Australian families are faced with dire choices as a result of funding for autism treatment being abysmally low.
In order to access crucial treatment, parents of children with autism are having to sell their homes or leave the country.
Governmental guidelines recommend early intervention for autism with a “minimum of 20 hours a week over two or more years” which can cost up to $50,000 a year. The government’s “Helping children with autism package” of $6000 a year covers only one hour a week, advocates say.
Nicole Rogerson from Autism Awareness Australia believes that as a result only wealthy families can provide their children with early intervention for autism. “It’s a travesty,” she said.
Ms Rogerson also runs a center for children with autism, which provide one of the best clinically proven programs Applied Behavioral Analysis. Wait lists for the facility are long and families are selling their homes to pay for the treatment.
Ms Rogerson believes the Government’s funding of autism is like putting a “Band-Aid on a gushing wound”. She believes something must be done to alleviate the financial pressure on families affected by autism.