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An early learning and care centre for children with autism will receive a $2.1 million boost from the Australian Government to improve its ability to provide early learning programs and specific support services in Prospect, Adelaide.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas delivered the announcement during a visit to the Daphne Street Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre today.

“We know how important early intervention services are for children with autism, and these centres will provide the support needed during the most critical period of a child’s development,” Senator McLucas said.

“Families can access the support of a team of autism-trained staff at the centre, including early childhood teachers, occupational therapists and speech pathologists.

Meeting with local families at the centre, Senator for South Australia Anne McEwen welcomed the funding boost.

“The team at the Daphne Street Centre are achieving great results, ensuring local children get the best possible start to life and are prepared for school,” Senator McEwen said.

“This capital injection of $2.1 million will help the Daphne Street Centre meet the needs of local children with autism spectrum disorder by providing much needed extra space and facilities.”

The centre is one of six autism specific centres established by the Australian Government as part of the $220 million Helping Children with Autism package, the first national initiative to help families and children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Helping Children with Autism package also provides up to $12,000 for families to access early intervention services and therapies for their young children, including access to autism advisors, family support and playgroups.

“Since the initiative began just over three years ago, we have helped more than 19,000 children, as well as their families and carers. This shows us how important the Helping Children with Autism initiative is for so many people.”

Senator McLucas said the Government would continue to focus on supporting these children and families in the early years as it works to build a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“A National Disability Insurance Scheme would really focus on making sure early intervention services are available to families when they need them, so our children start on the right foot,” she said.

The Australian Government will deliver $1 billion over four years for the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“This funding will see a National Disability Insurance Scheme start in mid-2013 for around 10,000 people with significant and permanent disabilities in select locations across the country. This will increase to 20,000 people from mid-2014.”

Find out more about Daphne Street, our Autism-Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC).