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Support for Tasmanian children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mrs Armitage (Launceston) to ask the Honourable Leader of Government, Dr Vanessa Goodwin:

In response to Estimate questions, the government advised that referrals to the Tasmanian Autism Diagnostic Service have been rapidly increasing as a result of a dramatic increase in Autism Spectrum Disorder cases nationally.

1. a) How many children in Tasmanian schools are identified as having Autism Disorder b) How many of these children receive funding to get a teacher aide.

2. For children who do not qualify for any support from a teacher aide, how much funding do they get?

Answer from the Leader of Government, Dr Vanessa Goodwin:

1. a) There are 230 FTE students identified through the Severe Disability Register process on the basis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

b) These students are supported through the processes in the school that all students have access to, with an additional $23,430.80 into the School’s Resource Package and 0.2FTE of support teacher time.

2. There is $7.5 million in funding allocated to students who do not qualify for support through the SDR but have a cognitive capacity of Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ) between 55-70. Each students is allocated $5000 into the school SRP for support, with a total of 1500 students being able to be supported.

Each school also has a support teacher allocation to assist teachers to meet the teaching and learning needs of all students in the school including those with additional needs.

The Department of Education has opened an Autism Specific Class at Lindisfarne North Primary School which caters for primary school age students with autism, including those with high functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome. There are currently five students enrolled with other enrolments being put forward during the year. The capacity of the class will be for up to 10FTE students.

Autism Consultants (6.5FTE statewide) are also available in each Learning Service to support schools in developing appropriate teaching and learning programs for students with Autism.

School psychologists, speech and language pathologists, social workers, vision and deaf services teams and physical impairment co-ordinators and the Respectful Schools Support Team are also able to work across all schools in support of students with additional needs.

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