The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will be better informed when it comes to supporting people with autism, thanks to the recent establishment of an Autism Advisory Group.
The group has been formed to provide advice and feedback and reflect the NDIA’s commitment to working with key stakeholders and autism experts.
The Autism Advisory Group will include the Co-operative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), Amaze, Autistic Self-Advocacy Network - Australia and New Zealand (ASAN), Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorder (AABASD) and the Australian Autism Alliance.
According to the Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan, the establishment of the advisory group is consistent with the Government’s commitment to a fact-based collaborative approach to issues related to autism and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Issues that will be discussed by these specialist organisations include:
The increased prevalence of autism within the Australian population, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The development of a set of best practice diagnostic guidelines. This will be funded by the NDIA, undertaken by Autism CRC and reviewed by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
The relevance of the new PEDI-CAT (ASD) as a functional assessment tool in Australia.
The NDIA’s proposal for an independent third party to pilot which functional assessment tools are most appropriate in making eligibility assessments for the NDIS.
Whether functional assessment tools can assist in defining the necessary supports for participants.
The best approach to delivering autism services for eligible National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants and children who receive ECEI services, within the context of broader mainstream autism services.
Early Childhood Intervention Australia Victoria/Tasmania (ECIA VIC/TAS) says the group is a great response to long held concerns surrounding autism entry criteria and funding levels in the NDIS.
ECIA VIC/TAS welcomes this response by the Agency and applauds the initiative announced by the Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan.
Autism CRC also commends the NDIA on establishing the Autism Advisory Group and is looking forward to contributing to positive outcomes within the autism community.
“As Australia’s national research organisation, facilitating collaborative autism research across the lifespan, we are pleased to provide a channel to research and the evidence-base for consideration by the Advisory Group and the NDIA, as well as inform practice and policy more generally,” an Autism CRC spokesperson says.
Autism CRC has played a valuable role in developing Australia’s first national guidelines towards a more timely and accurate autism diagnosis.
Historically, autism has not been straightforward to diagnose due to variances in clinical judgement, the level of skills and experience of clinicians and variability in symptoms.
The guidelines developed by Autism CRC are now being reviewed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
“We look forward to working with the other members of the Autism Advisory Group, the NDIA and the broader community in co-producing quality outcomes for those on the autism spectrum and their families.”
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