Sheila McHale

Sheila McHale

Minister for Disability Services; Tourism; Culture and the Arts; Consumer Protection

    Waiting times set to fall for Bunbury children with autism

    8/01/2008 1:30 PM

    Waiting times for families seeking an autism assessment in the Bunbury area are set to fall, thanks to a boost in the number of staff able to conduct assessments.

    Disability Services Minister Sheila McHale said she acknowledged families had been subjected to unacceptably lengthy waiting times, due in part to the State-wide problem of staff shortages.

    “Autism assessment times across Western Australia have been affected because of a lack of qualified staff available to undertake the assessments,” Ms McHale said.

    “The State Government has listened to families and we now have a full complement of assessors due to a very active staff recruitment campaign.

    “These assessors, who are therapy and psychology professionals, are currently undergoing training and will be ready to undertake assessments within weeks.”

    The Minister said the aim was to halve waiting times from about six months to about three months.

    “Proper assessment and diagnoses early in a child’s life is so important in ensuring the prospects for a child’s long-term development are as good as possible,” she said.

    Naomi Amat of Bunbury, whose five-year-old Ethan has autism said she strongly supported any improvements that would lead to speedier services.

    “This will make a real difference to local families of children with autism by giving them the opportunity to access services sooner,” Mrs Amat said.

    Minister's office - 9213 6900