Autism assessments must be accessible to Canberrans


The Canberra Liberals are today calling for the Labor-Greens Government to improve access to public autism assessments.

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD impacts about 1.3 per cent of males in Australia and 0.4 per cent of females.

Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert said that access to autism assessments in the ACT should be in line with other jurisdictions.

“Assessments are only available to Canberra children who have been referred before the age of 12, while some jurisdictions provide free or subsidised public assessments up to age 16, age 18, or even older,” Mrs Kikkert said.

“Therapeutic interventions and supports can make all the difference for someone with ASD, but early detection is key.

“An increasing number of low-income Canberra families are experiencing delayed diagnosis of ASD, which can delay lifechanging interventions, and for some families, lack of access to a public assessment may result in a young person not being diagnosed at all.

“A private assessment in the ACT costs around $2,000 which is unaffordable for many Canberra families.”

Estimates hearings last month revealed that the Labor-Greens Government has no idea how many families are missed by the territory’s early detection systems.

“Better access to ASD diagnosis will help families who cannot afford a private assessment to get their children the help they need, and it will give us clear data about how many children have been falling through the cracks.

“We’re calling on the Labor-Greens Government to improve access and awareness so that we can know the number of kids with delayed diagnosis of ASD and improve early detection,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.