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There are a number of options that can be used to help pay for therapy services and provide extra financial support.

Medicare Programs

Note: Individuals with the following are eligible for Medicare rebates – this means you can get some money back after paying to see a therapist. It is important to check that your therapist is registered with the relevant item before starting therapy.
  • Referral is made by the GP (local doctor).
  • Provides a total of 5 allied health sessions every year. All ages are eligible for a CDM plan.
  • Can be used to see the following: Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists (OT), Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Dieticians, Aboriginal Health Workers, Audiologists, Chiropractors, Diabetes Educators, Exercise Physiologists, Osteopaths and Podiatrists.

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mbsprimarycare-chronicdiseasemanagement

  • Referral is made by the GP (local doctor).
  • Provides 6 individual therapy sessions (+ 4 extra with referral) and 6 group therapy sessions (+4 extra with referral) in total.
  • There are a total of 10 sessions available each calendar year.
  • Can be used to see Psychologists, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists (OT).

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/mental-ba-fact-pat

  • Referral is made by a Paediatrician or Psychiatrist.
  • For children under 13 years.
  • Provides up to 4 assessment sessions to assist with diagnosis.
  • Each child is eligible for this only once in their lifetime. This means that another referral cannot be obtained once the 4 sessions are used up.
  • Can be used to see psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, optometrists, orthoptists or physiotherapists.

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/autism-children

  • Referral is made by a Paediatrician or Psychiatrist.
  • For children under 15 years (providing a treatment and management plan is in place before their 13th birthday).
  • Provides up to 20 treatment sessions.
  • Each child is eligible for this only once in their lifetime. This means that another referral cannot be obtained once the 20 sessions are used up.
  • Can be used to see psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, optometrists, orthoptists or physiotherapists.

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/autism-children

Payments through Centrelink

As a parent or carer of a child with autism, there are a few Centrelink payments you may be eligible for, including:

An income supplement paid to someone who provides daily care and attention at home to a person with a disability or medical condition. This payment is not means tested and more information can be found here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/carer-allowance

Carer’s Payment cannot be paid in addition to another income support payment, such as age Pension, Newstart Allowance or Parenting Payment. However, the person may be entitled to other payments such as Carer Allowance, Family Tax benefit or Assistance for Isolated Children allowances. More information here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/carer-payment

To be paid annually to a person receiving the Carer Allowance/Payment. More information here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/child-disability-assistance-payment

A concession card that entitles you to discounts on medications, more refunds for medical expenses and sometimes reduced public transport costs, dental care, eye care and more. Additional information here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/health-care-card#group-125

The Carer Adjustment Payment is a one-off payment to some families who have a child under 7 diagnosed with a severe illness, medical condition or major disability and are ONLY receiving the Carer Allowance from Centrelink. Families should contact Centrelink directly regarding eligibility. Please click on the following link for further information: www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/carer-adjustment-payment

For more information, please refer to the Services Australia website on: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/centrelink.

Other Financial Supports

This card is designed to promote the rights of people with a disability who require a companion to fully participate in events. The Companion Card is issued to residents of NSW with a significant and permanent disability who are unable to participate in most community based activities without significant assistance with mobility, communication, self-care, planning and where the use of aids and other technologies does not meet those needs. The companion card is not issued to every person with a disability. Families are encouraged to read the eligibility criteria to see if they would like to apply.

Website: https://www.companioncard.nsw.gov.au/

Early Childhood Support Options and Services

Playgroups

Free playgroups for children with autism aged 0-6. Siblings are also welcome to attend. For more information visit www.playgroupaustralia.com.au/nsw or call 1800 171 882.

Playgroups for children with a variety of disabilities. You can attend even while going through the diagnosis process and you can also bring along children below school age www.mytime.net.au.

Playgroups NSW can provide information on general playgroups in your area (not disability specific). Visit www.playgroupnsw.com.au.

These playgroups run by Lifestart. Open Play is a supported playtime and social activity for children living with disability or developmental delay who have not yet started school. They also offer a meeting place for parents, grandparents and carers. For more information, call the Client Engagement Team on 1800 953 390 or visit https://www.lifestart.org.au/services/open-play/.

