Thank you for visiting this website. In the period preceding an election, the Australian Government assumes a caretaker role.

The Department of Social Services hosts this website and the department will manage it in accordance with the Guidance on Caretaker Conventions.

Early Childhood Intervention Services and Supports

Elements of the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) and Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) programs have now ceased.  Individualised support for children with disability or developmental delay may be available through the NDIS and you are encouraged to contact the NDIS, your Early Childhood partner or the NDIS National Call Centre on 1800 800 110.

Elements of these programs that are continuing include:

Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres (ASELCCs)

Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres (ASELCCs) provide early learning, day care and support for children with autism. The centres are approved long day child care centres and provide services based on best practice principles for working with children with autism.

ASELCCs are located in:

  • South Western Sydney
  • Brisbane
  • Adelaide
  • North West Tasmania
  • Melbourne
  • Perth

Fees for children attending an ASELCCs need to be paid either through the child’s NDIS Plan or privately.  The Government continues to provide some funding to ASELCCs for capacity building and other activities.

More information about the ASELCCs

Early Days Workshops

Early Days Workshops provide flexible and tailored support for parents and carers of children with autism or disability including those from diverse cultural and Indigenous backgrounds, and those living in rural and remote areas. The workshops help parents and carers to:

  • better support their children
  • learn new coping skills
  • more effectively manage the pressures they face in raising their children
  • create links within their local community.

For more information about autism-specific Early Days Workshops, please go to Early Days or contact the Autism Association in your state or territory.

For more information about disability-specific Early Days Workshops, please go to the Carers Australia webite or Ability First Australia website.

PlayConnect Playgroups

The PlayConnect Playgroups target children under the age of seven with autism or autism-like symptoms. They usually meet weekly for two hours during school terms. During playgroup sessions, parents, carers and children participate in a variety of play activities and experiences specifically suited to the needs of children with autism.

For more information please go to the PlayConnect Playgroups website.

Raising Children Network 

The Raising Children Network website provides autism and disability-specific online information, resources and interactive functions to support parents, carers and professionals. The website informs families and carers about services available for their children. It also provides information that helps families and carers to cope with pressures they face in raising their children and helps to maximise the day-to-day functioning of the family.

Autism-specific information and resources available at: Autism | Raising Children Network

Disability-specific information and resources available at: Raising Children with Disability | Raising Children Network

Positive Partnerships

The Australian Government Department of Education offers a Positive Partnerships initiative for school-aged children with autism.

Positive Partnerships hold workshops and information sessions for parents and carers of school-age students with autism. These can help you to work with your child’s teachers, school leaders and other staff.

Positive Partnerships also supports the professional development for teachers, school leaders and other school staff to build their understanding, skills and expertise in working with children with autism.

The Positive Partnerships website has a range of resources including fact sheets, online learning modules and information on upcoming workshops.

HCWA and Better Start Medicare Items

Children under the age of thirteen can access HCWA and Better Start Medicare items available for assessment, diagnosis and the creation of a treatment and management plan. Once a treatment and management plan is in place, items are available for sessions with a range of allied health professionals including psychologists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists.

The services include:

  • Up to four diagnostic / assessment services to assist the referring practitioner with diagnosis or to contribute to a child’s treatment and management plan (for a child under thirteen years of age).
  • Up to twenty treatment sessions (for a child under fifteen years of age, providing they have a treatment and management plan in place by thirteen).

You do not need to have been registered with HCWA or Better Start to use these Medicare items.

More information, including specific Medicare item number can be found via the links below:

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