 years. I have though been fortunate to have been invited to be part of a consortium, and we are  currently working out how this will work for us all. The concern I have  in these early days is more of the confusion that parents are experiencing in the process. Most of those who I have been working with for some time were still unaware of the funding or what that would mean to them until I gave  them the information.

It will be interesting to see how easy it will be to manage the claims system and what that might mean for someone like me who is private practice and will have to submit a claim and await payment and how sustainable that will be.  At least  it might mean that my families  can stay with the practioner of choice, however many who have their names on waiting lists for other programmes are confused about how they access what. How to divide the money etc.

I am hopeful that the teething problems will resolve over time and that all families will ultimately benefit.


membership of FaHCSIA's EI panel

You are not alone. Many solo providers are in the same situation.

FaHCSIA chose this model for reasons that it has not explained entirely. Interestingly, the model excludes some providers whose EI services is based on what is reported as having the best evidence. FaHCSIA's model is especially challenging for people who have experience providing EI or treating ASD but who do not belong to an "allied health" profession.

I suggest you review the providers list on FaHCSIA's panel occasionally. If you see a consortium that you feel you could be part of, then ask them if you can join. Or ask parent groups in your region who you should join with to form a consortium ... then call them up and see if they are interested. Maybe involve parents in organising and running the consortium so you can focus on providing crucial services.

You could contact the HCWA info line and chat to them about it ... try

And don't forget to demand that your state government also contribute to funding the services provided by your consortium.

Panel applications are open again ... this time, you can apply when you are ready. There is no deadline. see http://www.facsia.gov.au/internet/facsinternet.nsf/disabilities/services-application_autism_panel.htm

Good luck!

Call from UK parents to those involved in lobbying for funding

In the UK we have no automatic right to early intervention funding for ASD.  Many families have to fight long and stressful battles even to get the educational provision our kids are entitled to.  Families also have great difficulty accessing funding for social care, including respite provision: there is no legislative framework to support the funding of early intervention, despite all the evidence in favour of early intervention.  Don't even get me started on medical and health funding :(:(

A parents group I am involved with is really interested in learning from this fantasic model of federally funded early intervention.  I would be really grateful if anyone who was involved in lobbying for this funding could get in touch so we can open a dialogue about how to start a similar process here.

We have some good links with the major UK voluntary sector autism organisations as well as a small group of very strong people who are commited to driving this forwards and we would love to learn from your experiences.

My off list e mail is zoet@consultancynorthwest.com

Hope to hear from you soon - thanks.