Department of Education Early Childhood Services

NSW mainstream public schools offer preschool classes for all children including those with disability and additional learning and support needs. For more information, please visit: https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/going-to-a-public-school/preschools

A limited number of early intervention centres are located in NSW public schools and operate during school terms. Children with a confirmed disability from 3 years of age to school entry are eligible to apply. Early intervention support classes consist of 5 -8 children. Please contact the Disability Programs Consultant on 131 536 to see if there is a class in your area. For more information, visit https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/disability-learning-and-support/early-childhood/early-childhood

Childcare and Pre-school

This child care is usually provided in the home of an educator. An educator may provide care in their home for a group of children, although rules apply. Family Day Care must be provided as part of an approved service, by an approved provider.

https://www.childcarefinder.gov.au

This is child care that is provided in centres that are approved by the relevant state or territory authority. It can include any pattern or arrangement of care provided in this setting.

https://www.childcarefinder.gov.au

In Home Care is a flexible child care option, providing care in the family home.

https://www.childcarefinder.gov.au

Preschools are government-approved services and provide early education and care for children aged between 3 and 6. Some are licensed to take children as young as 2 years of age.

https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/find-preschool-or-kindergarten

The ISP assists Early Childhood and Child Care (ECCC) services to build their capacity and capability to include children with additional needs in mainstream services; providing them with an opportunity to learn and develop alongside their typically developing peers. Discuss this further with your service provider.

https://www.education.gov.au/inclusion-support-programme-isp

The Department of Education offers a number of support options to children with disabilities who meet their disability criteria. Some of the support options have been outlined below. For more information, please visit https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/disability-learning-and-support/early-childhood/early-childhood.

Not-for-profit Early Intervention Service Providers

Most of these organisations offer speech pathology, OT, Psychology, Behaviour Support and special education services. Please contact these organisations directly to find out if they offer services in your local region. You can visit each website by clicking on the hyperlink.

Far Western

Aspect Therapy https://www.autismspectrum.org...

The Benevolent Society https://www.benevolent.org.au/

Learning Links https://www.learninglinks.org....

Maarima Aboriginal Health Services https://www.maarima.com.au/

Silverlea Early Intervention https://www.bhearlyinterventio...

Far North West

Aspect Therapy https://www.autismspectrum.org...

Learning Links https://www.learninglinks.org....

Mackillop Early Intervention https://www.mackillop.org.au/p...

Central Western Plains

Aspect Therapy https://www.autismspectrum.org...

Aruma https://www.aruma.com.au/

The Benevolent Society https://www.benevolent.org.au/

CP Alliance https://cerebralpalsy.org.au/c...

Orange and District Early Education Program https://www.odeep.com.au/

Orana Early Childhood Intervention Services https://oeci.org.au/

Learning Links https://www.learninglinks.org....

Southern Tablelands

Aspect Therapy https://www.autismspectrum.org...

The Benevolent Society https://www.benevolent.org.au/

Learning Links https://www.learninglinks.org....

South West Slopes

Aspect Therapy https://www.autismspectrum.org...

Hilltops Early Intervention https://www.lfe.org.au/service...

Learning Links https://www.learninglinks.org....

Sydney Metropolitan

Aspect Therapy https://www.autismspectrum.org...

Autism Advisory And Support Service https://aass.org.au/services/t...

Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) https://cerebralpalsy.org.au/

Early Ed https://www.earlyed.com.au/

Growing Early Minds https://growingearlyminds.org....

Hawkesbury Early Childhood Intervention Services https://www.hecis.org.au/

Koorana Child and Family Services https://www.koorana.org.au/

KU Children’s Services https://www.ku.com.au/

Learning Links https://www.learninglinks.org....

Lifestart Co-operative https://www.lifestart.org.au/

Noah’s Inclusion Services https://noahs.org.au/

Northcott https://northcott.com.au/

Plumtree https://plumtree.org.au/

SDN https://www.sdn.org.au/

The Benevolent Society https://www.benevolent.org.au/

The Luke Priddis Foundation https://www.lukepriddisfoundat...

The Works Practice (The Junction Works) https://thejunctionworks.org/

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