Early Childhood Intervention Services

Earlychild

Worried About Your Child's Development

All children develop differently and at their own pace. However, as a parent you know your child the best and if you feel worried about any aspect of your child’s development you should not ignore it. You should speak to your GP or Paediatrician about your worries. The information below lists several diagnostic programs and initiatives as well as treatment options available to you and your family.   

DIAGNOSTIC OPTIONS

Child Development Units/Services

The Child Development Units/Services are mostly based within hospitals or community health centres. They provide multidisciplinary assessment and sometimes care for children with complex developmental needs. If you are concerned about your child’s development speak to your GP or a Paediatrician about being referred to the Child Development Unit/Service in your local area. Please note that some areas have long waitlists and you might be expected to wait up to 6 months or longer. It is recommended to write as much information as you can on the referral form and include any reports you might have. Most assessments can take up to 4 hours to complete. In most cases, the diagnosis will be made and a written report issued at the end of the assessment meeting. Consider taking a support person with you as this can be a very emotional process.

Helping Children with Autism program

The Helping Children with Autism program is aimed at children under the age of 13 and provides up to 4 Medicare subsidised assessment sessions in total to assist with the diagnosis. The sessions can be used to see any of the following professionals: Audiologist, Occupational Therapist, Optometrist, Orthoptist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist and/or Speech Pathologist. The relevant professionals need to be registered with Medicare for this item.

A referral by a Paediatrician, Psychiatrist or GP is required to access the Helping Children with Autism program. For more information, please click here. To find and compare services offered to children with Autism please search for private or NDIS services.

Better Start for Children with Disabilities initiative

The Better Start for Children with Disabilities initiative is aimed at children under the age of 13. It provides up to 4 Medicare subsidised assessment sessions in total to assist with the diagnosis. The sessions can be used to see any of the following professionals: Audiologist, Occupational Therapist, Optometrist, Orthoptist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist and/or Speech Pathologist. The relevant professionals need to be registered with Medicare for this item.

A referral by Paediatrician, Psychiatrist or GP is required to access the Better Start for Children with Disabilities initiative. For more information, please click here. To find and compare services offered to children with disabilities please search for private or NDIS services.

Diagnostic Audiology Services

The Diagnostic Audiology Services providers Medicare subsidised services for a single audiological assessment. A referral by the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist is required to access this service. The service is aimed at patients with potential medical conditions (ear disease or related disorders), including patients whose hearing loss may be able to be corrected by surgery or medical interventions. The assessment can be made up of more than one service visit if they are used for a single audiological assessment. Provider needs to be registered with Medicare for this item. Medicare limits apply. Speak to your GP for a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. For more information, click here.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The NDIS is being rolled out throughout Australia over the next 3 years with the aim of making services tailored to individual needs of people with disabilities. As every person is different (disability or no disability), the main focus of the NDIS will be to provide person centred and person directed interventions. For more information on NDIS click here. To find and compare your local NDIS providers and services they offered please use our search engine. Remember, the NDIS is providing you with the opportunity to ask for and purchase services you want and need.

Better Start for Children with Disabilities (Better Start) Funding

If NDIS is not available in your area, speak to your GP or Paediatrician about accessing the Better Start funding. Children under the age of 6 with an eligible diagnosis can access early intervention funding of up to $12,000 (a maximum of $6,000 per financial year). The aim of this funding is to support the access to early intervention services and therapies from a range of approved service providers. Up to 35 per cent of this funding ($4,200 in total, or $2,100 per financial year) can be used to buy resources recommended for your child by a registered service provider. This could include visual aids, communication boards, sound field systems or other equipment. Funding must be spent by the child’s 7th birthday. For more information, please click here. To find and compare services offered to children with disabilities please search for private and NDIS services.

Better Start for Children with Disabilities program

If NDIS is not available in your area, speak to your GP or Paediatrician about accessing the Better Start for Children with Disabilities program. Children aged under 15 years can access up to 20 therapy sessions in total with an Audiologist, Occupational therapist, Optometrist, Orthoptist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist and/or Speech Pathologist. A referral by Paediatrician, Psychiatrist or GP is required for accessing this program. Provider needs to be registered with Medicare for this item. Medicare limits apply. For more information, click here. To find and compare services offered to children with disabilities please search for private or NDIS services.

Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) Funding

If NDIS is not available in your area, speak to your GP or Paediatrician about accessing the HCWA funding. Children under the age of 6 with an eligible diagnosis can access early intervention funding of up to $12,000 (a maximum of $6,000 per financial year). The aim of this funding is to support the access to early intervention services and therapies from a range of approved service providers. Up to 35 per cent of this funding ($4,200, or $2,100 per financial year) can be used to buy resources recommended for your child by a registered service provider. This could include visual aids, communication boards, sound field systems or other equipment. Funding must be spent by the child’s 7th birthday. For more information, click here. To find and compare services offered to children with Autism please search for private or NDIS services.

Helping Children with Autism program

If NDIS is not available in your area, speak to your GP or Paediatrician about accessing the Helping Children with Autism program. Children aged under the age of 15 can access up to 20 therapy sessions in total with an Audiologist, Occupational Therapist, Optometrist, Orthoptist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist and/or Speech Pathologist. Provider needs to be registered with Medicare for this item. Medicare limits apply. A referral by Paediatrician, Psychiatrist or GP is require to access this program. For more information, click here. To find and compare services offered to children with Autism please search for private or NDIS services.

Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Plan

Children with a chronic condition, or a disability, can access up to 5 Medicare subsidised therapy sessions per year with an Audiologist, Occupational Therapist, Optometrist, Orthoptist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist and/or Speech Pathologist. Provider needs to be registered with Medicare for this item. Medicare limits apply. The CDM plan can be created by Paediatrician, Psychiatrist or GP. For more information, click here. To find and compare allied health professionals please search for private or NDIS services.

Better Access to Mental Health Plan

The Better Access to Mental Health Plan provides access to treatment services for children with a clinically-diagnosed mental disorder. It provides access up to 10 Medicare subsidised individual therapy sessions and up to 10 group therapy sessions per year with an Occupation Therapist, Psychologist and/or Social Worker – provider needs to be registered for this item with Medicare. Medicare limits apply. Better Access to Mental Health Plans are created by GPs. For more information, click here. To find and compare your local providers please search for private or NDIS services.

The Australian Government Hearing Services Program

The Australian Government Hearing Services program aims to support eligible children with accessing hearing services and provision of subsidised hearing aids. If you are not eligible for the program you might still have access to having your hearing aid fitted at reduced price through the hearing aid bank. For more information, click here or speak to your GP. To find and compare your local hearing aid suppliers please search equipment and assistive technology using our search engine.

Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres (ASELCCs)

The ASELCCs provide early learning, day care and support for children with Autism. The centres are accredited long day child care centres and provide services based on best practice principles for working with children with Autism. ASELCCs are located in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, North West Tasmania, Melbourne and Perth. For more information, click here. Please note, there might be a high demand for these child care centres. You might also want to explore the Inclusion Support Programme. To find and compare your local Special Needs Schools please search for NDIS services.

Inclusion Support Programme (ISP)

The Inclusion Support Programme aims to assist early childhood and child care services to include children with additional needs by providing tailored inclusion advice and support from contracted inclusion specialists, as well as funding to support more challenging inclusion barriers. The funding is intended to provide overall support to staff rather than one-on-one support to a child. For more information, please click here.

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