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AMA welcomes new support for autism

09 October, 2007

The AMA welcomes the recognition by both major political parties that the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a problem that needs appropriate services.

Chair of the AMA Child and Youth Health Committee, Dr David Thomas, said all forms of ASD – autism, Asperger’s and language disorder – are increasing and services need to be in place to support the patients and their families.

“There is a need for increased availability of expert diagnosis and assessment, and continuing medical follow-up, as well as other forms of support,” Dr Thomas said.

Autism Spectrum Australia estimates that approximately 120,000 Australians now have ASD, about 30,000 of them children, and that many will need assistance and support for most of their lives.

“The AMA is pleased that the policies of both major parties released recognise the importance of providing support for both the children and their carers.

“The earlier children with ASD can be diagnosed and enrolled in early intervention programs, the better their outcomes.

“Early diagnosis and intervention are essential to ensure that the families and carers of those with ASD can have access to appropriate services and professional support.”

The proposals offer different strategies and aspects of both are integral to ensuring delivery of early diagnosis, management and support services with medical involvement, Dr Thomas said.

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